Cyber Talk Radio: Students + Startups Program Expansion

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, Dr. Luis Martinez of Trinity University and Alexandra Frey of the 80/20 Foundation - Episode 121 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, January 19, episode 121 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Luis Martinez, director of Trinity University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Alexandra Frey, executive director of the 80/20 Foundation to discuss the recent expansion of the Students + Startups summer internship program in San Antonio.

We begin this episode by discussing the goals of the 80/20 Foundation, which strives to transform downtown San Antonio by giving to charities focused on technology and entrepreneurial education. The 80/20 Foundation funds 50 percent of each student’s salary for the summer that they intern with Students + Startups companies. The origins of the Students + Startups program came to be about four years ago after a visit to Detroit and learning about another internship program and the opportunities and experiences that are offered by startups, which are very different experiences for students, especially in comparison to you what would experience at a large company. Now that the program is expanding to students outside of Trinity University, they have really focused on getting other universities in San Antonio involved, in addition to universities nationwide. Their goal for this upcoming summer is to have about 80 high-quality students working in around 50 startups in the San Antonio area, including Trinity University student-founded business Patch Technologies, which took part in the university’s Louis H. Stumberg Venture Competition.

After the break, I share my favorite interview question for potential Students + Startups interns (Have you eaten at Barbaro?) and Luis emphasizes that students of any major and any startup can participate, not just technology companies or students majoring in computer science. I also shared my favorite Jungle Disk success story about Sarah, an English major, that worked on a user guide for one of Jungle Disk’s core products. With the help of these students, businesses can create a specific hands-on project to achieve objectives that will have a real business impact. Of the students that participated in 2018, 56 percent were offered a job after the internship. I highly recommend that students participate in Students + Startups one summer and then also get experience working at a larger enterprise-type company another summer for a well-rounded scope of the types of careers out there.

Expanding the program to the whole San Antonio metropolitan area will help spread the word among students to hear more about all of the different businesses and startups that exist in San Antonio, and will hopefully help retain talent in the city. A number of students that were in the program have since started working at the startups and businesses, and also get involved in the Geekdom community through Startup Weekends and other projects. Rounding out our episode, Luis shares another fun story about an intern helping a business with a project that they were stuck on and solved it within a few weeks, which moved their business forward by six to nine months.

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about the expansion of the Students + Startups program.

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