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Are Small Businesses Worth Interning For?

Written by Angela Finding

As a prospective intern, it’s natural to feel drawn to large corporations, which tend to offer high-paying internships in glamorous sectors, with the potential for appealing full-time jobs when the internship is complete. Small businesses, on the other hand, aren’t as well known, oftentimes can’t afford to pay as much, and aren’t as exciting as their large counterparts for many interns.

So is it worth interning for a small business? Consider some of the benefits you can only see when interning for a small business.

Community Perks

Small businesses can be more heavily invested in their communities. Many are locally active, participating in the neighborhood and local economy, and can have a strong network of connections in the community. That gives you a major advantage in your professional future, and allows you to get to know your city and region better. It can be ideal if you intend to stay where you currently live.


Small business atmospheres can differ significantly from those of large businesses. They tend to be closer and more intimate, like a family rather than a machine. They also tend to have less formal rules and hierarchies, and are more flexible with requests. Some people prefer this, while others prefer the atmosphere and extensive resources of a large corporation, so consider your options carefully before proceeding.


Working with a small business usually means working one-on-one with some of the higher-level associates of the business (sometimes even the owners). That’s a valuable mentorship opportunity you might not get at a bigger firm.


Finally, interning at a small business could pave a different type of future for you. In a large business, you’ll likely start at the entry level and, if you are a successful employee, have many jobs of increasing responsibility before you make it to the C-suite later in your career.  In a small business, you could feasibly start in a position of higher responsibility and authority, since there are fewer roles and people in the company.

Small business internships may not be as sexy as their larger counterparts, but they offer a ton of advantages. Research some small businesses in your local area, and see what potential you can achieve.

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