6 places to find unpaid interns in NYC for your business

NYC interns

As a NYC business owner you should be spending your time on the most important tasks to drive your business forward like sales, developing relationships, strategizing, product development, meeting with clients and so forth. Everything else should be delegated to someone else.

The challenge is that many new business owners are unable to hire staff members to delegate some of their work to because they have limited cash and resources to do so. What do you do in this case?

Hire unpaid interns to help grow your business 

Hiring low cost to unpaid interns is one solution. Interns can help you get some of the low level tasks crossed off your list every week, like, scheduling your social media posts, doing research, creating newsletters, setting up meetings, creating presentations, invoicing and more.

Are unpaid interns even legal in New York?  

As long as you meet the New York Department of Labor guidelines outlined here, it is legal.

Where can you find unpaid interns in NYC?

There are dozens of non-profit youth organizations in NYC that focus on helping young people develop the skills necessary to be more marketable in the workforce and many of them have programs where they pay young people (14-26 years old) to work at small businesses throughout the city to get relevant work experience.

There are several non-profit youth organizations that connect small businesses with unpaid interns in NYC. Below are 6 of them.

Reach out to some of these youth organizations to find out how you can hire an unpaid intern at your business.

We will continue to grow this list as we uncover more organizations in NYC that pay young people to intern at small businesses in NYC.

How long do most internship programs last?

Most internship programs are approx. 3 months, which means that on average you will have up to 12 weeks of support from an intern.

What will you be responsible for when hiring an unpaid intern?

Typically, non-profit youth organizations that provide unpaid interns to small businesses in NYC will ask you to:

  • Interview and select the interns that you want to have on your team.

  • Train your new intern on relevant business skills. The internship should consist of more than just making photocopies and answering the phone.

  • Record the number of hours that your intern works on your business each week.

  • Create a sign in sheet, for your intern to sign in daily and record their hours.

  • Provide feedback to both your intern and the youth organization on your interns performance.

What else should you do when hiring an intern

  • Have specific tasks that you want your intern to accomplish each week. Take some time out at the beginning or at the end of the week to outline specific goals and tasks that you want your intern to be responsible for.

  • Create a learning plan to train your intern on relevant skills, like using your business software (i.e. google docs, accounting, website), scheduling and social media.  

  • Provide your intern with regular feedback on their progress and on how they can improve. Be available to answer any questions in person or via email and text.

  • Provide your intern with all of the tools necessary in order to do their job.

  • And if they do a good job, write them a letter of recommendation for future employment and school.

If done correctly, hiring and working with unpaid interns in NYC will prove to be a win-win for both you and the intern.

LinkNYC offers NYC businesses free ads on its street kiosks


Have you seen the LinkNYC kiosks popping up all over the five boroughs over the last few years? You know, those big vertical stands on the sidewalks of the city that have replaced old school pay phones, where you can make phone calls, charge your cell phone and even stay informed about what’s happening around the city.  

Well, LinkNYC teamed up with the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to offer NYC small businesses FREE ads on their 55-inch computerized screens for up to one month via the LinkLocal program. With a plan to install 7,500 kiosks throughout NYC by 2020, this could mean major visibility and increased sales for your business.

Why is LinkNYC so generous to NYC entrepreneurs and small businesses?

LinkNYC has a social mission to support local businesses and to ensure that they are viable in their neighborhoods and throughout NYC. Thank You LInkNYC  :)

How do I apply for free ad space on the LinkNYC kiosks?

To apply to receive free ad space on the LInkNYC kiosks you just need to complete their online questionnaire here. The decision makers over at LinkNYC and the LinkLocal program do not have a strict criteria on how they choose businesses for the program, but they largely make decisions based on instinct according to Kate Blumm, Assistant Commissioner for Communications at the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Shoot your shot NYC entrepreneurs and business owners. Apply here.

Why is this a big deal for NYC entrepreneurs and businesses?  

If selected, tens of thousands of people could view your ad via the LinkNYC kiosks helping you to build brand awareness and increase your sales (fingers crossed). Because many smaller businesses cannot afford to advertise their businesses on media platforms like the LinkNYC kiosks, this program helps to level the playing field some.

