Downtown Blacksburg Inc. and the Big Event team up to help local businesses and students

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Downtown Blacksburg Inc. (DBI) and The Big Event at Virginia Tech have formed a new partnership.

It is designed to help local businesses with remote support and students with work experience.

They’re also calling it another way to bridge Virginia Tech students and Blacksburg businesses.

“To kind of form a talent pipeline of very talented students with specific expertise and match them with merchants and organizations that need help,” said Casey Jenkins, the executive director of DBI.

It’s a micro-internship program designed to give virtual support to DBI businesses while offering students some professional development. Students are offering their time and expertise to help assist DBI businesses for up to 40 hours pro-bono for the rest of the semester.

“They expand their assets, their skill sets that they’ve been developing, especially since a lot of students’ internships were cancelled from the previous summer due to COVID,” said Rissa McGill a fundraising executive for The Big Event at Virginia Tech.

Between now and the end of the spring semester, select students will help some businesses with projects related to marketing, social media, accounting and more.

“We’ve got them working on some ad campaigns for us - we have a new Cabo Fish Taco app actually,” said Richard Barrar, the regional manager for Cabo Fish Taco.

He said it is helpful to have the extra help.

“Especially in the year when it’s been tough on everyone,” said Barrar.

Jenkins says they hope this program will grow and continue to fill the gaps where businesses may need it most.

This pilot program pairs 10 DBI merchants and organizations with 27 Virginia Tech students.

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