After a successful pilot, the Students2Startups program is opening a second round of applications for summer 2019. An initiative of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Invest Atlanta, and WorkSource Atlanta, Students2Startups focuses on connecting talented students with Atlanta’s growing startup community.
Startup companies often have limited budgets for the talent necessary to expand their business. As a result, they often rely on unpaid interns, which can be financially challenging for students with limited resources. In addition, many students need assistance connecting to Atlanta’s startup ecosystem to help them develop entrepreneurial skills through experiential learning. Students2Startups was piloted in 2018 to address these opportunities through entrepreneurial-focused student internships with Atlanta-based startups. In its first year, the program hosted 14 students comprised of 50 percent women and 86 percent people of color.
“Students2Startups is a strong example of Atlanta’s commitment to equip the next generation for success,” said Mayor Bottoms. “This mentorship program opens doors, closes opportunity gaps and enhances the innovative talent that will soon enter the workforce. We are proud of Atlanta’s many startup success stories and we are excited to help more talented young students become successful entrepreneurs.”
Invest Atlanta will manage the program and pair 20 Atlanta-based students with growing startups for paid, full-time, technology-focused summer internships and ongoing professional development opportunities. WorkSource Atlanta has partnered with Invest Atlanta to subsidize selected students. Participating startups will commit to providing mentorship and creating a substantive work plan to expose students to various technology-related careers. During the first year, interns were able to learn about and assist with projects focused on operations, research, data development, app improvement, marketing, social media, and customer discovery.
“Atlanta is a hotbed of startup activity underpinned by 65 corporate innovation centers, incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces in the city and metro area,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Building on the success of last year’s pilot, Students2Startups is another way to foster a rich, diverse talent pipeline to support our thriving startup ecosystem for years to come. We look forward to continued partnership with the City of Atlanta, WorkSource Atlanta and the startup community as we welcome new students to the program.”
“The Atlanta startup ecosystem is very much ‘on the map’ for me after this experience,” said Nydrel Jack, who was an intern with NFANT Labs. More than 50 percent of participants are planning to stay in Atlanta after college because they know more about the opportunities that the city has to offer.”
Sixty-four percent of participants remained with their startups beyond the program as an intern or volunteer, and two interns were hired as full-time employees as a result of the program. “Students2Startups was exactly what I needed to help move the needle and I couldn’t have asked for a better intern,” said Terri-Nichelle Bradley, CEO & Founder of Brown Toy Box. “The program will one day be a big part of my startup story. I am so unspeakably grateful.”
“Students2Startups is an innovative program that will create meaningful career opportunities in Atlanta’s high-demand information technology sector,” said Kimberlyn Daniel, WorkSource Atlanta’s Interim Executive Director. “This program will help Atlanta build the strong and resilient IT workforce needed to compete regionally, nationally, and globally. In addition, supporting a program such as this is very timely as Atlanta was just named the top U.S. city for startups outside of San Francisco and New York City.”
Students2Startups will also provide professional development opportunities during the program, including ChooseATL's After 5 program and a lunch-and-learn series to help students build more connections with Atlanta’s entrepreneurial community.
Qualified students from Atlanta universities are encouraged to apply. Applications for students and interested startups are open now until March 15. For more information, visit investatlanta.com/students2startups.