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18 Sep, 2020

Middle School Students Lend a Helping Hand to Small Businesses Struggling with Covid-19 downturn

SAN JOSE, Calif., 15 September 2020, PRNewswire – As small businesses across the country are struggling to bring in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, the California-based nonprofit, Elevate the Future (ETF) is providing them with free assistance. So far, they’ve helped over 20 businesses and are beginning to scale nationwide. Businesses interested in these services may sign up here.

Co-founded by Arjun Gupta from Lynbrook High School (San Jose, CA) and Rayan Garg from Archbishop Mitty High School (San Jose, CA), Elevate the Future’s Project Falcon is creating free websites and online ordering platforms for struggling small businesses while teaching middle school students web design.

Business owners receive fully customized websites and e-commerce platforms. Bernard Hutcherson, Founder of Cooking N’ Style, was manually taking upwards of 100-150 orders a day through social media. “I can now automate a large portion of this process, making my business much more efficient. This helped out a lot. A thousand percent!” Said Mr. Hutcherson. Cooking N’ Style expects a significant increase in revenue from its new online store.

Project Falcon gained traction at the onset of COVID-19 as small businesses across the country struggled to transition online. “I feel like businesses without an online presence are especially facing difficulties during this time and by providing them with a website, we hope to help keep them afloat,” Garg said.

As middle school students are taught HTML and CSS by ETF instructors, they receive the opportunity to utilize their newfound web design skills to help create websites for a real business. 13-year-old Manank Doshi who attended the classes said of his experience, “It was a real honor to help a small business. I’m happy I had the ability to do this.”

With over 375 teammates across 43 chapters in 18 states and 16 countries, Elevate the Future also teaches students other computer science topics along with financial literacy. Since its launch, Elevate the Future has taught over 4000 students across the world, taking this 21st century education to places where it usually never reaches, such as countries like Ghana, Pakistan, and Ukraine and to groups like foster students.

“It’s rewarding to be able to harness the power of youth across the globe to greatly assist struggling mom-and-pop businesses. The next step is to scale this service nation-side,” Gupta said.

Here are just a few examples businesses ETF has helped transition to e-commerce: cookingnstyle.com, learn-ai.net, romes-kitchen.com. If you are a small business owner and would like a free website and online ordering platform, please email ETF at teamfalcon@elevatethefuture.org. To learn more, visit Elevate the Future at elevatethefuture.org/projectfalcon.