Some Grand Valley State University students are being paired with local small businesses to help them develop or strengthen their business.
The program is called Lend GR, which partners with area small businesses with less than 25 employees.
Students provide 25 hours of work for each client, helping with business plan writing, branding, social media, marketing materials, market research and web content.
"It really felt good being able to help these people develop and continue to develop their businesses," said Eric Dzierwa, Senior, Advertising and public relations major.
Lend GR started as a pilot program more than a year ago, but once COVID-19 hit, the program refocused to offer clients emergency assistance.
"What I like the most is seeing that these businesses really, like trust me, and know that I have the knowledge to help them," said Daniela Ceccato, a junior majoring in Business.
The program is free for businesses and the students are paid by the university.
"It's a great way for the students as well to gain valuable experience and apply their education in a real world setting," said Shorouq Almallah MBA, MIS Director, Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.