Held in Detroit from 12-14 June, the conference highlighted how traditional internships are being “kicked into the 21st century” to address access challenges where time and funding often restrict participation to more affluent students.
“The internship market will change drastically as things become less industry focused and more skills focused”
Founder of international entrepreneurial program Corkscrew, Neil Finnie, said their ‘experienceship’ concept helps students prepare for a world where the start-up mentality will increasingly become part of the expected mindset.
“Not only do we work in developing the work-based skills of those entering into the labour market for the first time, but we also now work with established organisations in developing their current workforce in innovation and transferable skills,” he said.
“The internship market will change drastically as things become less industry focused and more skills focused in the gig economy.”
Co-founder of CRCC Asia, Daniel Nivern, introduced new online internship provider Virtual Internships, which he said would “address the biggest barriers to undertaking an internship overseas: time and funding”.
Similar to a full-time summer internship, the virtual project involves 250-300 hours of work, and interns are engaged with company projects to work remotely for 10-12 hours per week.
Virtual Internships CEO Luke Peake added that the new format will increase access for students who wouldn’t have considered an internship previously, whether international or in their home country.
On the second day of the conference, a micro-granting event called GIC SOUP was held, which brought together socially innovative startups with conference attendees in the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The inspiration came from Detroit SOUP, where for a five-dollar donation, attendees receive soup, salad, bread, and a vote for one of four local projects.
After GIC put the call out for presentations through local startup hubs and regional universities, six projects were selected as finalists to present and each received some level of financial support, with the winner receiving $2,500.
A social enterprise based in Detroit that connects local high school women to professional opportunities through skills-based workshops, leadership training, and internships was declared the overall winner.
Chair of GIC Tony Johnson highlighted the SOUP event as one bringing the world to Detroit.
“With conference delegates from over 30 countries, the GIC was excited to share the remarkable story of this city and its comeback.
“These young entrepreneurs demonstrate the vibrant start-up environment and inspiring individuals leading Detroit into the future.”
GIC 2019 will be held in Auckland, New Zealand.