Young Entrepreneurship – Internwise

We understand that for many of you looking for that extra push to realise your entrepreneurial dreams, that little bit of inspiration from someone who has been through the same thing is all that is needed. Internwise was one YHP’s Top 20 Start-Ups to watch in 2013, and they could be just that inspiration for you.

Internwise is the brainchild of Nuno Dhiren and his business partner Rui Zamith, and works to connect students and graduates looking for an internship with employers from start-ups to larger corporate companies.

As one of our customers, we are very proud to say that Internwise is a start-up going from strength to strength. Dhiren took time out from his busy schedule to speak to The Formations Company about his own motivations for starting a business, and why other start-ups should seriously consider hiring an intern of their own.

What was your motivation for starting Internwise?

When my business partner moved to the UK looking for an internship, he couldn’t find a quality and reliable service that could assist him in finding an internship in London. Similarly when I moved to the UK and was looking for a job, I was simply filtered by the recruitment agencies. Based on these difficulties, myself and Rui sat down and identified that there was a problem here, and devised a solution in the form of Internwise – an online job-board platform focused on internship recruitment. Best of all, the service is free of charge!

If the service is free for both the potential intern and the business, how do you generate income?

Internwise currently has two main revenue streams. One stream comes from the companies that post internship vacancies on our site. While uploading a basic listing is always free, if they pay a fee for a premium listing, they will get certain added benefits. This means we will promote their vacancy through our social media channels, and feature it on our home page, amongst other things. This usually creates a mountain of applications overnight, so is definitely worth it for the company posting the ad!

Our other main revenue stream comes through a separate but linked project called KapeTalent. In this service, we help students and graduates from overseas gain a guaranteed internship at a company in London or the rest of the UK. We provide mentors and advisors who will help to find the candidate accommodation, their perfect job role and anything else they may need a helping hand with when moving to a new country, and they pay a fee for the help they receive in getting their foot in the door of a top UK business.

At this point, it is important to say that both myself and Rui both still hold full-time jobs – this means that we technically work part-time on Internwise, allowing us to put any money made straight back into the business to help growth.

How do you manage to juggle the two commitments of being a full-time employee and a full-time entrepreneur?

Dhiren – Obviously I would be lying if I said it was easy, especially now Internwise is growing and we are receiving great coverage from places such as the Huffington Post and YHP’s “Top 20 start-ups to watch in 2013.”

Having said this, we are both very committed and efficient, and as we are a web based company, we don’t need to be based in one office or even in the same place to conduct our business. So while it isn’t ideal, we are able to make it work thanks to a combination of technology such as email, and our own hard work.

What advice would you give to other potential entrepreneurs who have a great business idea but are scared to make the jump and go it alone?

Those are just excuses to stop yourself from making that jump! There are plenty of solutions to find the right people and further develop projects and you should only be scared of yourself if you don’t do it!

If you have an entrepreneurial mind set “just go and get it!” All achievements will only come after you put time, effort and hard-work into your ideas. Be the best in your field, follow the trends, build relationships with your customers and ask questions. You should also always use continuous improvement as principle and work for profitability, not revenue.

I found the following books really useful too: “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries and “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau.

Other than reading these great books and believing in yourself, how did you both begin to and continue to plan your business?

When you are starting a business, it is essential that you use your business plan simply as a guideline. As we continue to grow, we are adapting our business plan all the time. We are adjusting through our daily interactions with the marketplace, and as this changes all the time, so does our business plan.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have a clear vision – we want to be the leading brand connecting businesses with top-quality candidates.

We know that there are around 300,000 people graduating every single year, and universities themselves can only do so much to help them find the job of their dreams. While some institution have links with certain companies, they can’t with all of them. Our model means that we can, and through making the connection between business and graduate we are helping to reduce youth unemployment in the UK too.

Finally then, for those that have recently started their own business, what can they gain from employing an intern?

As well as being an extra pair of hands, a newly-graduated intern has a fresh brain bursting with ideas. They will be eager to learn and demonstrate their skillsets, and will definitely bring new dynamics to the team. Most will be social media savvy too, so will be a great help if you aren’t too clued up on Facebook and Twitter! Essentially interns have the desire to succeed and help the business grow. Nothing to lose, all to learn – that goes for both of you!

Want to find out more about hiring an intern for your business? Head to our knowledge centre and blog for more useful articles.