Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Surviving an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

I have a pretty unconventional summer internship. So for my second blog post, I figured I would explain more about the company I’m working for, and what I will be doing throughout the summer.

I’m currently a programs intern for Venture for America (VFA), a non-profit that aims to promote entrepreneurship in emerging cities by connecting talented post-grades to start-ups around the country. How it works is that VFA recruits top college grads to the highly competitive Fellowship. If you are accepted and become a Fellow, than you gain access to VFA’s network of startups in 17 ‘emerging cities’ seeking talented post grads to come work for their company.

The average Fellow finds a job before they graduate, and then heads to a 5 week Training Camp at Brown University to teach them hard skills, soft skills, and everything in between before they head off to their start-ups. They work at their start-up for two years, and then have a choice to stay or move on to their next endeavor. As a Fellow they receive mentorship and support from VFA team members, as well as access to resources such as accelerators, VCs, networking events, capital etc. to help start their own businesses (or do whatever else they choose) after their two years.

As a programs intern, my job revolves around Training Camp. I began working in the New York office helping tie up loose ends, getting to know the team and other interns, and helping with whatever prep was needed before we headed to Brown. After weeks of anticipation, we finally arrived! The first four days were spent settling into the apartment I’m sharing with four of the other interns (there are seven in total), running around and confirming spaces, and collecting all other materials that were needed. On Sunday, the 180+ Fellows moved into the dorms, and we kicked off Training Camp with goal setting groups and a networking dinner.

Day 1, like the rest of the five weeks, was jam packed with programming. For post grads who may be used to spaced out classes, the 9am to 6pm work, with challenges and other events that require you to work after hours is very grueling. The intense workload, in addition to hyper socializing as they get to know all 180+ Fellows, and the VFA team is a lot to take in. As an intern, Training Camp is no less intense.

From checking the Fellows in in the morning, to handling scheduling and logistics, to working the AV and presenting/managing different group challenges, the interns are there to help with whatever is needed throughout the day ensure everything runs smoothly. The day is long, unconventional, and once the strict programming is over you are usually socializing. In essence it is a lot, but amazing. Being in a new city, working with great people, and interacting with such ambitious and outgoing post-grads gives you the energy to get through the day. I’m excited to continue learning and getting to know people throughout Training Camp, and I’ll keep y’all updated on how it goes!