Matching students with small businesses to help solving technology problems during the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 has hit many businesses. While large organizations often have capital, skills, and infrastructure to adapt through digitalization relatively quickly, many smaller businesses lack these resources or skills. As a result, their response to COVID-19 suffers from delays, resource bottlenecks, coordination challenges, or security vulnerabilities. These issues are critical now. Moreover, they may persist over time.

COVID-19 has also had a significant impact on students. Many students are struggling to find opportunities in shrinking job markets. They have had their internships or student jobs cancelled. Nevertheless, many students are keen to build practical experience and begin applying new skills to help others in society. This will allow them better access to opportunities once the economy begins to recover.

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at Maynooth University (MU) wants to help small local businesses and students. Our goal is to bring together small businesses and student volunteers. We invite small businesses to propose a technology project that will help them manage the challenges of COVID-19. These projects should be small enough that student volunteers can reasonably perform them in a timeframe of eight weeks or less for no fee.

Such projects can include (but are not limited to):

  • Create or modify a website
  • Create or modify a digital storefront
  • Enable remote operations for staff or customers
  • Assess and improve information security
  • Help with data analytics

This initiative is part of an international collaboration organized by the Association for Information Systems, together with other universities also helping small businesses in their regions.

How local, small business can get involved:

Short project proposals from local, small businesses can be submitted to Proposals will be screened by an organizing committee from IVI. Those selected will be made available to suitable student volunteers. Proposal submissions should include name, contact details, and a short description (200 words or fewer) of your business problem and assistance sought.

How students can get involved:

Students that wish to participate can send an email to stating their skills and time availability.

About IVI

The Innovation Value Institute ( IVI – is a research centre of Maynooth University (MU), Co. Kildare, Ireland. IVI is an Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland funded technology centre that focuses on research, development and dissemination of empirically proven and industry validated IT best practices through a unique open innovation and collaboration between leading academic and industry practitioners.