As you are aware, last month the World Health Organization officially declared the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic. This global health crisis is a unique challenge that affects all of us universally. We would like to express our concern and support for all the members of the Tech Collective community; our staff, our members, our partners, our families, and all others affected by this outbreak.
As our state and national government leaders issue restrictions on travel, gatherings, and meetings to limit and slow the spread of the virus, we are, of course, following their guidance. The health and safety of the Tech Collective community is our first priority.
Despite the economic and health concerns that face us daily, our commitment to serving as the technical for IT professionals has not wavered. This month, we are hosting a number of virtual trainings and workshops, designed to meet the needs of ever-changing technology environment. We will be hosting events in all areas: agile, cyber, data, WIT, professional development, etc. You can learn more about our virtual experiences and trainings, by checking out our full Events Calendar here.
Our team has also gone virtual and has been using Microsoft Teams extensively to stay in touch with each other, meet with our steering committees, and conduct membership meetings. Our team is always a call away, and we would welcome your input on the trainings and experiences that would be most relevant to you now. You can reach out to us directly or by clicking here.
In Partnership with Rhode Island
In addition to launching our virtual programming, it is important to us to lean in and support our community. Here are three initiatives we are actively working on:
1. Tech Support During COVID-19
We are working closely with Commerce RI and Venture Café Providence to provide technical assistance to Rhode Island’s small businesses that need help adjusting to the new work from home reality. In partnership, we have launched a tech support program (click here), providing complimentary 45-minute tech support sessions for small businesses and sole proprietors via Zoom or conference call.
Many local businesses need IT support or e-commerce website assistance. If you or your team can volunteer a few hours per week, please let us know.
2. Laptop Loaners
Another area we are helping is by offering a laptop loaner/donation program. Several small businesses in the state have mentioned that they do not have laptops available to work from home. As such, we are coordinating a program to loan or give laptops to these companies. If anyone has laptops to loan or donate, or time to assist us executing this program (soliciting laptops, cleaning before they go out, tracking, delivering, cleaning when they come back, etc.), please let us know.
3. Rhode to Resilience Program—Virtual
At the end of last year, our Cyber Security Steering Committee started exploring what we can do in Rhode Island to improve our small- and mid-sized businesses approach to cyber security, and leave them feeling better prepared to navigate this ever-complex security landscape. Our conversations and strategy sessions led us to introducing the SMB Cyber Security Rhode to Resilience Program, sponsored by COX Business.
We are converting our program to a virtual program, and continuing on our quest to ensure that local leaders are able to receive training from the best security professionals in the industry so they can improve the cyber resilience of their small businesses.
You can learn more about the program here.
If you have any security or IT professionals who can donate an occasional hour or two, please let us know and we will get them trained on our platform.
Staying Connected While Apart
In times of great uncertainty, it has never been more important to stay connected and continue to create forums for learning and proper technical training. We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our Tech Collective members for your understanding.
These are difficult times, but we will get through them by working together.
Thank you for your support of the Tech Collective. I look forward to “seeing” you at some of our upcoming virtual events and training opportunities.
Stay Healthy and Safe,
Joe Devine Tech Collective Executive Director