WINNIPEG — A new undergraduate program being offered at the University of Manitoba this fall will help small businesses weather the storm created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Asper School of Business will administer the experimental course in September as a way of giving back to Manitoba’s business community.
The Applied Small Business Consulting course will provide students with an opportunity to actively work with small businesses to help find solutions to their current challenges.
“Organizations are now facing economic and practical challenges they have never encountered before. As a business school, we should be training our students to solve such novel business problems that they are unlikely to find discussed in textbooks,” said Dr. Subbu Sivaramakrishnan, associate dean of undergraduate and international programs.
Twenty qualifying businesses, including non-profits, will have access to pro bono consulting by senior business students guided by a professor.
One of those businesses is local coffee shop Fools & Horses, who experienced recent challenges and had to devise a way to shift their operations online.
“Having the support and insights from an advanced student enrolled in the Asper Applied Small Business course means that we will have the deliberate and concerted focus to audit our processes, our production model, and uncover efficiency gains at a time when we couldn’t need it more,” said co-owner Kendra Magnus-Johnston.
“It means that at a time where we’ve been given lemons, we can make lemonade, and grow our business into something even more sustainable and enduring. I can’t imagine a better moment for local businesses to embrace an opportunity like this.”
Upon completion of the course in early January, each business will have practical recommendations on how to overcome specific challenges that may have been caused by COVID-19.