Under the leadership of Business and Entrepreneurship Regional Director Alese Campbell, a cohort of students from throughout the Central Valley/Mother Lode Region recently completed the Internmatch program offered by the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. The program pairs students with founders at California-based startups to learn how to create and run a successful business in the startup space.
The Internmatch program and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center aim to democratize entrepreneurship and bring resources from the startup world to students who might not otherwise have access to them.
“We at the Nasdaq Entrepreneur Center believe entrepreneurs are trailblazers and changemakers with the ability to solve some of the world’s toughest problems,” said Program Coordinator Isis Torres. “Students participating in a wide array of entrepreneurial programs provide a unique talent pool for talent-hungry startups.”
In this third cohort, nine students were paired with six companies: Stock Card, Birdie World, Allie Shoes, Yoga Family, Fanalyze, and Teuko. Each student worked directly alongside the founder and executive team on projects related to marketing and audience development — conducting market research and creating strategies for audience engagement across social and digital media.
“We love the positive mindset our students had during this Internmatch program,” said Jessica Gury, Co-Founder and CEO of Teuko, an online community of lunchbox packers. “We could see the progress they both made in communication, marketing, and innovation. It was a pleasure to have them as interns, sharing with them our experience, and getting their fresh point of view.”
Students who participated in Internmatch said the experiences would stick with them long after they finish college.
“The entrepreneurial skills I think I’ve gained were resilience, communication, confidence, and efficiency,” said Cristian Figueroa, a student at Reedley College. “This helped me shape the way I think of my future by helping me understand that there are opportunities out there that we may not know and we need to put ourselves out there. The sky’s the limit.”
Learning how to act fast was a key takeaway for Salvador Ascencio, a Business Administration major at Modesto Junior College. “You have to be able to think fast, act fast, because opportunities come and go, just like that. And then choosing to succeed. You could either do nothing at all, or you could just go for success and just keep pushing.”
During the cohort’s virtual graduation showcase, Torres congratulated the students for completing the program during a unique time. “Whether you end up working at a startup, starting your own business, or taking this entrepreneurial skillset to a larger organization, I know you’re richer for having this experience,” she told them. “The learnings, insights, and discoveries you’ve shared the past couple months will continue to help you advance personally and professionally in obvious and non-obvious ways.”
Torres said that working with dedicated partners was the key to success for all involved in this project. “This program would not be possible without the support of Alese Campbell, Regional Director of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Sarah Maokosy, Adjunct Business Administration Instructor at Reedley College. This is a journey we’re not alone on, and we’re deeply grateful for our partners who make this work of our nonprofit possible.”
The combined pilot results, which included three student cohorts, included the placement of 26 students from eight Central Valley Community Colleges. Six of the students were offered positions, either paid or unpaid.
The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center also completed this pilot program with colleges in other regions across the state last spring and summer. For more information about Internmatch and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, visit thecenter.nasdaq.org.