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Dalhousie start-up connects skilled students with part-time “gigs” at tech companies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 31st, 2017

A start-up at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, has developed a web-based platform that connects students with technology start-ups in need of part time skilled workers.

Benjamin Bright launched StuGig around his time volunteering at ShiftKey Labs, a tech incubator at Dalhousie, where he met other young innovators faced with a common problem: there were simply not enough skilled developers to meet the growing demand from aspiring student entrepreneurs.

“There’s been a major uptick in the number of student-led start-ups at Dal over the past few years thanks to a variety of new initiatives,” says Stephen Hartlen, the university’s vice president of industry relations and executive director of the Industry Liasion and Innovation Office. “StuGig stands to play a valuable supportive role on some of those ventures and others in the community at large,” adds Hartlen.

StuGig connects skilled students with short-term technology “gigs” at small- and medium-sized businesses, Dal start-ups, and other local student ventures. Bright believes that, by showcasing the talent available at Dal and in the surrounding region, there’s a greater likelihood that promising ventures will stay in the area.

“People come [to Dal] to develop their skills, but they don’t stay to use their skills,” says Bright. “We want to find that right medium to help facilitate a solution to that problem.”

While similar platforms exist that help freelance tech workers tap into the part-time economy, StuGig is unique in that it creates an option exclusively for students without much real-world experience. “We want to give students experiential learning opportunities,” Bright says. “That way they can build their resume and they can build more credibility to ultimately land the jobs of their dreams.”

StuGig has received $10,000 in funding through Dal’s eight-week LaunchPad Accelerator program, and Bright says he eventually brought his company back to Shiftkey Labs for “crucial” support in building out the viability of the technology. So far, more than 100 students have created StuGig profiles. Bright and his team are currently working with local business and hiring managers to expand the list of available gigs.

Source: Dal News

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