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Virtual Incubator Hub

A one-stop shop for online business guidance and tools for getting a website and social media presence set up.

Photo of DeletedUser
7 17

Written by DeletedUser

A Virtual Incubator would connect students and young professionals to "intern" for entrepreneurs who require part-time legal, business, or design services. This way, many small businesses can share a web designer, lawyer, or other professional without the difficult steps of finding a consultant and paying consultant fees. Successful businesses may hire interns they work well with as they grow and develop, creating a win-win situation between entreupuener and employee. The incubator would provide important stepping stones from self-employment to owning a fully-fledged business with employees.

How will your concept support web entrepreneurship?

The Incubator would also provide a way to create and share resources. For example, a multilanguage picture dictionary could be developed that would include iconography for use on websites. Interested people could add definitions in their native language for the pictures, and this would be shared for free on the site. Another example may be a game to practice entrepreneurial skills and create a business mindset--something that would remind the user to check reports, record sales, prompt to update social media, and develop other business skills. In our prototype (as seen in image): a web entrepreneur in Italy discusses latest street fashion around the world and the 2012 Fall Collection with an industrial design student in Rochester, England.

What kinds of resources will be needed to get this concept off the ground and scale it?

Graphic designers pro-bono lawyers computer/web trainers partnership with universities/design schools/ business schools

Virtual Team:

Cornell Hackathon: Gabriela Leite-Soares Chularat Niratisayakul Chris Hayes Rachel Happen

7 comments

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Photo of Burak Kazaz

This is an excellent concept with skill-based digital networks. I am particularly interested in the "internship" concept. If caught on, this can become a new craze, and one that is much more meaningful than, say facebook. The concept of internship is new, and perhaps requires the international labor laws to be changed based on this very idea of helping each other across borders. A very refreshing concept that needs to be delved into in depth - congratulations!

Photo of Amy Bonsall

Lovely concept, guys. It seems like a nice way to get people involved with web start-ups in a small way, both exposing them to what it is like but also allowing them to really contribute.

I'm curious how you envision this getting started. Would it be a website that brings people together? What group of interns would you target first, for proof of concept?

Photo of Gabriela Leite-Soares

Hi Amy,
Thank you for your comment and questions. I'll answer your second question and my team can respond to your first question.

What group of interns would we target first for proof of concept?

When brainstorming for this part, we thought of design students.
There are many highly talented design students; however, not everyone will have opportunity to show their work due to some constraining factors including money and connection. We hope that these students are able to work together with web entrepreneurs to show their work.
Additionally, students from top design schools have a lot of opportunities to network and show their projects to curator and professionals from respective industry. This platform provides opportunity for talented students coming from smaller schools to show their projects and receive feedback from professionals including entrepreneurs from this field.

We also think of business and communication students whose expertise in marketing will help to get the ideas out there and to generate sale.

Photo of Rachel Happen

Hi Amy,

To answer your first question, a website sounds like a great place to get started! I think we envisioned it sort of like a virtual bulletin board where students could post resumes and portfolios and web entrepreneurs could select the people who were the best fit for their company.

After first contact, it would probably be easiest to just use email or Skype to communicate, instead of funneling communications through a specific website.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice one Cornell Hackers! Keep in mind that as collaborative conversations here play out – and your ideas evolve, that you can update your post by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right. Looking forward to seeing where things go!

I would also encourage you to think about mechanisms of trust you could build in to your concept. Think about how platforms like AirBnB, Kickstarter, etc have features which help folks figure out how trustworthy people posting stuff are. It's a key aspect for many sites which are connecting people who don't know each other non-virtually. You might also like to think about how a lot of people don't like sharing emails straight up – Flickr has a good work around for this.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Great concept! I was thinking of an internship exchange type program where Europeans on a "gap year" or after Uni could go on exchange to intern in another country. I really like your idea of a virtual internship, that solves a lot of logistical questions related to work exchange and international employment!

Photo of Tracy Brandenburg

Love the win-win scenario, as well as the concept of a picture dictionary!