CADE Intern Interviews

Posted Dec 9th, 2020

This year, the Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids launched its first virtual internship program – Conquer Accelerator Diversity in Entrepreneurship! Each intern collaborated with teams and shared their skills in fields like marketing, consulting, sales, and more. 

Meet the Interns:

Susan Kayuni

1. What have you learned about so far from working with the Conquer Accelerator startup?

To begin with, it was interesting at the same time overwhelming to be part of the Conquer Accelerator as I joined without fully understanding what my responsibilities were. However, I am fortunate enough to work with people who are patient and have the willingness to help me experience and learn. So far I have learned the importance of communication with the people I work with to achieve a goal. I have also learned to be flexible with my schedule since I have other academic commitments.

2. What are some of your goals for after the program?

It is my desire to make use of what I am learning wherever I will go with my career. If possible it would be an honor for me to be hired by FirstIgnite.

3. What has helped shape those goals for you?

One thing that has helped me shape my goals is that I have intentionally made it a priority for me to maintain an open mind, allowing myself to try new things.

4. What do you think the world of entrepreneurship needs right now?

Entrepreneurs are more needed now than ever! Everything is changing: customer demand and needs of the consumer. Even businesses that seemed relatively stable (not so much in need of innovation) are now desperately in need of it. For example, people will not want to travel like they used to, after experiencing the convenience of connecting virtually. People will not want to shop in person like they used to, after experiencing the convenience of shopping from home and having things delivered. How then will these industries adapt? Businesses have made short-term adjustments but may need to make long-term adjustments to strategically change the way they do things. This will require the "voice of the customer" to guide them. Entrepreneurs can help to quickly get this information and respond to it with new and "out of the box" ideas for how to move forward in this changing climate.

5. What are you most proud of?

First of all, I am proud to be part of Conquer Accelerator. Also, I am proud that through this program, I get to make use of my strengths as well as accept and improve in areas I am weak in.

 

 

Rummel Johnson

1. What have you learned about so far from working with the Conquer Accelerator startup?

I have learned a lot through this program, but one thing that stuck with me is the process that businesses have to go through in the early stages of starting. I found it very fascinating making my own pitch decks that would actually be used for investor meetings. 

2. What are some of your goals for after the program?

My goals after the program are to take all the things that I have learned to secure a job in medical device sales. 

3. What has helped shape those goals for you?

Being an intern for a medical device company has increased my desire to work in this field, especially since I was able to work on the financial side of things as well as sales. 

4. What do you think the world of entrepreneurship needs right now?

I think that the world of entrepreneurship needs more people who can bring a new view of doing things. I think as the world changes, people need to change as well. Bringing in young, motivated individuals can help shape the world of entrepreneurship. 

5. What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my motivation to learn and digest as much information as possible. 

 

 

Tariq Akeel

1. What have you learned so far from working with the Conquer Accelerator startups?

I’ve gained an understanding of the processes and steps that it takes for a company to transition from the product conception phase to market entry. I’ve also been exposed to the valuation and investment process that occurs during the initial stages of a startup venture. It has been an unbelievable opportunity to watch how the founders of my team create and execute strategies and constantly improve the company’s position along the way.

2. What are some of your goals for after the program?

My goals after the program are to pursue corporate law, hopefully in the area of mergers and acquisitions. After that, we’ll see where life takes me. 

3. What has helped shape those goals for you?

My father is a lawyer so he has helped open my eyes to the impact attorneys can have on their clients’ lives. On top of that, I have developed a passion for the intersection between business and law, so it is exciting to pursue a career where I can continue to develop both skillsets. 

4. What do you think the world of entrepreneurship needs right now?

The world of entrepreneurship needs creative, smart individuals who are willing to take risks to bring a vision into reality. At the moment, I think there’s a particularly strong need for innovations that will improve our medical health systems and protect our environment for a better tomorrow - all it takes is the right idea and team to get that underway. 

5. What are you most proud of? 

I am most proud of having the opportunity to go through life with my 4 brothers and watch how each one of us continues to develop on our life journeys. On a personal level, I am proud of the last 4 years I have spent pursuing my JD/MBA.

 

John Tran

1. What have you learned so far from working with the Conquer Accelerator startups?

I learned what it means to work in a business-to-business environment and how SaaS tools can help businesses grow while improving the cost of their operations.

2. What are some of your goals for after the program?

My goal is to serve as a consultant for startups and small businesses on customer discovery, service and production innovation, and research initiatives.

3. What has helped shape those goals for you?

The Conquer program has allowed me to apply the technical skills that I developed as a doctoral student to address blindspots within a business.

4. What do you think the world of entrepreneurship needs right now?

I think entrepreneurship needs to pivot from evangelist and focus on businesses that provide services and products built on the core ideas of integrity, accountability, and creativity.

5. What are you most proud of?

I am proud of the inroads I have made towards a career in research and innovation and how I have applied my training in plant biology to think creatively about businesses regardless of their market structure.

 

 

Dennis Johnson

1. What have you learned so far from working with the Conquer Accelerator startups?

I learned that there’s going to be a lot of trial and error when starting something new. What sets people apart are those who, instead of giving up when they fail, use it as a learning experience and keep pushing forward. All of these companies started somewhere and to see where they are now is inspiring.

2. What are some of your goals for after the program?

Graduate and get a job in marketing 

3. What has helped shape those goals for you?

Just realizing that work doesn’t have to be work. I’ve only been with Lawnbot for less than ten weeks and I find myself becoming passionate about the things I make and do for them. I enjoy seeing people interact with the things I’ve made for the social channels. It makes me want to push more and become better at what I do.

4. What do you think the world of entrepreneurship needs right now?

People who are willing to just do. Often times we see something or come up with an idea and our mind gives us a million reasons why we can’t do it. I admire everyone in this program because at some point they didn’t listen to those thoughts and decided to go for it. 

5. What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the experience I’ve gained. It confirmed that what I want to do for a career is actually something I’m interested in and capable of doing.