Gone are the days of the corporate internship. Thousands of graduates of the “lost generation” are turning to small business as an alternative career path and embracing a new type of opportunity – the enternship. Last month at the Enternships.com Launch Party, 900 of Britain’s entrepreneurs, unemployed graduates and Twitter-ati converged, to celebrate the official launch of the award-winning online recruitment portal that connects graduates with start-ups and small businesses worldwide.
The event was held in association with Enterprise UK, to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week and was also the official after-party for @JeffPulver’s “140 Character Conference” – bringing together the UK’s leading Twitterers such as @StephenFry.
The evening was kick started by the Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion and dot-com millionaire Martha Lane Fox (of Lastminute.com fame) who, as key-note speaker encouraged the entrepreneurs present to “think big and act fast” and commented that “doing an enternship is the most effective way of gaining experience in small business, becoming the first step to setting up your own business.”
Rajeeb Dey, the CEO and Founder of Enternships.com welcomed guests gathered at the swanky London nightclub Floridita, stating “the UK is experiencing the worst graduate jobs crisis in over a decade with graduate unemployment expected to exceed 100,000. Enternships is playing its part to connect these graduates to the lifeblood of the UK economy – start-ups and SMEs; we’re creating a culture change by promoting an enternship - encouraging graduates to become more entrepreneurial”.
The Enternships.com Launch Party provided graduates ample opportunity to interact with some of the most innovative start-ups and build contacts through ‘speed-networking’ (speed-dating with potential employers). The Twitterers were out in force; @MegFitz tweeted “Amazing time at #enternships event, great to see so many people in the tech scene out in force to support global entrepreneur week”
Dey, himself a 23 year-old Oxford graduate, exemplifies the impact hard-working and entrepreneurial graduates can have, having won the 02 X Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Award 2009 and being recognised in the Courvoisier The Future 500 Network as One to Watch for 2010. He passionately believes that recruitment portals like Enternships.com are “key to the creation of jobs and the revival of our nation,” following the recession.
Widely supported by the start-up community, Enternships.com has seen over 2000 applications from graduates, and nearly 800 small businesses have signed up since the site’s soft-launch in May 2009.
Dey believes that enterning will soon become an essential alternative to the traditional routes to employment. Some top-performing graduates have already secured full-time positions following their enternships. Broadcasting graduate Simon Lane ended up being offered a permanent position after his 1 month enternship with Rockfeedback TV. His employer, Kevin Molloy said that “by exposing him to the breadth of our business, Simon learnt key skills and made himself indispensable.” By enabling small businesses to ‘try before they buy’ via an enternship, graduates can demonstrate their ‘value add’ and effectively create their own full-time role –ideal for fighting the current graduate jobs crisis.
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Channel 4 welcomed the launch by saying “Enternships.com will serve a valuable purpose – rebuilding students’ and graduates’ dwindling sense of hope.”