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Client spotlight: Intern Avenue

An innovative brokerage service for interns promises to help companies attract the brightest candidates whilst making the selection process more efficient.

When Dupsy Abiola's sister graduated from university in 2010, the procedure for identifying and applying for internships was laborious and time consuming, as few internships appeared to be advertised openly. It was no surprise that many students had to rely upon parental contacts to track down appropriate internships.

Having qualified as a barrister, Dupsy was familiar with the Bar's pupillage portal which provided a centralised brokerage for applications. A system like this makes life easier for the applicant, by advertising all the vacancies in one place and by requiring just one application form. It also saves time for the barristers' chambers by filtering the relevant applications.

Conversations with the HR departments of a number of very large employers revealed that they were struggling with the sheer volume of unsolicited applications which they receive. With the objective of attracting the brightest and the best, there was no easy way for the HR department to filter a vast amount of speculative CVs.

Seeing clearly the opportunity to improve the situation for both applicants and employers, Dupsy knew that she had hit upon a successful business idea. Turning down the opportunity of partnership at the firm of solicitors where she worked, Dupsy left in September 2010 and has spent the last 18 months bringing the concept to life in the form of Intern Avenue.

The initial focus of business development was on securing access routes to the enormous student population. Registration by students is free and Dupsy has successfully achieved support from various student groups including the NUS.

Ros Miller of Keystone Law has advised on a number of legal issues as the business develops.

Central to achieving the efficient filtering system required by employers was the development of the web site (www.internavenue.com), which is currently in beta mode and close to launch. Ros Miller advised on the terms for the web site which need to protect the site's intellectual property. Data protection was also a key consideration, given that students would be submitting their personal information.

As Intern Avenue approached its first round of investment funding, Ros also advised on negotiating and drafting an investment agreement, revised articles of association and the associated issue of new shares in the company. On an on-going basis, Ros is supporting the company with corporate advice as it seeks second round funding and builds a team to develop this innovative site.

With the web site taking shape, more recently Dupsy and the team of 5 staff have been introducing the service to employers. They have received an enthusiastic response from many, including some leading technology companies and a number of the top financial institutions. Employers pay a subscription fee based upon their usage and feedback reveals that companies see a wide variety of different benefits.

All employers see this as a practical way of improving their commitment to diversity and equality. The largest organisations are particularly attracted by the filtering facility which will enable them to quickly identify the brightest and best candidates from amongst the thousands of applications received. Medium size companies, are also keen to attract high calibre candidates but often do not have adequate internal resource within the HR team to manage the selection process. The small companies, who may be interested in taking on an intern to assist with business growth are able to search directly for applicants from a wider audience who might not consider applying to them otherwise.

It seems like a win-win proposition for all concerned!

For further information, visit www.internavenue.com

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.

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