Donor Funding Allows Expansion of HATCH Internship Program

EngPhysicsThe internship program in the HATCH startup accelerator in ICICS has caught the eye of donors. Their generous support helps to extend the highly successful program from the summer term to throughout the year, giving an important leg-up to participating students as they enter the job market.

At first blush, business and technology-focused students may not seem to have much in common. But put them together in pursuit of a common goal and they realize they have a lot to learn from one another. This sort of cross-fertilization of knowledge happens every day in the HATCH internship program, and is the major takeaway for most participants—and often one or more job offers from HATCH ventures.

The four-month program brings together students from the Sauder School of Business and technology-focused students from Engineering and Computer Science to tackle projects presented by HATCH companies. Sauder students develop business plans and financial models, while tech interns refine and test product prototypes in the HATCH makerspace. Interns select two or more projects to work on and consult with one another to understand, for example, the impact of product development timelines on product pricing. Milestones set by ventures and weekly meetings with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EiRs) from entrepreneurship@UBC (e@UBC) keep the interns on track. The EiRs also offer professional development lunch-and-learn sessions covering topics such as business development, communication, investing, and more. Interns can work alone or in pairs.

Finding the Right Intern

The internship program is only a good as its students, and HATCH has mechanisms in place to make sure they recruit the best. A dedicated human resources expert from e@UBC draws on an extensive network to locate and interview candidates, along with the ICICS Administrator, and makes hiring recommendations. This selective screening process has been highly successful in matching intern/staff recruits with venture needs.

Funding the Program

In addition to the donor funding, the internship program receives funding from the Faculty of Applied Science and e@UBC, as well as the Government of Canada’s Career-Ready Program. Since the program covers 75% of an intern’s salary, the UBC and donor funding goes much further, allowing many more students and ventures to benefit from internships. Mitacs also provides funding.

Following their first internship, most interns remained involved with the ventures, since they found the experience so rewarding. They especially liked the perspective gained from working with students from other disciplines, and for two or more companies.  HATCH ventures were happy too, and offered jobs to a majority of the Summer 2020 cohort.

Summer 2020 Intern Testimonials

New Opportunities/Acquired Skills:

  • “This internship has given me the opportunity to share my ideas and have a real impact on what is going on in a venture. I think that this type of environment has allowed me to take more initiative in many ways since the teams are smaller than those of larger companies.”
  • “The most important skills I acquired are the communication and time management skills needed to work in a startup capacity, as well as being more flexible and adaptable to a more fluid and changing role. Also, the technical skills I picked up are very relevant to most current tech startups.”

Preparation for Employment:

  • “I received massive exposure to different technologies since I worked with two different ventures, which will make me much more employable.”
  • “I learned and used technology that is heavily used in the industry (full stack development, data pre-processing, machine learning). Having expertise in those tech stacks, along with having professional work experience, helped me get my current job.”

Most Positive Outcome:

  • “The most positive outcome from this program is that I got to be exposed to a startup environment. I learned that I really like it because there are a lot of moving parts, growth and fun!”

Understanding of Entrepreneurship:

  • “I didn’t realize just how much UBC offers for startups to get off the ground through courses and programs like HATCH. Taking the first step to being an entrepreneur seems very intimidating and it’s nice to know that UBC offers loads of help for the beginning stages.”

Most Enjoyed Aspect:

  • “Being able to work with two ventures and have a super diverse experience! Also, being able to work with such amazing people.”

For more information on the HATCH internship program, please contact Fatima Damji, ICICS Administrator, at