Imagine spending a summer inside a microcosm of innovation surrounded by industry professionals, investors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Three months focused solely on exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, and working together to build the future. This summer, 15 student-interns explored this concept at the Cove through the Intercollegiate Summer Start-Up Program (ISSUP).
ISSUP, an initiative of UCI Applied Innovation, brought students from top universities across the country to work alongside a select group of UCI undergraduates in the Cove’s unique entrepreneurial setting. Students applied to one of three program tracks depending on their interests.
Track 1: UCI Applied Innovation Internships Students engage directly in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem and gain experience and insight into the commercialization processat UCI Applied Innovation, while building relationships with entrepreneurs, mentors, venture funders and business partners.
Track 2: Co-Working Team Experience Students work directly with startup companies, gaining first-hand knowledge of what it takes to launch a new product or service.
Track 3: Business IncubatorStudent teams maintain and advance momentum over the summer on their own startups.
In addition to the hands-on experience, students participated in the July experiential learning component of ISSUP which consists of panel discussions with industry leaders and entrepreneurs, expert speakers, and site visits to leading companies in the fields of Digital Media Entertainment and Med Tech. As part of the site visits, ISSUP participants had the opportunity to see first-hand how these companies operate and hear from their executives.
One of the Track 1 interns, Andrew Jabara, describes “it is incredible, walking around UCI Applied Innovation. You have Tech Coast Angels, the largest Angel VC network in the country. You also have a variety of startups and startup incubators.” Interns have access to the wisdom of industry professionals before pursuing opportunities in their chosen industry for the first time.
Another Track 1 intern, Crystal Sanchez, finds the talks and workshops most beneficial. Crystal shares “I have been able to apply my newfound knowledge to my venture, Guardian Locket,” which hopes to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. Track 2 intern, Daylee Richards, who is working with Cove Share team Angarus.io, says “I get hands-on experience helping them start their business which is a rewarding feeling. It is an opportunity to hone my skills and learn new things every day.”
Whether working directly with startups or gaining knowledge through interacting with professionals, the students at the ISSUP program are set to fill their summers with invaluable experiences. As a new school year approaches, this year’s ISSUP interns will take what they have learned back to their universities and serve as ambassadors for the program. UCI’s community of innovation continues to grow, and programs such as ISSUP will continue to develop and teach a new generation of entrepreneurs.