BRIC offers entrepreneurs free equipment and space for podcasts, shows and more


We recently learned that BRIC, the organization that supports artists and media makers develop their work and reach new audiences, offers FREE space and equipment for Brooklyn entrepreneurs to produce their podcasts, shows and other media work.

If you have an idea for a podcast, show, video or another media project, BRIC is a great local resource that can support you with not only free space, equipment and airtime on their channel, but they also offer lots of low cost creative programs and workshops on everything from podcasting, video, audio, photography and more.

How do I sign up to use BRIC’s free space and equipment?

Check out their website and complete their application to get free access to their space and equipment here.

Squarespace and the NY Knicks are giving away $30,000 to NYC businesses


Who loves a good business plan competition? We do.

Our favorite website platform, Squarespace and our favorite basketball team (when they are winning), the NY Knicks are teaming up for the second year to give away $30,000 to four lucky small businesses in the NYC, tri-state area via the Make it Awards.

What else are they giving away?

Here is what the 4 winning businesses will win:

  1. A $30,000 grant  

  2. One-on-one mentorship with one of the judges from the Make it Awards

  3. Two tickets to one of the NY Knicks regular season home games.

  4. On-court recognition for being a winner at one of the NY Knicks games.

  5. Inclusion in one digital content piece recapping the winner’s “Make it Awards” experience

  6. A one-year subscription to Squarespace services.

  7. And more.

How will the judges decide who wins?

Like any business plan competition, you have to complete a application to enter. The Make it Awards judges will decide who wins the big prize based on their criteria. Here is what they are looking for.

  1. Business Presentation: 75%

  2. Originality of what you hope to get out of your business mentorship: 10%

  3. How your business will benefit the New York (or Tri-State) community: 10%

  4. Other unique details about your business: 5%

How do you apply?

You can learn more about the Make it Awards and apply to the grant opportunity by visiting their website here. The deadline to apply is December 14th, 2018, so get going.

As always, please share this opportunity with anyone that you think it can help.

Google is offering a Podcasting Accelerator Program for Minorities and Women


If you are a minority or women entrepreneur, startup or business owner in NYC and you want to start a podcast or you already have a podcast where you tell stories, inspire, educate and promote your business, Google wants to help you.

Based on the numbers, Google has realized that there is a lack of diverse voices in the podcasting industry and Google wants to do something about it. They are teaming up with PXR to launch the Google Podcasts creator program.

What does the Google podcasting program include?

Here is what selected teams in the program will receive :

  • Seed funding, up to $40,000

  • Intensive 20-week training program.

  • Mentorship and skill building on editorial content, marketing, promoting, budgeting, visual branding and best social media practices in starting up a podcast.

  • Submission of willing shows to well-known third party distributors such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, NPR One, PRX Remix, Spotify and RadioPublic.

How do you apply?

You can learn more about the google podcast creator program and apply on their website here. The deadline to apply for the first cohort is December 2nd, 2018. Don’t forget to share this with anyone that you think it can help.

Why is Podcasting a big deal for NYC entrepreneurs?

In case you were wondering why podcasting is such a big deal and why you might want to integrate it into your business, check out some of the stats on podcasting below.


The Brooklyn Navy Yard Provides Free Retail Space For NYC Food Entrepreneurs

The Brooklyn-Navy-Yard-Free-Retail-Space-To-NYC-Food-Entrepreneurs-NYCHA

NYC food entrepreneurs, the Brooklyn Navy Yard teamed up with NYCHA to provide a free Kiosk called Local Bites on the first floor at Building 77 for NYC food entrepreneurs who are graduates of the Food Business Pathways program.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s 60,000-square-foot manufacturing hub is the home of local food and beverage businesses including Russ & Daughters, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Grandchamps, Jalapa Jar, Pizza Yard, Rustik Tavern, The Brooklyn Greenery, and now NYCHA food entrepreneurs.

How does the free food Kiosk program work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard?

Business owners who graduate from the Food Business Pathways program rotate in and out of the kiosk every two months, giving new business owners the opportunity to test their product, generate revenue, make connections and grow their businesses.

