Interns Help Ohio Businesses Boost International Sales

More than 50 Ohio college students are preparing to focus on the international marketplace over the next eight months, and they will boost Ohio companies’ sales in the process.

Companies can apply now to have a highly motivated and knowledgeable intern join their staff during the summer of 2020. The Ohio Development Services Agency will reimburse companies half of the intern’s salary, up to $3,600.

Companies have found success through the Ohio Export Internship Program in the past. Bionix Development Corp. in Toledo, which develops, manufactures and markets innovative single-patient-use medical products, has participated in the program for multiple years.

“Our intern came to Bionix well-prepared,” said Brett Smith, director of market development at Bionix. “She was able to research, analyze and provide a well-developed plan for addressing specific European markets. She also fit our culture well.”

Companies looking to expand existing export initiatives or start a new one can get the help they need through the internships.

Since the internship program began in 2012, 274 students have worked with 176 Ohio companies to improve their international sales. The interns’ work has resulted in 315 new international markets, distributors or customers for the companies.

“The Export Internship Program is a great opportunity for all involved, an opportunity for the students to grow and learn in their field of study and a great opportunity for the businesses to grow in international markets,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Development Services Agency. “There’s great opportunity in international markets, and what that means is an expanding workforce within the state of Ohio.”

Fifty-four students will be part of the Ohio Export Internship Program for 2020 and will start the upcoming journey by taking export-focused coursework during the spring semester at one of four universities that are partners with the Development Services Agency.

Those universities are:

  • The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business.
  • Cleveland State University, Monte Ahuja College of Business.
  • Youngstown State University, Williamson College of Business.
  • University of Dayton, School of Business Administration.

Eleven of the students will travel from their home institutions to take the export course. Those universities are Ohio Wesleyan University, Shawnee State University, Denison University, Bowling Green State University, Ashland University, University of Akron and Baldwin Wallace University.

After completing the course in May, the students will be assigned to Ohio companies that apply to be a part of the program, and the students will work at the companies for 12 weeks from May into August 2020.

The Export Assistance Office at Development is closely involved throughout the program. Staff visits with students during the spring semester class and with the companies that apply. Those contacts help Development’s staff determine which intern will be a good fit for a particular company.

During the internships, Export Assistance Office staff continue to mentor the students throughout the summer.

The internships culminate in the annual Ohio Export Internship Program Showcase, where the students’ achievements are celebrated in a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse.

“I think the export internship program is very well run and managed,” said Chuck Ferrell, vice president of sales & marketing at Engineering Consultants Group Inc. in Akron. “ECG wants to thank the state of Ohio for these services and the Ohio Development Services Agency for their leadership and support.”

Company applications are being accepted now for on-site meetings that have begun and run through February 2020. The final deadline for companies to apply is Feb. 1, 2020.

For more information and to apply, visit