Humber helps companies respond to business and innovation challenges

Image is everything. And that means digitally.Humber helps companies respond to business and innovation challenges


For small businesses wanting to grow, developing and maintaining a dynamic online presence is critical to success. But creating a vibrant website that turns visitors into customers isn’t easy. Keeping a website fresh and interacting with customers online and through social media are also crucial. Otherwise, say goodbye to repeat customers and a strong brand. But most start-ups or small companies don’t have the technical skills, personnel or resources to create a solid online identity.


Cue the Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption (VEBTA) program.


Funded by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), this program provides small and medium-sized businesses with up to $2,500 worth of expertise and resources from colleges like Humber to help businesses scale up their online profile. Humber just wrapped its first year of managing VEBTA-supported projects and helped ten local businesses dial up their digital presence and technology development, while giving students real-world experience.


Five of these companies received vouchers to work with Hanadi Alnawab, Program Coordinator of the Digital Business Management degree program, and a team of Humber students to design and develop websites that promote their businesses, which ranged from photography to home renovation to the non-profit sector.


Alnawab’s team brought together 17 students from The Business School and the School of Media Studies & Information Technology from programs such as Digital Business Management, Human Resources Management, Creative Advertising, Graphic Design, Creative Photography and Multimedia Design and Development. For many, it was their first time working with students from other faculties. Business students worked alongside graphic designers, photographers worked with advertisers. Together, they were a one-stop digital shop, creating websites supported by new logos, graphics, and photography, whatever the clients needed make their websites come alive.  The students also helped set up social media accounts that best matched their clients’ needs and interests. “They were used to submitting assignments and getting a mark, but here they had to listen to the client and fix what needed to be fixed,” said Alnawab.


Faria Islam, who just graduated from Humber’s Digital Business Management program, helped design a website for Up River Trading Co. − a small café and gift shop in cottage country, in Minden, Ontario. In addition to creating an information website, Islam also included e-commerce functionality so that customers could purchase its products online – a skill she believes will serve her well in the future.

Humber helps companies respond to business and innovation challenges

“In the past I hadn’t dealt with real products,” said Islam. “It was a lot of work, as I was given 200 photos of all the products and had to go through all of them. But being able to deliver what they wanted was a great feeling. I feel like it’s made me a more well-rounded professional. My resume is now a lot more diverse.” (That resume helped Islam recently land a full-time position with Humber’s Business School as a Learning Service Assistant.)

To complete the VEBTA program, the students also created helpful user manuals for each client, showing them step-by-step how to update and maintain their websites in the future. “This was extremely valuable,” stressed Alnawab, who noted the students also hosted one-on-one user manual training sessions, giving them much-needed experience with project management, presentations and client interaction.


More client interaction will soon be underway, as Humber just received approval to continue the VEBTA program for a second year. Plans are already in the works to hire new students to develop websites, mobile applications, data management systems and more, helping even more companies add a digital dimension to their business.


For more information, visit the VEBTA page on our website. 



2015-16 VEBTA Project Teams


Information and E-Commerce Websites for Small Businesses  |  Partner: Bezek Foundation, MPSG, REST Centre, Sigma Six, Up River Trading Co.
Project lead: Hanadi Alnawab
Students: Racha Ayaso, Lyndsay Brooks, Jason Carlos, Rebecca Clement, Courtney Coon, Rahim Dhrolia, Chad Fernandez,
Jeff Francis, Spencer Fu, Christine Hagen, Shyren Husham, Faria Islam, Shih-I Liu, Waruna Perera, Martin Perez, Savio Wong, Lara Yuzwa


Cricket Hero Online Game Proof of Concept  |  Partner: Livera Sport Inc.
Project lead: Razieh Niazi
Students: Karan Sethi, Aashish Kumar Singh, Hanpreet Singh, Supreet Singh Malhotra, Ziyi Zhang, Komal Singh Dhaliwal, Ma Luo,
Linh Thi Ngoc Nguyen, Parteek Passi  |  Partner: RHSP Consulting
Project lead: Nithyakalyani Thayananthan
Students: Khai Vo, Xibei Jia, Zhan Jin, Huyen Nguyen


Snowflake Game and System Development  |  Partner: Smokebomb Entertainment
Project lead: Sarith Nugawila
Students: James Finnie, Raymond Micheau, Nick Whelan  |  Partner: PaparArtzy
Project lead: Joanna Kommala
Students: Olena Boitsova, Bethany Hynds


Usability of Fresh City Website and Online Shopping Cart  |  Partner: Fresh City Farms
Project lead: Bernie Monette & George Paravantes
Students: Students: Antonio Freire, Olga Kham, Nihar Khokhani, Alya Talat


Funding provided by

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