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Designing Business Solutions for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Nov 30, 2020   |   by Jessica Ahn T'21 and Kate Balderston T’21   |   Tuck School of Business

It is no surprise COVID-19 has upended lives and businesses everywhere, even here in the Upper Valley. Much of life today is out of our control, and both people and organizations are facing extreme limitations. However, while counterintuitive, research shows that innovations are birthed not despite constraints but because of them.

In this spirit, graduate students from the Tuck School of Business and Thayer School of Engineering joined forces this October to participate in the Small Business School Challenge, a 48-hour hackathon serving small and medium sized businesses impacted by COVID-19. Ten teams of Dartmouth graduate students were paired with businesses around the Upper Valley to design solutions to pandemic-driven challenges. Participating small businesses included local favorites such as Tuck Stuff, Dartmouth Co-op, Piecemeal Pies, Juel Modern Apothecary and Killington Vacation Rentals, and other businesses with exciting ventures, like Merry Go Rounds and Quiet Events.

MEM student Vitasta Pandit
Master of Engineering Management (MEM) candidate Jehlum Vitasta Pandit

The hard work and dedication of our Dartmouth teams culminated in a pitch competition where an esteemed panel of Tuck School of Business faculty and alumni judges selected the top three Dartmouth teams. These teams earned cash prizes for their local businesses, and the first place team advanced to a national-level final to compete against more than ten other MBA programs.

After an extended deliberation session, the judges awarded first place to Gissell Castellon T’22, Gregory Rivers T’22, and Jonathon Chin T’22 who represented Still North Book & Bar, second place to Ashley Jones T’22, Christine Gregory T’22, and Meghan Egan T’22 who served Dan & Whit’s, and third place to Jehlum Vitasta Pandit (Thayer) and Kavya Narayanan T’22 who helped Positive Tracks [of Hanover, NH with a] "proposal to increase brand equity and public relations (advertising, influencers, etc.), increase traditional revenue streams through innovation, and other ancillary solutions."

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