The Entrepreneurship Co-op
May 29, 2020
A co-op, which is a term short for cooperative education, is a program employed throughout Drexel University to give students the opportunity to take what they’ve learned from the classroom and apply it to a real-world experience. While on Co-op, students have the chance to work full-time while their academic studies are put on pause. Most people think an internship is the same as a co-op experience, but there are many factors that set them apart from one another.
Usually, work for multiple terms (3-6 months)
Terms alternate with school quarters
Includes unpaid, part-time, and full-time paid positions
Required for academic credit and are a part of students transcript for graduation
Usually one summer or one semester
Usually worked as a part-time job
Not always required for graduation
While both Co-ops and internships give students the ability to get a glimpse of what work after graduation can look like, there is one experience that stands out from the rest, the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship’s co-op experience.
The Entrepreneurship Co-op is unique, it gives students who already have an established or ongoing business the opportunity to take six months to grow their business. Students accepted to the program will work with an established entrepreneur or executive, working as their mentor, they will receive $15,000 in funding and a dedicated workspace in the Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship. The opportunity isn’t just reserved for students enrolled in the entrepreneurship school either, it’s a university-wide Co-op. While the application process is competitive, the benefits for a growing business are unparalleled.
We had the opportunity to review the experience with a current student, Harshdeep Bhathal, a mechanical engineering student at Drexel University. Harshdeep comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather ran a trucking business in India and his dad brought the trucking business to the USA. Harshdeep has been working alongside his father since the 8th grade - having the opportunity to be accepted to the entrepreneurship co-op will give him the ability to add to his father's business and get the best resources to help him do so. When speaking to Harshdeep, he said, “ I’d like to highlight the number of resources that are there for young entrepreneurs, the school will really help you turn your idea into a functioning business”. Harshdeep plans to add an on-demand tire service, which is what he’s using the co-op experience to work on. Eventually, he has plans to add full-service trucking stations to bring discount prices with high-quality products. If you’re unsure whether this opportunity is right for you, Bhathal says, “the school will give you $15,000 to invest in your idea, it’s super helpful because I can actually hire people which had never occurred to me since I’ve never had an actual office. Because of the school, I now have the potential to grow my company to the next level, I can really focus my expertise on growing the business”. Although Covid-19 has had an effect on his plans, Harshdeep has been able to get advice from his assigned mentor, Chuck Sacco, the Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Baiada Institute For Entrepreneurship and use his funding to better market his business.
With uncertainty from the pandemic, many small businesses have been forced to pivot or close completely. Starting a business is definitely a challenge in today’s current climate - while things slowly return to normal small businesses definitely have a long road ahead. The Entrepreneurship co-op has been able to help so many Drexel entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. If you’re interested in getting involved, the co-op application deadlines are open until June 17! Take this unique opportunity and accelerate your growth with funding, mentorship and a dedicated workspace!