Zoë Damacela is a dynamic, young entrepreneur that we’ll be following in 2013. She’s a NFTE (National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship) alum whose business plan for Zoë Damacela Apparel took top honors at the Chicago Citiwide Business Plan Competition and placed second in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.
We’ll follow Zoë through this blog as she manages her business and juggles school and other responsibilites.
Interns: enrich their experience while helping your company too
Right now is the time of year where we usually start to hire interns at Zoë Damacela, Inc. I love interns because they are always enthusiastic, they appreciate the opportunity to get some work experience, and they are fun to have around. I know that when things start to get really busy, I always look to the interns to help out with a variety of tasks. And even though we've had interns for a few years, I always seem to forget that as wonderful as they are to have around, they're also a ton of work!
When I first decided to hire interns I was hoping to get some extra help with simple tasks and also give students some work experience or school credit. Little did I know that they can definitely be a handful. Rather than being an extra hand, things tend to run much slower when interns are around because you have to spend a lot of time teaching, supervising, and correcting their work. Interns usually don't have very much work experience, and that's definitely something to keep in mind when you select them.
I've learned to rethink our internship program. Instead of focusing on what they can do for my business, I've tried to focus on how my business can help them. Our internship program is much more organized now than it was when we first got started. We structure the program like a class, with assignments, due dates, individual progress reports, and even formal classes. For example for the design interns, I'll have them watch the design process and then design a collection themselves that will be discussed in detail and evaluated.
Similarly, with social media interns, we give them projects like designing and updating the tumblr or Facebook page, and evaluate their work and improvement over time.
There are a lot of legal issues surrounding internships as well, so we worked closely with our legal team to develop the program. In thinking back on my own experience, interning was a huge help for me and so I hope our program helps other students too.