(Photo by Flickr user University of the Fraser Valley, used under a Creative Commons license)
Like many other college students this year, Tyler Roland, a rising junior at Villanova University studying business analytics and marketing, won’t have an internship this summer because of the COVID-19 virus.
As many companies figure out how they’re operating during these times, or how to tighten their budgets because of financial uncertainty, internship programs have been one of the first things to go.
When Roland’s cousin, Michael Kania, the associate director of marketing analytics for the Kepler Group‘s Philly presence, heard that Roland’s internship was dropped, he started brainstorming how his own company and other in the Philly area could help.
“It became something where we’re excited to creatively fill the gap,” Kania said.
So, the pair are launching the 2020 Philly Startup Sprint, a two-week program for college students who are missing out on the vital training and job experience they would have gotten this summer. The program will feature companies such as Saxbys, Nickl and Formotiv, which will each provide an afternoon of training on both hard and soft business and startup skills, as well as Q&As with founders or executives at each company.
Some of the companies have experience with running an internship program, while others are young companies that are excited to share what they’ve learned so far, Kania said.
The program will run from July 13 through July 24, meeting every business day, usually between 1 to 5 p.m. It will include focused training, group learning and the opportunity to network with company leaders via Zoom. The program isn’t requiring a single major or area of study, but is open to students who want to learn about entrepreneurship or working at a young company.
Digital marketing and database services company Kepler Group is the main sponsor of the two-week program, but all companies are donating their time and resources. Booked speakers include Emily Foote of Osage Partners, Saxbys CEO Nick Bayer and William Luttrell, founder and CEO of Amino Payments.
The application for the program is open to all college students, and Kania said he and Roland are trying to get the word out to as many area institutions as possible, not just the “big six” universities. Applications for the program are open now through June 19, and spots will be limited to 100 students, to ensure the quality of the program.
Roland said that he sees potential for the program to happen again, especially if universities in the area stick with online learning in the fall semester.
“One thing Villanova stressed to us is to stay connected with industry leaders, keep networking as much as possible and keep your skills up,” he said. “Being off campus makes that hard, it’s challenging to get people participating and connected in that way.”-30-
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