Interns recruited to build startup

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

In a sleek, white-walled downtown Providence office, five young people gathered around a central conference table bang away on laptops trying to build an app that will bend the retail market. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Interns recruited to build startup

PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO
FROM THE GROUND UP: Décor Craft Inc. recently moved to a new Mathewson Street home, where owner Roni Kabessa has assembled a team of college interns to launch the Providence firm’s new spinoff company, Coexs. Pictured above, from left, are: intern Hanna Yang, Kabessa and intern Liana Flikier.

By Patrick Anderson
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 8/11/14

In a sleek, white-walled downtown Providence office, five young people gathered around a central conference table bang away on laptops trying to build an app that will bend the retail market.

It’s a scene out of startups’ stock footage, but with a twist.

The workspace is on the ground floor of Providence gift designer and distributor Décor Craft Inc.’s new Mathewson Street office building and the entrepreneurs are college interns.

DCI founder Roni Kabessa assembled the team, which started work in June, with the express purpose of transforming a raw, new business idea into a viable startup.

By the end of this month, the team hopes to present Kabessa with a functioning, beta version of their app and a detailed business plan before heading back to campus.

From there, Kabessa hopes to recruit a full-time professional team to take the fledgling startup, named Coexs, to market.

“I brought in five interns, hand selected with different skills, and gave them the space and the idea,” Kabessa said. “It is awesome. I couldn’t sleep; I was so excited about it.”

Kabessa said the idea of bringing in interns to launch a spinoff startup, instead of working on it within DCI itself, has become increasingly popular with modern companies and grows out of programs like IBM’s highly selective internships built around solving a specific problem.

Although the intern-fueled startup may be a common phenomenon in many parts of the country, it appears to be a novel concept in Rhode Island so far – even though harnessing the talent of local students has become a prime economic-development objective.

At Bridge.jobs, the recently created partnership to connect students looking for work experience with companies who could use them, the kind of internship Kabessa has started is rarely seen.

“The internships that we have on Bridge mostly fit the business model that an organization already uses,” said Adrian van Alphen, director of employer relations and internship development for the R.I. Student Loan Authority. “To bring in an entrepreneurial group of [interns] and work as a startup within an existing company might not work for every company, but we would certainly support the idea.”

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot early!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement