Institute for Entrepreneurship, CincyTech collaborate to find work for students

ESP and CincyTech logos

In the extraordinary environment that the coronavirus pandemic has created in the working world, the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship and its partners have been working together to help students and pending graduates find internships and jobs in an uncertain time.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has created a challenging situation for everyone, we know that it is especially difficult for those working to build a new business, to operate a small business, or to serve communities through non-profits. As a result, many of the businesses that agreed to host entrepreneurship co-majors and minors for the summer as part of the Altman Institute’s Summer Internship Program pulled back while others deferred the decision altogether, impacting half of the students who registered for the program,” institute director Dr. Tim Holcomb said.  “We issued a call to more than 400 Miami alumni and friends of the institute, asking for them to help us place these students, and the response has been overwhelming.”

CincyTech, a public-private seed-stage investor with nearly three-dozen active portfolio companies in the region, was one of the partners that responded to the call. “We're working very closely to understand who those students are and how we can match them with available work, either at CincyTech or with companies in our portfolio,” Managing Director Jennifer Dauer explained. “Those matches may or may not be full-time internships, but they are always meaningful work.”

One of those matches was with CincyTech itself. The organization was preparing to launch its R2[X] survey, designed to understand people’s reaction to the new normal in a COVID-19 world.  The CincyTech team needed help bringing the findings alive with analytics and data visualization.  The Institute’s faculty responded within hours, providing Ben Wachtel’s name and background. “On a Friday afternoon he was connected with CincyTech for a data analysis and visualization project, and by Sunday, he was up and running doing remote project work,” entrepreneurship professor Mark Lacker said.

“I think within 24 hours I was doing work for CincyTech. They had me on a call the next morning and I just started rolling,” Wachtel recalled. “The whole team is amazing. They move fast, but they’re clear as can be on what they want, and they give you the freedom to go and figure it out.”

“We brought Ben in to do one project. That became two projects, and Ben has now become part of the R2[X] team, which continues to build understanding of life in the new normal.  In addition to Ben, we’re working with another student and a couple of faculty members to leverage their complementary skills to help work on the project,” Dauer said.

Dauer added, “We have another student, Hannah Falcione. We hired her to do a single project, to basically take a black and white PowerPoint and turn it into a visually impactful pitch. We briefed her and she worked directly with our CEO, who was delighted. And that then led to a second project, which led to a third project, and she's about to start her fourth and possibly her fifth.”

"CincyTech has provided me the opportunity to pursue projects remotely and really grow my portfolio and resume," Falcione remarked. "Having this flexibility is amazing and the people here are super accommodating and I continue to enjoy working with them." 

“The students have needs and we have needs.  It’s mutually beneficial,” Dauer added. “We continue to keep opportunities in front of our faculty partners at the university who know of talented students who are looking for real world experiences.”

Assistant institute director Rebecca Peets said that several other companies have stepped forward and are interviewing or considering Farmer School students for their openings. “I can’t thank enough the many alumni and friends of the program that have stepped up with offers of support during this time,” Holcomb said.