A program involving 100 students from York University’s Schulich School of Business has just won an award of excellence from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO). The ‘Innovation in Community Resiliency (Urban)’ award was granted to the ShopHERE program, an initiative designed to help small businesses struggling due to the impact of COVID-19.
The award was granted to project partners, the City of Toronto and Digital Main Street (DMS), during the 64th annual Evolve ON Conference & Showcase. As part of the partnership, 100 students from Schulich’s MBA, master’s and undergraduate programs gained paid summer placements and were assigned to help Toronto’s local retailers and artists move their businesses online.
“The role of Schulich’s students in the Digital Main Street ShopHERE initiative was one of the great Schulich success stories during a challenging and unforgettable year,” said Detlev Zwick, Schulich interim dean. “We are proud of what they accomplished. By using their skills and expertise, our students were able to help small local businesses move their business online and stay afloat during the pandemic lockdowns.”
A panel of professionals from the fields of economic development, marketing, advertising and tourism judge the entries by using a scorecard to evaluate:
- the objective of the initiative and its success;
- target audience being assisted;
- initiative’s estimated ROI; and
- initiative becoming a model of best practice for the industry.
Funding for ShopHERE was provided by the City of Toronto and Magnet, a social innovation platform with a mission to accelerate inclusive economic growth in Canada. The placement program was supported by a number of community and corporate partners, including the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper and Snapchat.
Schulich’s participation in the project was led by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.