What is the Food Business Pathways Program?

the Food Business Pathway program is 12-week course for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents who want to start a food based business. The program provides guidance and support on how to start a food-based business, including, connections to kitchen incubators, guidance on licensing and more. You can learn more here

Why is this a big deal for NYC entrepreneurs?

The kiosk provides new food entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow their businesses, by testing and refining their product, generating revenue, and making connections that may not have been possible without the program. We all know how expensive NYC commercial rent is and this is a great opportunity to pay $0 in rent fees in NYC.

Check out the food business pathways program

Check out the food business pathways program or give them a call at 718-289-8100. Don’t forget to spread the word if you think this can help someone.

Free coworking space for NYC freelancers


Good news NYC freelancers, you now have a free dedicated coworking space just for you in the city. The city of New York teamed up with the Freelancers Union and the Independent Filmmakers Project (IFP) to create the freelancers Hub at the Made in NY Media Center, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

How does the freelancers hub support NYC freelancers?

The freelancer Hub provides NYC freelancers with:

  • A free coworking space (This is very exciting)

  • Education and networking events and programming for freelancers

  • Free legal assistance.

  • And more.

Why is the freelancers hub a big deal for NYC freelancers?

The Freelancers Hub was created to support the 400,000+ freelancers who work and live in NYC. Freelancers face many challenges from shady working conditions, getting fair and on-time pay, and access to health insurance. On average freelancers face non-payment or late payment of approximately $6,000 each year. This represents approximately 10 percent of the average freelancer’s income of $65,431, according to the freelancer’s and consultant’s web publication, Nation1099.

We are happy to learn that this space exists to help freelancers in NYC upskill, network and lower their costs.

Check out the freelance hub

Check out the freelancers hub at 30 John Street, Brooklyn, NY or contact them via email at info@freelancershub.nyc Don’t forget to spread the word, if you think this can help someone.

Kiva NYC offers entrepreneurs interest free loans


If you are a New York City entrepreneur, startup or business owner who cannot raise money from traditional sources like banks and investors because you have a poor credit score, a short business operating history, or you don’t have a network of investors in your back pocket, what do you do to raise money for your business in NYC?

One of the popular ways that has emerged over the last 10 years for NYC entrepreneurs, startups and businesses owners to raise money for their businesses is crowdfunding, but more specifically the crowdfunding platform, Kiva.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a debt crowdfunding platform that provides interest free loans up to $10,000 for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners around the world. You heard me right, interest FREE.

Like any crowdfunding platform, business owners have to market and raise their funding goals. On kiva, business owners raise/borrow money from their audience (i.e. family, friends, colleagues, associates) and the global Kiva community of lenders (over 1.5M) that they then pay back over 6-36 months with 0% interest. Yes - you have to pay the loan back.

For example, if you needed $5,000 to help you market your business (i.e. website built out, Facebook ads, social media campaign), you could raise $25 from 200 people, $50 from 100 people, $100 from 50 people or a combination of different ways to reach your funding goal and carry out your marketing plan. You would then pay the $5,000 back over 6-36 months.

Kiva’s interest free loans also have no loan fees and they do not require a minimum credit score, collateral, or a minimum time for business operations to qualify for a loan.

Kiva’s love for NYC

With over 200,000 small businesses in NYC, our city is one of Kiva’s largest markets and they are doing everything they can to make sure that loans get in the hands of NYC entrepreneurs and business owners that need it the most.

For example, Kiva has developed several partnerships with organizations like the MetLife Foundation, Deutsche Bank, and the Moody’s foundation who gives Kiva money to be used to match dollar-for-dollar any money that NYC entrepreneurs, startups and business owners raise on Kiva. This means that if you are a NYC entrepreneur and you raise $2,000 from friends and family on Kiva, one of Kiva’s partners will match that $2,000 you raised, bringing your total interest free loan amount to $4,000.

Kiva has also developed a partnership with the City of New York to support women entrepreneurs in NYC. Through the WE Fund Crowd program, NYC women entrepreneurs can apply for a loan on Kiva going up to $10,000 and the City of New York will lend them the first 10% of their funding goal, up to $1,000.

This is a big deal, I know.

So, how do you get started on Kiva? Check out our 10 steps for getting started on Kiva here.

Ready to start raising money for your business on Kiva?

Let us help you. Sign up for a progress hour