Five Lessons from five Interns: Building a Startup
Updated: Aug 28
Plentina kicked-off its Marketing and Product Summer Cohort on June 30 with five starry-eyed interns: Ericka, Franco, Robin, Carlos and Aby. The interns were put in-charge of three streams: Brand, Product and Company. Robin led the Brand stream, Franco and Ericka were co-leads in the Product stream and Carlos and Aby for the Company stream.
Six weeks into the internship, they shared learnings and experiences on what it is like to build a company's foundation:
Mentors enable your growth
"As someone who would want to have her own business in the future, this was the best opportunity for me to get a better grasp of the realities of entrepreneurship and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to start and scale up a business."
Compared to established corporations, I believe that start-ups offer a lot more room for growth as we are given more responsibilities and are constantly challenged to keep up with the fast-paced, action-driven work environment. Additionally, working in a start-up usually means working closely with the founders of the company’s core team. As someone who would want to have her own business in the future, this was the best opportunity for me to get a better grasp of the realities of entrepreneurship and gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to start and scale up a business.
I believe that Plentina’s co-founder, Mr. Earl Valencia, and general manager, Mr. Alexander Capulong, both played key roles in guiding us, interns. They were both very welcoming and valued all our contributions and ideas. Having this open and trusting work environment encouraged us to experiment with new ideas and to just learn from one another
Responsibilities hone your skills
"I believe Plentina really gave me a lot of opportunities for growth and how start-ups work intensively."
We were given a lot of responsibilities with Plentina’s branding and their product’s marketing. The interns were grouped into different streams according to a specific function in the company, having certain interns lead each stream. We’d have weekly meetings for each stream where we’d present our deliverables and check-up sessions with the entire team to see our progress. Though it seemed difficult, the co-founder, Mr. Earl Valencia, ensured that we’d be guided all throughout the internship program. I believe Plentina really gave me a lot of opportunities for growth and how start-ups work intensively.
Your attitude towards work and colleagues matters
"I learned that kindness and success can exist in a working space"
I learned multiple things about starting a business, primarily teamwork. Valuing the team's opinions, regardless of hierarchy, is one of the best ones I’ve learned. My insights as an intern were given the same attention and value as other people in the team. I also learned that, as an entrepreneur, you must be ready to juggle multiple responsibilities. Because Plentina is still in its grassroots, Sir Earl and Kevin are tasked to juggle multiple responsibilities. We, interns, were tasked to deliver multiple outputs concerning several departments. This just goes to show the extraordinary ability that is required from those working in a start-up. But, most importantly, I learned that kindness and success can exist in a working space
Everyone complements each other
"The most impactful thing that I was able to realize is that everyone is different, and it's this difference that makes us complement one another well."
With the time I’ve spent with the interns throughout the program, I have nothing but love and appreciation towards them. The most impactful thing that I was able to realize is that everyone is different, and it's this difference that makes us complement one another well. An example to this is that we have interns who take more initiative, while others are better exchanging thoughts and ideas. Despite being very quiet, everyone’s gradually opening up through our weekly meetings and team-building initiatives. Moreover, each intern has been very responsive and considerate with one another, trying to align all deliverables to create one cohesive output. I think all of us will keep this internship program as a fulfilling experience where we make new friendships that can last as we continue to progress into our respective careers.
Passion and purpose is important
"I am thrilled to design something that generates a type of culture in the corporate space"
Unlike the other interns, I am already three years into my career. After a couple of major research projects, a teaching and media job, I felt being back to square one. Figuring out what I want to do for a career and finding my passion. The Plentina internship couldn't have come in a better time. It has given me a purpose after a few months. What I love about this experience is how much involved we are in building the company, this means that we were given a lot of responsibilities. It is tiring but fulfilling at the same time.
I am also part of the HR stream for Operations. One of my tasks is to create an employee handbook. The handbook may look insignificant but it is actually the bedrock of company culture. As a Social Anthropology graduate, I am thrilled to design something that generates a type of culture in the corporate space. This is something that I have never done before but I am grateful to have mentors to guide me along the process.