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MacNest Startup Applications Open

Is your early-stage startup looking for a summer intern?

The MacNest program from Macalester College has opened applications for its Summer internship session. MacNest is seeking early-stage startups to participate in the program. Read more about MacNest below or apply now. Applications close March 1.

What is the MacNest Program?

MacNest aims to provide students experience working with an early stage startup based in the Twin Cities. The MacNest Student Employment program during the summer does this by allowing students to earn their student employment award by working with a startup. Students can apply into the program with a startup already in mind, or apply seeking a position in a startup.

Due to precautions related to COVID-19, Macalester College, specifically the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, reserves the right to adjust the program as necessary if safety regulations or recommendations change. Students will be expected to do on-site internships with an in-person component. However, these positions may be required to transition to remote work if health and safety conditions change.

How does MacNest define an early stage startup?

  • Early stage means they have been in existence for 5 years or less.
  • Early stage companies include companies that are founder-led and self-funded or those that have raised capital and are seeking to expand. 
  • Early stage non-profits, NGOs or foundations, including organizations who are still founderled or those that are in the early stage of growth.
  • Individuals. In these cases, often the ideas are so early there is nothing yet formal but an individual working on an idea. These are fine opportunities for students as long as the quality of the opportunity is high.
  • NOTE: Large organizations who have been in operation for many years are NOT included in this program, for example: MPR, Medtronic, American Refugee Committee, The Bush Foundation, etc. That said, it is hard to adequately define every possible startup configuration so we welcome you to contact us with questions if you have an opportunity you would like to pursue.

Startup Selection Process

In the interest of building a diverse startup cohort and providing the best experiences for our students, the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation will prioritize applicants who show they can provide:

  • a substantial, meaningful, and challenging learning situation for the student.
  • an environment that allows the student to understand multiple facets of the organization, its operations, and the field at large. 
  • close attention and guidance to fully engage the student for the duration of the program. 
  • an experience that enriches the student’s learning about entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities.
  • a working location that is accessible from Macalester campus.

What is a quality student experience?

We’ve found that there are certain experiences that create great opportunities for both the organization and the student employee. 

  • Quality of experience - The host organization must provide a substantial, meaningful, and challenging learning situation for the student. While the student’s primary role may be focused, it must be situated in a broader context that allows the student to understand multiple facets of the organization, its operations, and the field at large. 
  • Commitment to the student’s experience - The host organization must agree to provide for the learning needs of the student throughout the term, including orientation, training, regular supervision, feedback, and support. Our students are highly capable of independent work, but there must be a balance that ensures they will be fully engaged with your organization.
  • Capacity and stability - The host organization must have sufficient human resources involved to ensure the student will get proper attention for the duration of the term. Everyone gets busy, but the student should be able to access resources throughout.
  • Experience of supervisor - The person supervising the student should have a greater level of knowledge and experience, or the capacity to access that specific expertise to ensure the student will have adequate guidance and resources to learn and complete assigned work. In addition, this person should be able to help enrich the student’s experience learning about entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities.

Additional Questions to Consider


  • Can you provide an orientation to your organization and the training necessary for the student to be successful in their role?
  • Can you meet with the student on a regular basis for supervision/feedback?
  • Can you provide broader exposure to your operation, the field, and profession to enhance the student’s development?
  • Can you provide the school with feedback on the student a couple of times during the employment time?

Experience working with students:

  • Have you had interns before? What have they done?
  • Can you envision a role/project for a student in your organization that will help you and interest/challenge a student?
  • What skill set are you looking for in a student? Do you have the resources to teach/guide the student in their work?
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