InternStar: Sulove Bothra
The founder of InternStar on applying a US model to a UK business
Company name: InternStar Website:www.internstar.com Founders: Sulove Bothra Age: 27 Based: London Staff numbers: 3+ Date started: June 2009
Tell us what your business does InternStar offers a service connecting quality interns to internship opportunities in small and medium-sized British businesses.
Where did the idea for your business come from? Over the last couple of decades, internships have become a powerful, if not necessary, resource for university students, young graduates and postgraduates in the US to acquire relevant work experience to their curriculum. InternStar’s aim is to make winners out of British businesses and students just in the way the US economy and job market remains competitive against a globalising world.
Have you always wanted to run your own business? I think a lot of entrepreneurs first discover a problem and then start a business to fix it. I don’t think the idea behind InternStar would have been compelling enough if I hadn’t myself experienced the value of career-launching internships.
What planning did you do before you started up? InternStar is based on a proven concept in the US, which has a more mature intern-internship market. We have thoroughly researched how internships can be effective in the US and hope to achieve something similar for the UK. We have sought quality legal and professional advice for the UK that confirms our approach and sets us on the right course to make our internships a huge success.
How did you raise the money? Funding has always been an issue for start-ups, so we are quite delighted to be self-sufficient for now.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them? The most important challenge that InternStar faces is to paint internships in the right light. With the flurry of bad press over businesses abusing ‘free labour’ in this economic downturn it’s hard to stand up and say that internships are a genuinely useful concept that work in any economic climate and that they are not exploitative.
Building a website for your business idea is easier than you might think. Our online tool ranks the top website builders that offer free trials.
How have you promoted your business? We have been directly marketing to businesses while bringing universities on board as affiliates to grow our talented pool of interns. Our initial feedback has been very encouraging. To further improve our visibility as a start-up, we have also recruited the help of a PR agency that is helping us communicate our key motivations.
What has your growth been like? Three months in and a number of successful internships are underway, we’re on track for our half year targets set out in our business plan.
What’s the impact on your home life been like?Finding a work-life balance is an interesting challenge; it is something that every entrepreneur is confronted with. I am always looking for new insights on how to manage my time.