resprout, 2021

A collaborative matching platform and project management tool for small business owners and student volunteers with digital skills for meaningful community work and authentic networking
Early 2020 lockdown mandates changed the flow of society, particularly for small businesses and students. Small business owners scurried to keep their doors open by developing their online presence and students were preparing themselves to enter a variety of careers but losing access to fulfilling collaborative projects and learning experiences.


Resprout formed amidst the pandemic from a group of students on my college campus who had personal connections to local small businesses and were seeing first-hand how the pandemic was impacting them rapidly. After doing field research, they discovered an opportunity to connect these businesses with tech-savvy student volunteers who sought out learning experiences and wanted to give back to their communities. 

By the time I was working with Resprout, they had been manually pairing businesses and volunteers through 1:1 meetings with every interested party. Each call would last approximately 30 minutes and was used to discover a business owner or volunteer's interests, needs, and goals.

After 1 month, they wanted to expand Resprout's capabilities to better engage users and allow Resprout to scale.


+ role

My team members include Moe Hay Mar Kaung (project manager), Nurhaliza Mohamath (researcher) Haifa Al-Jubari (researcher), and Shahir Ali (developer). They were my client that I worked closely with as the sole designer.


1 month


I optimized the research that they’d already conducted and discovered major pain points and opportunities to convert them into solutions that expanded Resprout’s features based on their business goals.

First, it was important to identify our target market and users.

Second, we identified Resprout's current gaps and goals.

research methods
  • Interviews – 14 interviews between small business owners and student volunteers
  • Surveys – to collect data on types of businesses, industries, skills, and levels of interest
  • Competitive analysis – on existing project management and volunteer matching tools: Notion, Asana, Jira, Catchafire, VolunteerMatch, and Hive

The global pandemic hit these two groups hard, forcing both to adapt quickly to a fully digital society for some time. Small businesses feared closing doors if they couldn’t and students struggled to prepare for their careers while losing access opportunities and communities.

exploration and brainstorming

After analyzing our research and better understanding the intersection between small business owners and student volunteers, we brainstormed a variety of ideas. Below are considerations that were not chosen and the rationale based on Resprout's goals for scaling and better engagement.

  • Directory of contacts – not engaging and minimal support offered to users
  • Manually pair business owners and students based on profile submissions – not scalable, lack of agency and community building for users
  • "Project board" system where business owners advertise needs and volunteers sign up/apply – requires small business owners to understand potential project too thoroughly and eliminates stages of collaboration
finding a solution

Suddenly, our idea for Greenhouse was born! A collaborative matching platform & project management tool for community work and authentic connections based on preferences and identity.


creating a digital tool for two user segments with very different behaviors and skills where they can effectively collaborate and communicate


design process

In order to tackle our main challenge, we used our insights to identify the following design guidelines:

Using what we knew at this point, we developed a user flow and wireframes so that we could collaborate and decide the direction of our product.

user flow

Wireframing at this stage was extremely valuable in noticing any possible misalignment between design, engineering, the PM, and user needs. We learned that we wanted to make the Greenhouse different from similar platforms and make our unique value our focus on community and identity.

We took time to do a competitive analysis on Upwork, a popular freelance website, and ADPList, a popular mentee-mentor matching platform for early-career professionals in tech.


Some likes were sufficient project information, reviews, recommendations, effective application.

Some dislikes were too much text, lack of personal connection, unorganized postings, overly commodified, highly anonymized.


Some likes were simple interface, friendly and inviting, robust filtering (availability, field, location), effective profile information, search capabilities.

Some dislikes were the mentor:mentee ratio and strict rules.

design solutions

After analyses of similar platforms and our own research, we were better able to translate specific pain points and goals into design solutions.

Following our iterations and gaining feedback from users, we launched Greenhouse. See further below for a look!



Before integrating Greenhouse, Resprout was supporting an average of 4 pairings a week through manual pairings. After building our matching system and collaboration platform, alongside an increase in marketing initiatives, we were able to see an increase in 38 pairings in the first month.

As our B2B partners have private data on their business success, we do not have access to accurate information on the financial impact of Greenhouse and Resprout. However, we've been able to promote dozens of projects such a web development; Doordash, UberEats, Square, and Toast integrations; mobile app redesigns; social media marketing; and more. We predict that at least $200,000 in revenue was safeguarded in 1 month through these digital transformations enabled by our community and Resprout partnerships conducted on Greenhouse.

unique solutions

Throughout our design process, we made very deliberate choice to respect our users.