Entrepreneurial Internship and Cooperative Education Program

Overview

The Entrepreneurial Internship and Cooperative Education Program (EICP) at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is designed to encourage Missouri S&T students to explore and consider entrepreneurship as a career option and learn key entrepreneurship skills, particularly the process of searching for a scalable business model.  Entrepreneurial internships or co-ops last approximately three (3) to four (4) months.  Missouri S&T’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development (TTED) provides funding to students (up to $10,000 per student) that is competitive with salaries that they could earn at internships and co-ops with traditional employers.  TTED provides this funding in the form of time-based and milestone-based award payments.  The award payments to participants are handled as non-employee taxable cash payments reportable on form 1099 and distributed through Missouri S&T's non-PO voucher process.  TTED plans to distribute award payments once per month.  This funding allows EICP participants to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor on a full-time basis for up to four (4) months.

Comments About the Program from Former EICP Participants

Selected students may participate in the EICP under one of three (3) options.  In the first option (i.e., the Venture Option), participants will develop and pursue a concept for an entrepreneurial venture that they identify.  In the second option (i.e., the Project Option) participants will work closely with an existing entrepreneurial early-stage business venture to obtain hands-on experience in an entrepreneurial environment, typically as an independent contractor working on one or more projects.  Students interested in the Project Option will be required to solicit a project from an appropriate business on their own and obtain prior approval from TTED.  To provide some level of protection against personal liability, participants in the Project Option may choose to form a separate business entity (e.g., Limited Liability Company, etc.) and use it as the vehicle for engaging with the entrepreneurial early-stage business venture client.  In the third option (i.e., Ideation Option), participants are first guided through a process to develop an idea for a new business venture and then employ the EICP methodology to pursue the opportunity.

Particants will use the lean startup and customer development process articulated by Steven G. Blank to pursue the entrepreneurial endeavor.  During the typical internship or co-op, students are responsible for undertaking various activities such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • Participating in just-in-time (JIT) training sessions.

  • Identifying a potential entrepreneurial opportunity (i.e., developing a value hypothesis for a specific target customer).

  • Developing a preliminary business model and updating the business model based on information obtained during customer discovery.

  • Performing customer discovery to obtain information and feedback, identify the appropriate target customers, define the minimum feature set, and establish product/market fit.

  • Performing customer validation activities to develop a proven sales process and test the sales road map by learning how to sell to a small set of early visionary customers (i.e., earlyvangelists).

Although the above activities are particularly suited to participants in the Venture Option, they may also be suitable for participants in the Project Option.  However, TTED may need to establish alternative activities and milestones for participants in the Project Option.  Moreover, participants in the Venture Option may be further along in the process when they begin the program and TTED may need to adjust activities and milestones accordingly.

During the internship or co-op, participants meet with a mentor, or panel of mentors, on a weekly basis to receive guidance on the customer development process and demonstrate sufficient effort and progress.  This entails discussing what they’ve done during the previous week and what they plan to do in the coming week.  Ideally, participants in the Venture Option will have identified and verified a genuine entrepreneurial opportunity and be in a position to pursue outside investment or bootstrap the venture by the end of the internship or co-op.  Participants in the Project Option will have immersed themselves in an entrepreneurial environment and employed entrepreneurial methods in a real-world environment.

Eligibility

Only full-time Missouri S&T students in good standing that meet the eligibility requirements of the Missouri S&T Cooperative Education Program or who qualify for summer internships are eligible to receive funding (for additional information about co-op and internship eligibility, visit http://career.mst.edu/students/).  Recipients must be registered to attend Missouri S&T in the semester immediately following the internship or co-op period.  Applicants must provide all necessary documentation to demonstrate eligibility for funding under this program.

Eligibility to participate in the Missouri S&T EICP generally is as follows:

  1. Undergraduate and graduate students in good standing and enrolled full-time at Missouri S&T during the Spring 2017 semester who are also enrolled full-time at Missouri S&T for the Fall 2017 semester (or Spring 2018 semester if electing to participate as a co-op during the Fall 2017 semester).

  2. International students that are eligible for curriculum practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT) are also eligible to participate, provided that there are no legal impediments to their participation.

Selected applicants must provide all necessary documentation to demonstrate their eligibility to participate in and receive funding under this program before their participation in the program begins.  Participation in this program is at the sole and absolute discretion of Missouri S&T and TTED.

HOW TO APPLY

For additional information, contact Malcolm S. Townes at townesm@mst.edu.

See list of 2016 participants

See list of 2015 participants

See list of 2014 participants

 

Updated January 24, 2017