University of Connecticut student Kay Wilcox is one of the many driven and entrepreneurial interns involved with reSET’s 2017 Summer Internship Program.
reSET’s four-month immersive Summer Internship Program connects students with startups.
Participating students work alongside startup teams to help grow and scale their businesses. The program helps students enhance their entrepreneurship skills and exposes them to a variety of industries.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Are you studying entrepreneurship?
KAY WILCOX: I have an individualized major in Global Economic Development & Social Innovation and a secondary major in Human Rights. I study how we can use business and entrepreneurship to drive economic development and address human rights issues.
I’m most interested in using entrepreneurship to create solutions to issues that governments have failed to or don’t have an incentive to solve and that non-profits don’t have the funds or resources to address.
IDH: How did you connect with reSET?
KW: I connected with reSET at UConn’s Careers for the Common Good Fair.
IDH: What does your internship work entail? How are you helping the startups you’re working with to grow and scale their businesses?
KW: I work with two startups. The first is a mindful leadership training company called Golden Bristle. The owner, Matt Thieleman, is interested in developing a scalable online program. I’m researching similar programs and looking for market opportunities.
The second startup is Elidah. The company is expecting U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its device, Elitone, which treats women suffering with urinary incontinence. I’m researching foreign market opportunities and creating an export business plan.
The interns are also working on a reSET Innovation Challenge project. We’ll be assigned a social issue to address and work in teams to come up with a business plan.
IDH: Tell us something you’ve learned about launching or running a startup.
KW: A huge amount of research goes into every single step of launching a startup.
IDH: What entrepreneurship skills are you gaining from your internship experience?
KW: My experience at reSET has definitely helped me understand the intricacies involved with running a successful startup. It’s really hard to teach entrepreneurship in a classroom. This summer has given me a much better idea of what running a startup is actually like.
It’s also really cool to be in such an entrepreneurial environment and we have a ton of opportunities to meet people and ask questions about the entrepreneurial process.
IDH: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?
KW: Being an entrepreneur means being a dreamer and an innovator. It’s coming up with new, more efficient solutions to problems. But it’s also having the knowledge and tenacity to pursue that solution and make an abstract idea tangible.
There’s a lot of focus on the success stories of entrepreneurs—Harvard drop-outs turned billionaires. But it’s a lot less glamorous than that. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another thing entirely to make that a reality.
An entrepreneur is someone who sees a problem, comes up with a solution, identifies obstacles to implementing that solution, and then finds a way around those obstacles. It takes a lot of work and persistence to become successful.
IDH: Do you consider yourself entrepreneurial?
KW: Yes. I co-founded a non-profit last year and I’m in the process of developing an app right now. I’m also establishing a chapter of Net Impact on campus, and I’d really like to establish an “impact pipeline” on campus that gets students involved in social impact on campus and in their careers. That’s still in concept phase though, so we’ll see what happens.
My non-profit, More Than Ten Thousand, focuses on advocacy for Syrian refugees. Apart from but inspired by my work there, I’m trying to develop a framework for connecting refugees in camps to global supply chains. It’s a politically fraught idea, so I’m working on researching domestic policies and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regulations and seeing what I can do to work around some of the issues. It’s still in the concept phase, but I’d say it’s what I’m most passionate about and what I’d like to like to focus in the future.
Learn more about the reSET Summer Internship Program at resetco.org/resource/internship. Get involved with reSET by visiting resetco.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter @resetco_org, or Instagram @resetco.