William & Mary students helping local businesses during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 22:23:19-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Business students at William & Mary are pitching in to help local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of those businesses is Kenya Williams’s iShine For You Auto Detailing in Williamsburg.

“To do something I truly love is the best feeling in the world,” Williams said of his business.

While it has kept him busy, he said the pandemic has led him to ask for help.

“It's been a whirlwind,” he said. “You just have to be creative.”

He came across a partnership between The Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Hampton Roads.

The program involves students like Jack Spence and Ishaan Khandpur helping counsel small businesses around the Williamsburg area.

“It has been tremendously successful,” SBDC of Hampton Roads Executive Director Jim Carroll said. “They're dedicating 10 hours of time to do research on topics that are requested by the small business owner.”

“It was amazing how many people jumped up at this opportunity to help the community around them, to be able to give back, and more than anything else, to be able to learn from this process,” Khandpur told News 3.

This summer, Spencer has helped Williams.

“One of the things they were able to do is help me identify what weaknesses within my business,” Williams said. “They're able to find some things that I didn't see inside my business. I'm an owner/operator. So, I'm not only owning it, but I'm working it on a day-to-day basis, and some things I just miss.”

“We saw value in potentially outsourcing the sales department of his business to a William & Mary student as an intern,” Spencer said.

According to William & Mary staff, 16 businesses are involved with the program. They hope to sign up many more in the coming weeks.

“From the student's perspective, it's a great way to gain valuable work experience,” Spencer said. “From the business owner's perspective, you give up some amount of time, with the potential of a reward of a new revenue stream. A new idea that could potentially revolutionize your business.”

Spencer hopes the program can continue helping students and local businesses moving forward.

“I think this is a great opportunity to give back and feed into that culture for the next generation of students,” Spencer said.

William & Mary staff say businesses who would like to get involved with the program can either email or fill out a form at this site.

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