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New platform helps businesses and charities get PPE more quickly and efficiently

CovidPPEHelp, created by faculty members at the Rotman School of Management, connects those who need equipment with manufacturers and suppliers, and enables donations of PPE to charities.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
July 19, 2020
photo by Eric Lalmand/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images

Back in March, businesses and charities across Canada realized they needed vast supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, hand sanitizer, and gowns. But many had no idea how to acquire these items quickly and effectively. Stores were running out, and supply chains were breaking down under the pressure.

A group of faculty members at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management developed an online platform to connect those in need of PPE with companies that make and supply these items. Businesses who wanted to pivot from, for example, making clothing to making masks, or from liquor to sanitizer, needed a way to efficiently connect with clients who wanted to buy their items. So they launched CovidPPEHelp, a marketplace tool that both suppliers and customers can use for free. Customers and suppliers simply log on and post what they can offer or what they are looking for, and other users can search and find matches for their needs.

CovidPPEHelp also encourages donations of PPE to charitable organizations that need it. The platform connects willing donors with suppliers who can make the equipment and charities who need those items. Three months into the project, beneficiaries have included Shelter Movers, a charity that helps women and their children who are escaping domestic violence in the Toronto area. CovidPPEHelp continues to grow and the feedback from users has been “overwhelmingly positive,” according to co-creator Dmitry Krass, a professor at Rotman.

Source: University of Toronto

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