Richard Bottner, 23
The seed for Intern Bridge was planted after Richard Bottner, then majoring in human resources at Babson College, volunteered at a school conference for HR professionals in 2005. He was surprised to find that most were "clueless" about what students expected from internships. Bottner, who had himself endured a lackluster internship experience, saw a need to bridge the gap between companies and the student interns they recruit.
His business started as an independent study project: Bottner surveyed students at Babson about what they wanted from internships and then wrote a 10-page paper for academic credit. Realizing the data he'd collected might be useful to HR managers, he expanded the survey to include 35 New England schools and started querying companies. Bottner got responses from 7,000 students and 235 employers.
The survey is now nationwide. Intern Bridge uses the data in the survey to sell research, publications, Webinars, workshops, and consulting for companies that want to improve their internship programs. "What started out as this little survey is now the largest internship survey in the country," Bottner says. He expects revenue to hit $100,000 this year, most of which he plans to put toward internship improvement projects and research on unpaid internships.