International students at Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie are helping local small businesses as part of their masters degree.
The project – dubbed a hackathon – is to connect the information technology students with the business community, help businesses solve problems and to encourage and support innovation in the region.
The program is sponsored by the university and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and students have been matched with local businesses to work through projects ranging from promotional materials and website development to longer term research projects.
The project began in November last year and will run until March when the university starts back.
Students Akansha Verma, Ayub Alam Khan and Sanjay Maharjan say it has been a good chance to connect with the town they now live in.
“Over the summer we have had a lot of free time so doing something like this to help others has been great,” Akansha said.
“We all have a bachelor's degree and most of us have work experience as well so we are in a position to be able to help the community that is supporting us.
“A project like this goes hand in hand with the theory we have been learning to give us more hands on experience.
“We are also building local connections which may help us when we finish our master’s degrees.”
“Some people are surprised when we say we are international students studying at CSU so this project is also building awareness that we are here,” Ayub Alam said.
“We have been helping with branding and marketing as well as website development so each business is getting something different from us.”
“We are showing international students are capable and are knowledgeable especially in the technology field,” Sanjay said.
Holly McBride, acting director at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, said the project is all about local innovation.
“Council is proud to be welcoming CSU students to The Hub co-working centre as a partner in the CSU Hackathon – a program that is igniting further innovation in our community,” Ms McBride said.
“The Hackathon is a great initiative that not only provides students with real-world experience, but also solves real problems for local business owners, and we look forward to seeing the finished products and creative solutions at the end of the program in the coming months.”
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