“The Santa Cruz-based GetVirtual project launched in the summer of 2020 to fortify small businesses from the economic toll of the pandemic shutdown. It has worked by partnering with colleges and universities like CSUMB.
For local and community businesses that haven’t had the technical know-how or resources to transition into a digital and internet-based mode, the program matches them with university students who can help them do so for school credit.
It provides off-the-shelf software implementation including website development or redesign, e-commerce and delivery services, online marketing, and support. The student services are free and businesses pay for software and other hard costs.
Entrepreneur Toby Corey and educator Nada Miljkovic are two principles behind the program. Partners include UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz Economic Development and CSUMB.
‘The iiED is an early partner with the Get Virtual program,” said Ripke. “Dr. Brad Barbeau has been working with Toby to expand the concept here at CSUMB, and serves on the board. CSUMB has the largest program.'”