In summer 2018, four Lehigh students went to India for eight weeks to work for start-ups in New Delhi as part of the new Global Entrepreneurship Internship.

The program is a partnership among the Iacocca International Internship Program; Lehigh@NasdaqCenter, an academic-in-residence collaboration between Lehigh University and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco, a San Francisco based non-profit that provides education, mentorship and resources to entrepreneurs; and the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation, which advances entrepreneurial education for the entire Lehigh community.

“These three organizations share a deep commitment to educating, connecting and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurial and global leaders,” says Samantha Dewalt, managing director of Lehigh@NasdaqCenter (L@NC). “We created the program to provide a unique learning experience that immerses Lehigh students in a rich startup ecosystem, exposes them to entrepreneurial processes in another culture, and provides a global platform for comparative analysis of entrepreneurship education and practice.”

The program began with a three-day workshop at L@NC in San Francisco, where the students learned about working in India, their host companies and similarities and differences between entrepreneurship in the U.S. and in India. They then left to spend eight weeks living and working in New Delhi.

  • Angelica Benares ’20, majoring in business information systems, work at Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) India and the National Institution for Transforming India, or NITI Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank, on a project to develop their Women Entrepreneurship Platform.
  • Austin Margulies ’20, a finance major, worked with GEN India’s managing director to plan events that will help engage stakeholders in India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Cory Poe ’19, also a finance major, helped GEN India get sponsors for their annual Creative Business Cup competition, an initiative to empower entrepreneurs and help them grow their business ideas.
  • Allie Starer, who graduated in May 2018 with a master’s degree in management, was a brand strategy analyst for CoworkIn, a coworking start-up that provides community workspace to entrepreneurs and small businesses around Delhi.

While in India, the interns also served as Entrepreneurs in Residence at the Ashoka University Centre for Entrepreneurship. Ashoka is a multidisciplinary liberal arts university in Hyderabad that, like Lehigh, emphasizes creative inquiry and entrepreneurial thinking. The two institutions established a partnership in 2017.

“This program was the capstone experience to my Lehigh education,” says Starer. “It was a real-world experience that put into practice so much that I had learned on Lehigh’s campus and at the Lehigh@Nasdaq Center. Interacting with Indian entrepreneurs, colleagues and clients and learning about office etiquette in another culture gave me a real, hands-on business experience. I learned a tremendous amount about others but also about myself.”

In summer 2019, the Global Entrepreneurship Internship will again send students to India to work in start-ups sourced through L@NC’s network, as well as an additional four students to live and work in London.

“Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking require global understanding, and therefore should be taught in a global context,” says Dewalt. “We believe that the skillsets and mindsets necessary for creating real impact in the world can be learned through the lens of global entrepreneurship. Furthermore, global experiences for students in general promote the development of skills important to entrepreneurial thinking and acting, such as intercultural sensitivity, confidence, and self-efficacy.”

Dewalt says that India is a particularly interesting place to learn about entrepreneurship because the entrepreneurial ecosystem is still under development. The students can help drive the conversation around developing that ecosystem and making India attractive to startups.

In addition to the Global Entrepreneurship Internship, students participated in several other international internships with a focus on entrepreneurial skills this summer. Highlights include:

  • Four students did research in the biotechnology field through a partnership with Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, led by Lori Herz, professor of practice in bioengineering.
  • Six students worked with the University Industry Innovation Network (UIIN) in the Netherlands, learning about how universities partner with industry to facilitate knowledge sharing and technology transfer in a group internship led by Cameron McCoy, Lehigh’s assistant vice president of economic engagement.
  • A group of students traveled to Israel with the TAMID Group, an organization that works on college campuses in the U.S. and around the world to send teams of student consultants to help businesses in Israel.