Foster.ly, the Washington, D.C.-based for-profit that has appointed itself the task of facilitating meetings among entrepreneurs, investors and techies in Maryland, Virginia and the nation’s capital, expanded on its vision of creating a broad startup corridor in the Mid-Atlantic by introducing an internship match program for startups and startup workers-to-be.
In practice, Foster.ly’s Internship Match Initiative is not all dissimilar to what Venture for America does in cities throughout the U.S. (including Baltimore, as of 2013): match college students seeking work in a startup with present startup owners and entrepreneurs. With this new program, the Foster.ly crew takes up the mantle from ProudlyMadeInDC, which had facilitated an internship program last year.
Although, while Venture for America’s model is to screen applicants, themselves college seniors, and then place them in two-year-long fellowships with startups after graduation, Foster.ly’s goal is to find college students of any year, vet applicants, and then provide hiring organizations lists of students, who are then placed in summer-long, entrepreneurial internships in startups — of any stripe, not solely tech startups — and enterprise organizations in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
It’s free for students to apply. And it’s free for startups short on cash, although organizations with the money to spare are encouraged to pay $250 for the privilege.
“None of this money goes in anybody’s pockets,” Foster.ly co-founder Adam Zuckerman told Washington Business Journal. “It’s all to help the [Foster.ly] website get better.”
As with Foster.ly’s events, among them periodic “study halls” for entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and mentors and the annual Day of Foster.ly, the intention here is to make connections between startup owners and interested parties who’ve yet to find a way into the entrepreneurship space.
“We decided to pick up and continue the initiative that ProudlyMadeInDC started,” said Zuckerman in an e-mail. “At bottom, it helped find and connect startups and interns last year, and we didn’t want to see that go away. The thought process is that if we can help connect people to stay in the area everyone wins.”
In Maryland, however, the one university in partnership with the internship initiative is the University of Maryland through its Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. While startups from Baltimore city are expected to participate, local university participation is absent.
“[W]e haven’t reached out to Johns Hopkins, UMBC, or University of Baltimore due to time constraints,” Zuckerman said. But, he added, “I think we should do it sometime in the near future.”
That bodes well for a city with a developing tech startup scene in a state with a strong interest in promoting innovation through entrepreneurship. And it augments efforts already underway, most notably the Digital Harbor Foundation‘s BmorePipeline that’s working to help high school students find internships with tech companies in Baltimore city.
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