A student-led startup will help students network with employers and create online portfolios, allowing them to gain work experience while in school.
The startup, called Colanse, was founded by computer science sophomore Shalin Gadhavi, who said he hopes to help students connect with work opportunities ranging from internships to short-term projects through a website to get practical experience in their field before graduating. He said he hopes the website will launch in spring 2020.
“(Employers) think students can not do anything while they’re in college,” Gadhavi said. “But I think student knowledge is massive … if they learn something new in college, when they get out, they can have the best experience and work with the company they actually wanted to.”
Gadhavi said through the website, UT and Austin Community College students will create a profile that includes their school schedule and ratings from previous employers. He said employers will be able to look through profiles and hire students to fit their needs. Since students can choose their schedule, they will often work shorter shifts, which Gadhavi said will be helpful
“(College students are) more productive, especially when you choose certain hours in a day instead of hiring them for nine hours,” Gadhavi said. “If you (hire) them for only a few hours a day, they’re super productive.”
Kyra Fink, chief operating officer of Colanse, said the scheduling feature would be helpful to students who have a busy course load.
“A lot of students don’t have time for a consistent, part-time internship with their class schedules during normal working hours,” said Fink, a sociology and Spanish senior. “So they would be able to work on projects or do things on their own time or in free time they do have outside of class.”
Currently, Gadhavi said he is working with a team of 14 students to build the website. Computer science sophomore William Gross, the chief technology officer of Colanse, said working with other students to create a company has been a learning experience students cannot get in a classroom.
“There’s only so much you can learn within your classes that applies to this type of situation,” Gross said. “It’s all really new and exciting, and it can get challenging, but everything is worth the challenge, and that’s how you learn the most.”