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SCSU Becomes East Coast Anchor for Initiative to Help Businesses Move to Virtual - Students Assist

Monday, October 12, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Paul Sicilian

Innovation continues to be a by-product of the changing workplace landscape resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.  The latest example comes from the Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) School of Business which has established a partnership with Get Virtual, a program that gives local businesses affected by COVID-19 the tools to adapt to the virtual landscape and extend their businesses online.

 

As the east coast anchor of Get Virtual, the School of Business will pair local businesses seeking help with college students seeking experience.

 

Founded by SCSU School of Business alum Toby Corey, Get Virtual is a curriculum program that is free to businesses and provides course credits and internships to participating students. Corey is a successful entrepreneur and 10-year Stanford University lecturer, and has held executive positions at Novell, USWeb (founder), Autodesk, Solarcity and Tesla. Get Virtual inspires entrepreneurship through web development, ecommerce, and online marketing to support local businesses in the critical transition to the online marketplace.  The company is based in Santa Cruz, CA.

 

Corey joined School of Business Dean, Dr. Ellen Durnin, and Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garrett Sheehan last week for a panel discussion titled, “The Power to Pivot – Harnessing the Virtual Landscape to Maximize Business Success.”

 

The panelists discussed how businesses can adjust and reinvent their organizations given this new landscape and highlighted critical tools and resources available to help pivot and rebound to protect organizations and employees. Attendees had the opportunity to learn how they can partner with the School of Business and Get Virtual to adapt and extend their businesses online.

 

Corey, a 1983 SCSU Business alum, pointed out that “Businesses need to be where their customers are, and customers are online.” The goal, he said, is to “teach businesses to fish,” by providing inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will provide quick results to businesses who know they need to pivot, but aren’t sure where to start.  The company website notes that “We believe student entrepreneurship, combined with forward-thinking mentorship, is that way forward. We believe it has the power to create a better tomorrow and help tackle our most vexing problems.

 

Organizations have been facing a changing business landscape for several years, and the current global pandemic has intensified these changes. Disruptions in the workplace, technological changes, global effects, and social unrest have businesses and consumers interacting differently, and traditional business models no longer fit the landscape.

 

The connections students and businesses make by participating in Get Virtual go beyond the scope of the curriculum, according to officials. Highlighting the return on investment that internships provide to students, businesses and the region, officials point out that 85 percent of Southern students stay in Connecticut after graduation.

 

Through internships, students have the opportunity to hear about and learn from business professionals, while giving back to their local community and gaining practical, real-world experience. Businesses have the opportunity to provide high-quality internships, which are a powerful recruiting tool. Southern students, according to the school, work an average of 27 hours a week in addition to their school and personal commitments. 

 

“We are proud to partner with SCSU School of Business alum Toby Corey,” said Durnin, “and believe that Get Virtual can help entrepreneurs pivot from a bricks-and-mortar setting to providing virtual experiences for their customers. This ability is essential in our new economy.”

 

The University of California Santa Cruz, which launched the program earlier this year, described it as “a unique nonprofit program, which doubles as an online entrepreneurship course and a nonprofit consulting firm pairing students with local businesses that were thriving before the virus hit, but are now struggling to make the transition from foot-traffic to online orders and sales.”

 

Local Connecticut businesses interested learning more about Get Virtual can go to getvirtual.org.  Those interested in how their organization can participate in the new initiative with Southern’s School of Business can contact Amy Grotzke at GrotzkeA1@Southernct.edu.


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