York U business students help Toronto businesses go online to fight impacts of COVID-19

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Students from York University’s Schulich School of Business will help small businesses struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19 quickly gear up for online commerce. The students will participate in the City of Toronto’s Digital Main Street (DMS) ShopHERE program, a major new initiative that is supported by a team of leading global technology companies committed to helping Toronto’s main street retailers survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The new work-integrated learning program was developed to support the DMS ShopHERE effort and is possible thanks to $500,000 from the City and Magnet, a social innovation platform with a mission to accelerate inclusive economic growth in Canada.

Students from Schulich School of Business will help Toronto small businesses struggling due to the impacts of COVID-19 quickly gear up for online commerce

“York University is delighted to partner with the City of Toronto on an initiative like ShopHERE at a time where many local businesses are facing unprecedented challenges,” said Rhonda L. Lenton, president and vice-chancellor of York University. “ShopHERE will provide students at our Schulich School of Business the opportunity to apply their learning outside of the classroom to support local businesses recover from the pandemic and thrive in a new economy.”

The 50 students from Schulich’s MBA, master’s and undergraduate degree programs who have been selected for the paid summer placements and work-integrated learning opportunity will directly help Toronto’s small businesses and artists move their businesses online at no cost. The DMS ShopHERE program offers students a hands-on learning experience, specialized training and academic credit.

“I want to thank the business students of the Schulich School of Business and York University for bringing their talent and energy to help us fight for Toronto’s small businesses and artists,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “Their work will help ensure our main streets survive this crisis and that the culture and lively streets we all enjoy – and the jobs – will be there when we move into the recovery period.”

The students will also benefit from the support of leading technology and e-commerce firms such as Shopify, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, eBay and Mastercard Canada. To help develop the stores, volunteers from Toronto’s technology community are contributing their time, including: Global Skills Hub, Scotiabank, General Assembly, Brain Station, Juno, FreshBooks, NEXT Canada, TechTO and TribalScale.

“Schulich is proud to partner with the City of Toronto in helping local small businesses and entrepreneurs rapidly transition to selling online. We’re also proud to see that our students are playing an essential role in stabilizing our economy by supporting local businesses during this transformational time,” said Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business.

For more details on the program, visit digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere.

Find out more about how York University is creating positive change in the COVID-19 pandemic here.