My InNEVator experience as an intern

Woman stands in front of sign. My name is Frances Riekenberg, a student at the University of Nevada, Reno and a small business owner. I’m currently in my last semester for my bachelors in business with a minor in entrepreneurship. Together with my husband, we own and operate a local small business called Epik Weddings & Events. We help couples live out their love story by offering DJ services, photo booth rentals, photography and videography for a variety of celebrations. I’m passionate about bringing value to the lives of our customers which lead me to the entrepreneurship program at the university and eventually lead me to the InNEVator.

In the last three months I’ve had the privilege to intern for the Reno InNEVator. Through this internship, I’ve learned so much more about blockchain technology and its many applications throughout various sectors. I really enjoyed getting to know the cohort and their blockchain based businesses. Learning the business development aspect from the startup perspective was one of my favorite parts of this internship. During this time I’ve gained so much in valuable knowledge that I could implement in my own business.

Prior to this internship, my knowledge on blockchain technology was around cryptocurrency and Nevada issuing marriage licenses via blockchain. In a previous role I held in finance risk management, I can recall a meeting where my department discussed major fraud issues with cryptocurrency and blockchain. My initial exposure to blockchain was more around fear rather than an exciting opportunity, like this accelerator. The first two weeks of this internship was electrifying. I learned so much more about what blockchain could do and what these startups were doing to make their mark in that industry. This was a fantastic way for me to get more familiar with blockchain.

One of the things I was most excited about before the internship started was the entrepreneurial side of this experience. I feel like being a business owner helped me connect with the founders. We sat side-by-side as we learned so much from making things people want, to protecting intellectual property and raising capital. I would go home to my husband and we would discuss how we can implement my new learnings to our company. Seeing the work these startups have put into their companies has inspired me to be more creative and innovative in bringing value to my own customers.

This internship gave me the opportunity to work with such knowledgeable people like Crystal, Grace, and Jim. During meetings and workshops, I would soak in everything they had to say so I could learn from them and better understand how to support them throughout the program. If it wasn’t for the InNEVator, I wouldn’t have gotten to know the founders of REXS.IO, Artcryption, BuildingBloc Inc. and ChainStor. I love getting to know everyone’s perspective on business.

The time I spend as an intern for the InNEVator has been a fun learning experience. I’ve been able to witness the different ways blockchain technology can disrupt the current way of doing things with its transparency and efficiency. I’ve also gained valuable business information that will help with my own small business. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have had a chance to learn from an incredible group of people.