Association Offers No-Cost Assistance to Help Small Businesses Improve Digital Operations

As small businesses across the world continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Association for Information Systems (AIS) is partnering with universities around the globe to offer no-cost assistance to help small businesses shift their operations online.

Universities identified by AIS will employ students to work with small businesses and establish or increase businesses online presence and increase digital capabilities. All projects will be done by students along with faculty and professional mentors.

Each project will use a digital triage approach to quickly perform one or all of needs analysis, identification of relevant resources, implementation, training, and remote operation.

The digital services include but are not limited to:

  • Create or modify a website to improve the business or non-profit
  • Create or modify a digital storefront to enhance ecommerce (e.g., list the top 50 things that are available)
  • Implement or modify a scheduling system (e.g., a repair business or delivery for the above)
  • Remote work (e.g., procedures and tools for staff to work off-site)
  • Consultation and technology to take your existing operation digital
  • Assess and improve information security
  • Help with database design, management, and data analytics

“AIS is excited to work with universities to help small businesses and also those interns whose summer positions have been lost,” said AIS President Alan Dennis. “Our dedicated members and students are ready to apply their expertise and skills to help businesses in their efforts to recover from the pandemic.”

This mission-driven workforce initiative connects talented students with small businesses to solve some of their most pressing problems. The initiative was started by Munir Mandviwalla who leads the Institute for Business and Information Technology at Temple University. Prof. Mandviwalla noted, “it is inspiring to bring this idea to AIS and see it grow so quickly. At Temple, in the 27 projects that are ongoing or complete plus a large backlog, the response from the participants has been very positive. The opportunity to make an impact is real and immediate.”

“We aim to help existing businesses and non-profits weather the COVID-19 crisis,” said Eleanor Loiacono, AIS member and founder and director of the Inclusive Design and Accessibility (IDEA) Hub at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “The focus is on leveraging our students and faculty to help businesses digitally transform from onsite to remote operations and from in-person to online customer engagements. We can assist remotely on a variety of digital tools and resources available on the cloud/web.”

To learn more about universities currently supporting this program, please visit