Hiring an Intern for Your Small Business: Why an Internship Program Can Be a Win-Win

March 16, 2023


As a small business owner, you may be hesitant to bring on additional staff due to budget constraints. However, hiring an intern can be a cost-effective way to get the help you need while also providing valuable experience to a student or recent graduate. With the rise of virtual internships, it's now easier than ever to find and manage interns online. 

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of hiring a virtual intern, how to find the perfect learner for your business, and resources to help small businesses start their own internship programs.

Benefits of Virtual Internships

Virtual internships, also known as online or remote internships, allow interns to work from anywhere in the world, making it easier to find the right fit for your business. 

Virtual internships offer a range of benefits for both businesses and interns. They are cost-effective since the very nature of remote work eliminates the need for a physical workspace, significantly reducing overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and office supplies. Working remotely also allows interns to work on their own schedules, which can be beneficial for learners who need to balance work and school. 

Additionally, virtual internships offer access to a wider talent pool since you can find and work with interns from all over the world, giving you access to a wider range of skills and expertise. A 2019 study by OWL Labs has shown that remote workers are often more productive than those who work in an office setting, making virtual internships a great way to increase productivity. 

Lastly, virtual interns are often more tech-savvy than traditional interns, making them valuable assets in today's digital age.

How to Find an Intern for Your Business

Now that you understand the advantages of virtual internships, you may be wondering how to find the ideal learner for your small business. The following tips can help you find an intern for your company

Utilize online platforms like Riipen to connect with learners looking for real-world experience. With this platform, you can establish a profile for your business, advertise internship opportunities, and evaluate learner applications all in one place. 

Additionally, career centers at several colleges and universities can connect you with learners in your field of business. You can also promote internship opportunities on their job boards. Social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be useful tools for locating interns. Using hashtags like #internship or #virtualinternship will help you reach a larger audience. Lastly, attending job fairs will provide you with an opportunity to meet learners in person and showcase your business. 

The Perfect Learner for Your Business

When it comes to finding the perfect learner for your business, it's crucial to consider various factors that can influence their performance and contribution to your company. Firstly, you should assess the learner's skills and experience to ensure that they align with your business's goals and objectives. For example, if you run a marketing company, you’ll want learners with strong digital marketing skills, such as social media management, SEO, or content creation.

In addition to their technical skills, you should also consider the intern's personality and character traits. It's essential to look for learners who are enthusiastic about your industry and show a willingness to learn and grow. This not only enhances their motivation but also indicates their ability to adapt to the demands of your business.

Lastly, communication is an essential skill that should not be overlooked when selecting an intern. Ensure that the candidate is a good listener and communicator, as this can promote a positive and productive working relationship between your business and the intern.

It is essential to remember that an internship program is a two-way street, and both parties should benefit from the experience. Therefore, finding an intern who is a good fit for your business and will benefit from the learning opportunities and practical experience you offer is crucial. By considering these factors, you can find the ideal intern for your small business and create a successful internship program.

Resources for Small Businesses

Embarking on the journey of starting an internship program can feel like an overwhelming process. Nevertheless, several resources are accessible to help guide you through the process. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is an excellent starting point for American small business owners, offering an array of resources on how to establish an internship program for your small business. Their website provides valuable information on how to create an internship program, along with tips on how to comply with employment laws. Additionally, some state and local governments offer tax incentives for businesses that offer internships. Conducting research on what resources are available in your region can help you leverage these incentives and benefits for your business.

It is crucial to understand that the process of starting an internship program requires careful planning and consideration. You must establish clear expectations and guidelines for the intern, as well as ensure that their duties align with your company's goals. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of the resources available and conduct thorough research to ensure that your program meets your business needs and is in compliance with relevant regulations. By doing so, you will be able to create a successful internship program that provides value to both the intern and your small business.

Helping Your Small Business Grow

Hiring an intern can be a valuable investment in your small business. One way to help your small business grow is to provide your interns with meaningful work experience that aligns with their interests and career goals. This can motivate them to work harder and increase their chances of staying with your company in the long run. Additionally, be sure to provide regular feedback and guidance to help them improve their skills and learn more about your industry. By investing in your interns' growth, you're not only helping them achieve their goals, but you're also fostering a positive work environment and building a stronger team.

Another way to help your small business grow is to use your internship program to boost your marketing efforts. For example, you can showcase your interns' work on your website or social media channels to demonstrate your company's capabilities and attract potential customers. You can also use your interns' fresh perspectives and knowledge of social media to create engaging content and expand your online presence. By using your internship program to boost your marketing efforts, you can attract new customers and stand out from your competitors.

Finally, by providing internships, you can build relationships with local colleges and universities and attract future talent. This can help you establish a pipeline of talented individuals who are familiar with your company's culture and values. By building a strong relationship with local educational institutions, you can create opportunities for your business to collaborate on research projects, sponsor student clubs or events, and participate in career fairs. By doing so, you can establish your company as a desirable place to work and attract the best and brightest talent in your field.


In summary, initiating an internship program for your small business has been proven to be a valuable investment for both parties involved. As you contemplate this decision, bear in mind that selecting an intern who possesses the right attitude and aligns well with your company culture is crucial. Numerous studies and real-world experiences have shown that, when executed correctly, internships can bring about significant growth for your business while providing priceless learning opportunities for the intern. Don't hesitate to explore this powerful strategy and witness the tangible benefits it can deliver to your small business.

Whether you’re a startup, a solopreneur with ambitious plans, or a small business owner with a desire for growth, sign in or create your free Riipen employer account and access student talent from 430+ universities and colleges in Canada, US, UK, and Australia.

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About the author:

Jennifer Lussier is a bilingual Content Marketing Specialist based in Montreal, QC. With a multidisciplinary background and a desire to accomplish more for the betterment of society, she joined Riipen in 2019 as an Academic Account Manager and has since migrated to the marketing team as it is more closely aligned with her interests and expertise.