For small businesses, every dollar counts. Since 2006, the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC) has collaborated with JWU students, faculty and resource partners to provide local entrepreneurs with solutions to create, transform and grow their businesses.Showcasing Student-Client CollaborationsSchool of Technology students recently showcased their student-client collaborations at this year’s Design Forum. Co-sponsored by SofT and the RISBDC, the event brought students and clients together to discuss process, the benefits of working collaboratively and lessons learned.Seven students presented their final projects, ranging from an instructional video for a local cake delivery company to branding, marketing collateral, mobile apps and finished websites.Real-time Teamwork Builds Hands-on Experience “Everybody involved learned how to develop more productive skill sets that will take their careers and businesses to the next level,” noted Lelani Bonner, the RISBDC’s director of training and marketing.With only a single term to bring these projects to fruition, students worked quickly to develop a realistic design brief that could be implemented in 11 short weeks. Due to time constraints, Tanya Wierzbicki ’10, a Web Management and Internet Commerce major, had to pare back some of her client’s original ideas for marketing Stunna, a new liqueur aimed at an urban audience. In the end, however, the company was pleased with the site’s chic minimalism.Delivering Realistic Solutions For Jacqueline Turtur ’10, a Graphic Design and Digital Media major, real-time collaboration had a positive effect on her work — and the final product. Through their collaboration, Turtur’s client Harris Alkins, of Warwick, RI-based Harris Blinds and Shutters, began to see design in a new light. “For someone who rarely ever thinks of graphic design, [he really saw] the advantage to having professional design work.”In addition to her student-client work, Turtur also acted as a liaison between students and their clients — a first for the RISBDC.“Having a dedicated project manager kept everything moving forward and on track,” said Bonner. “It was much more seamless than in the past.”Growing the ProgramBonner hopes to see the program grow and mature over the next five years. “We love to see the excellent teamwork that emerges from the student-faculty-business collaborations. No matter what challenges they face, it's a great learning experience.”The RISBDC is administered by JWU in partnership with the US Small Business Administration, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., and the private sector.Learn more about student projects at the School of Technology.