Entrepreneurship Program Interns Serve Vital Role in Start-Ups

July 10, 2001

Given the nature of entrepreneurship, new business ventures, expansion-phase companies and venture capital firms provide ideal learning opportunities for entrepreneurially-minded students. Also given the nature of entrepreneurship, new starts generally do not have the funds to support internship programs.

The Karl Eller Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson has designed a solution to this dilemma. The center has started a program which places Berger Entrepreneurship students as interns in new and expansion-phase ventures and venture capital firms as an important preview to their entrepreneurship education curriculum.

In 2001, the program was approved for funding and support by the Kansas City-based Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, earning it the notation as a "Kauffman Entrepreneurship Internship Program" (KEIP). Matching funding is provided by the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, the Karl Eller Center and the intern host companies.

The Kauffman Entrepreneurship Internship Program provides paid summer internships as an opportunity for entrepreneurship students to learn the strategies of start-ups and venture capital. Internships are with new and expansion-phase businesses and venture capital firms, many of which are located at the UA Science and Technology Park and are organizations that can provide students with the kinds of experiences that will make them better entrepreneurs.

The program provides an innovative opportunity for emerging and expanding businesses and entrepreneurship's brightest students to benefit from one another's knowledge. Regarded as colleagues, Entrepreneurship Program interns conduct meaningful assignments while serving a vital role in start-up operations. Establishing a climate of trust with their proteges, mentors encouraged creative exploration to innovate business solutions. This corporate stewardship fosters the interns' own vocational clarity and sense of leadership, encouraging them to trust their own instincts, develop their own ingenuity and forge their future dreams.

This innovative program is made possible by the support and the shared fundamental belief of a few key partners. The Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, the University of Arizona, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the host companies all work together to ensure and fund a once in a lifetime education opportunity for an average of 40 graduate, undergraduate, and associate in technology transfer students each year, and an unmatched opportunity for new and expanding businesses. Many other businesses make financial contributions to support the program

Host Companies
Dozens of emerging and expansion-phase businesses in locations across Tucson and around the country have hosted Berger KEIP Interns, providing an unmatched learning opportunity and benefiting by the latest in business trends, and the best and brightest business students, and positively impacting the local economies.

Host Company Locations

  • Central America: Casas sin Fronteras
  • Los Angeles: Promoting You, Inc.; Racing Heart Productions
  • New York: Shooting Gallery, Inc.
  • Phoenix: SurfNet Media, Inc.; Rowe Capital Holdings; 63:37 Sports Marketing
  • Seattle: Mama La Cameras
  • Tucson: CEO Support; Applied Image Group; Ceres Seed Fund; Competitive Engineering; Knowledge Computing Corp.; High Throughput Genomics; 04 Communications; Tucson Community Ventures; Destech; Business Development Finance Corp.; K & S; Hot Ventures, Inc.; Solstice Capital; NRG, Inc.; Zephyr Press; Buffalo Exchange; Agon Swimwear; Integrated Biomolecule; Aviator Software; Penwortham; Leapscape; Justin Marks Co.; Morpho, Inc.; UA Science & Technology Park; Motorcyclesdirect.com; ViaMedia; SIDDCO; Split Engineering; Amigo Meeting Solutions; Research Corporation Technologies; Accucal; Jes & Co.; Wencil Research; Enuts.com; the Golf Passbook; Tucson Capital Formation Taskforce; Perpetua; Basics DancewearTucson Technology Incubator TTI Development Office; Ironbuy; Protein Therapeutics; Materials Focus; Unversionistaonline.com