U of A Venture Intern Program completes sixth semester serving students and startups

Brandon Howard

Big Red stopped by the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub to celebrate the completion of the Fall 2022 cohort of the Venture Intern Program.

Launched just over two years ago, the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s Venture Intern Program has provided nearly 200 students with insight into how early-stage ventures work and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas.

The program finished its sixth semester earlier this month after placing 42 students with local organizations or startups.

Designed to help students thrive in ambiguous, fast-paced environments, the Venture Intern Program connects talented U of A undergraduate students with startups, entrepreneurship support organizations, and investor networks for semester-long internships.

“It’s been a really great semester,” said Ethan Trollinger, senior finance major at Sam M. Walton College of Business. Trollinger was paired with a local founder of a postpartum recovery product.

“It didn’t look like a match on paper like it ended up being.”

The program is open to juniors and seniors in good standing from any discipline at the U of A with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Students participating in the program should be prepared to wear many hats and maintain a high level of professionalism and autonomy. In return, they can expect direct access to founders and the opportunity to play a key role in a highly dynamic environment.

When choosing their internship position, the students go through a matching process. They submit their top five companies they would like to work with, interview them and then get matched. The paid program also includes one hour of academic course credit.

The Venture Intern Program is supported by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Since its inception, the program has built an interdisciplinary group of students, and foundation funding has helped support 197 students while supporting more than 80 startups.

About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation:The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students of all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village and the Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI offers free workshops and programs – including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A division of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also provides on-demand support for students who will be innovators in existing organizations and entrepreneurs starting something new.

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