Students refuse internship, create own firm

Raynor Denitzio

It’s a problem faced by many college students. Internships are a great way to build your résumé, but students are essentially a source of free labor to a company. Their ideas may make the company money, but they won’t see any of it. Most college students just accept it, hoping for a letter of recommendation and a connection for when they graduate.

Two students decided not to do this.

Tired after spending their summer as interns with marketing companies and seeing their ideas make money for other people, students David Filepp and Daniel Gemp decided to do something about it.

“I brought in $24,000 one summer and got paid $3,000,” said Filepp. “I feel like you work for a big company, and you’re kind of a slave to them.”

“Our motivation was to do this as well as [other marketing companies] would, and our ideas seem pretty valuable,” Gemp said.

Using their own funds, Gemp and Filepp started Dreamscape LLC, a marketing consultation firm specializing in mostly small businesses. As young college students, Gemp and Filepp decided they had nothing to lose.

Before getting started, Filepp and Gemp had to consult with lawyers and accountants about getting incorporated. Seemingly simple tasks like picking a name and designing a logo presented new challenges, especially for a marketing firm where image is so important. This, however, was the easy part.

“It’s not as hard as you think; getting incorporated, that’s the easy part,” said Filepp. “Once you’re incorporated, you have to start making money; that’s the hard part.”

Currently, Dreamscape Marketing offers a range of services for small businesses including planning and consulting, graphic design, web design, research and public relations.

Although skilled, their age does work against them in meetings with some businessmen.

“The initial meeting is intimidating,” said Filepp. “You’re meeting with older CEOs. They kind of look at you like ‘OK kid, what do you got?'”

Once people got past their age, however, companies decided to work with the young entrepreneurs behind Dreamscape. They currently represent a few clients in and around the Philadelphia area including Petro Plastics Company, Inc., The MediSpa at Advanced Laser Care and Cancun Lagoon Tanning.

Despite the risk they are taking, Gemp and Filepp feel now is really the time for them to try this.

“College is the best, if not only time to smart a small business,” said Gemp.

“If it all fails, we can always go home, find a job and do what everyone else does,” Filepp said. “Why not? If you think you could do it better, why not try?”

And for those of you who are entering the job market and looking to take a different route, Dreamscape offers you a chance. “We’re looking for a few good interns,” said Gemp.