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Start-up Interns programme a win-win situation

18 August 2022

Start-ups are often short of help and students are often short of experience. The University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) addressed both needs through its Start-up Interns programme, enabling an exchange of skills and knowledge.

Start-up Interns matches students who have applied to the programme with one of the ventures participating in CIE’s VentureLab incubator. VentureLab accommodates the five winning teams from CIE’s Velocity $100k Challenge business planning competition, who gain placement in VentureLab as part of their prize package. Internship opportunities are open to students of all faculties at the University of Auckland and internship wages are paid for by CIE.

Interns are carefully matched with start-ups by CIE Programme Coordinator Jessica Schneider who says “My early career experience as a Human Resources administrator has come in handy. I match student intern applicants to VentureLab start-ups based on the needs of the start-up, analysing CVs to determine skill set.” The range of skills required from this year’s cohort included web development, social media marketing, market research and business development skills, data science, and software engineering skills.

Kyle de Thier is a second year Bachelor of Commerce student who interned with Fistbump, a venture developing a social media platform to enable people to make platonic friendships. De Thier had a role as a social media manager and says “The internship has shown me the things I like to do and the things I don’t like to do. This is extremely valuable to me, as it taught me more about myself and has allowed me to create an even clearer path for what I want in the future.”

Simran Nayak is completing her Master of Information Technology. She worked with 3D printing service venture PrintGig, primarily around DevOps and infrastructure automation. “The internship was not solely a coding all day long experience. I was also encouraged to attend the mentor meetings with VentureLab Manager Ken Erskine. These weekly meetings have given me such wonderful insights on how to tackle problems in the real world and really made a feel like an integral part of the PrintGig team. The most valuable lesson I have learnt during my internship is that it is not just being the best but bringing out the best in others that makes a team successful. And I believe it is these learnings that have shaped me into a better professional.”

Nicholas Lee is in his third year of studying towards a Bachelor (Hons) of Engineering. He interned for Delta Waterways, who are using satellites for more efficient monitoring of water quality. Lee says “One of the benefits of working at a start-up is that there is no hierarchy, so it’s been easy for me to leave my comfort zone by not just focusing on the technical side of the business. I’ll be continuing my internship at Delta Waterways and my role will be to further develop, validate and improve the water quality algorithms so that we can successfully complete our upcoming trial run with the regional councils.”

Max Johansson-Pugh is studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) and Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations/English) conjoint degree. He interned with MedTech venture SuperCarbon, whose ground-breaking technology has potential applications for stimulating cell growth and proliferation. Johansson-Pugh says “I plan to finish my studies this year and join the workforce in the area of international trade and foreign affairs. The market analysis role has better equipped me in the international trade space, which I am grateful for. The connections I made and the warm working environment we created was the highlight of my experience and will hopefully be connections that endure even after the internship’s completion.”

The Start-up Interns programme will run again in 2023, following the announcement of the next cohort of VentureLab incubator participants.

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

VentureLab start-up SuperCarbon with intern Max Johansson-Pugh (far right).

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

VentureLab start-up SuperCarbon with intern Max Johansson-Pugh (far right).

18 August 2022

Start-ups are often short of help and students are often short of experience. The University of Auckland Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) addressed both needs through its Start-up Interns programme, enabling an exchange of skills and knowledge.

Start-up Interns matches students who have applied to the programme with one of the ventures participating in CIE’s VentureLab incubator. VentureLab accommodates the five winning teams from CIE’s Velocity $100k Challenge business planning competition, who gain placement in VentureLab as part of their prize package. Internship opportunities are open to students of all faculties at the University of Auckland and internship wages are paid for by CIE.

Interns are carefully matched with start-ups by CIE Programme Coordinator Jessica Schneider who says “My early career experience as a Human Resources administrator has come in handy. I match student intern applicants to VentureLab start-ups based on the needs of the start-up, analysing CVs to determine skill set.” The range of skills required from this year’s cohort included web development, social media marketing, market research and business development skills, data science, and software engineering skills.

Kyle de Thier is a second year Bachelor of Commerce student who interned with Fistbump, a venture developing a social media platform to enable people to make platonic friendships. De Thier had a role as a social media manager and says “The internship has shown me the things I like to do and the things I don’t like to do. This is extremely valuable to me, as it taught me more about myself and has allowed me to create an even clearer path for what I want in the future.”

Simran Nayak is completing her Master of Information Technology. She worked with 3D printing service venture PrintGig, primarily around DevOps and infrastructure automation. “The internship was not solely a coding all day long experience. I was also encouraged to attend the mentor meetings with VentureLab Manager Ken Erskine. These weekly meetings have given me such wonderful insights on how to tackle problems in the real world and really made a feel like an integral part of the PrintGig team. The most valuable lesson I have learnt during my internship is that it is not just being the best but bringing out the best in others that makes a team successful. And I believe it is these learnings that have shaped me into a better professional.”

Nicholas Lee is in his third year of studying towards a Bachelor (Hons) of Engineering. He interned for Delta Waterways, who are using satellites for more efficient monitoring of water quality. Lee says “One of the benefits of working at a start-up is that there is no hierarchy, so it’s been easy for me to leave my comfort zone by not just focusing on the technical side of the business. I’ll be continuing my internship at Delta Waterways and my role will be to further develop, validate and improve the water quality algorithms so that we can successfully complete our upcoming trial run with the regional councils.”

Max Johansson-Pugh is studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) and Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations/English) conjoint degree. He interned with MedTech venture SuperCarbon, whose ground-breaking technology has potential applications for stimulating cell growth and proliferation. Johansson-Pugh says “I plan to finish my studies this year and join the workforce in the area of international trade and foreign affairs. The market analysis role has better equipped me in the international trade space, which I am grateful for. The connections I made and the warm working environment we created was the highlight of my experience and will hopefully be connections that endure even after the internship’s completion.”

The Start-up Interns programme will run again in 2023, following the announcement of the next cohort of VentureLab incubator participants.


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