29 September 2020
Spicy Stuff: A Virtual Summer Internship with Yūgō Spice
This summer Santander Universities and the King's Business School supported the Entrepreneurship Institute by providing 11 students the opportunity to intern in the King's20 startup ventures. We spoke to Anna Nguyen (BSc Business Management) about her internship with Yūgō Spice.
Over the summer, I worked for one of the Entrepreneurship Institute's King's20 Accelerator ventures, Yūgō Spice, which sells fusion sauces meant to make cooking easier. During the internship my tasks included developing the marketing strategy, running social media, conducting research on the sauce market, helping interview candidates for the Head of Marketing position, searching for and contacting potential brands for partnerships, creating social media content and doing field work in Whole Foods which would be my biggest achievement.
As part of it, I went to three Whole Foods branches and spoke to the managers about customer preferences in the sauce category and how to increase our rate of sale. Talking to the managers gave me useful information about our competitors, product performance as well as what could be improved about the packaging. Through this experience I also strengthened my interpersonal skills and it felt rewarding to have personally contributed to the venture’s activities. Another great achievement would be when I made desserts for the picnic with the Entrepreneurship Institute staff and they all loved them!
The internship was very engaging and gave a realistic and insightful view of what it’s like to work for startups. Not only did I get to experience the fast-paced nature of working for startups, I also gained invaluable skills of operating and scaling your venture in the remote setting and received immense support from the Entrepreneurship Institute and other interns throughout the whole internship.
While being able to schedule your own time sounds appealing, it was challenging to set boundaries between work and personal life, especially when you work for a startup. During my first week of the internship, I was working in small increments throughout the day from 9am to 11pm. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but most of the time I felt quite tired by the end of the day.
Setting a schedule that worked personally for me has helped a lot. I also received a lot of support from the Institute and other interns which is what I enjoyed the most about this virtual internship. Bonding over virtual breaks and weekly meetings with other interns and the wider Institute staff created a sense of community despite distance and time differences. The last Silent Disco Party over Zoom was a particular blast, we got to be our own DJs and sing ABBA from the comfort of our own sofas!
Through this internship I have become more independent and confident in my abilities. Working for a startup requires juggling several responsibilities at the same time and being flexible and I learnt how to make quick decisions, adapt to plan changes and act on them. Because it was a virtual internship I also improved my communication skills in the remote setting by actively listening to and regularly talking to my colleagues.
I have definitely been more inspired to become an entrepreneur! From Rest Space who shifted their model from B2C to B2B to Yūgō Spice focusing on online channels, I haven’t been more inspired than now by how quickly the ventures transformed their business models and shifted operations online.
Being an entrepreneur is not as fancy as people might think but it feels rewarding to see how your small idea can turn into a successful business that brings value to so many people around you. Working with such a hard-working, determined, and intelligent entrepreneur as Renad has been very inspirational and it has pushed me to be more daring and relentless in my own endeavours.