Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
April 25, 2012 | Tom Ballard

Local entrepreneur pursuing an avenue for interns

Do you recall the last time you had one of those defining moments when an idea suddenly “clicked” in your mind?

David Rose of The In Group Partnership, LLC, certainly does as it relates to the idea for a new venture called “Intern Alley.” In a recent interview with, he talked about the idea that literally “clicked” last October and how his career influenced the idea.

Most people would consider Rose to be a serial entrepreneur. He started his first venture with his brother – a bait and tackle shop in Fayetteville, NC – while he was still in high school. Rose proudly says that the business is still going. Midway through an MBA degree, he stopped and started a kayak company.

Later, Rose helped start Dagger Canoe Company in Roane County and eventually became Operations Manager. He proudly says that the company was making more than 100 boats daily on a “made to order” basis when he and the other owners sold it in 2000.

Free of a daily job for the first time in years, Rose said that he “decided to ride the Internet wave.” This interest in technology led him to a 10-year career with IdleAire supervising a staff of software developers.

When he left IdleAire, Rose decided to take his technical skills and go into business for himself. He’s been working with several businesses, assisting with their start-up processes and helping select software solutions that are affordable yet solve their immediate needs.

Many of Rose’s clients include companies in the Fairview Technology Center. The services that he provides them are, for the most part, related to online marketing – implementing a foundation of services to help drive traffic to their websites.

He describes his approach as “teaching people how to build and monitor their online presence with these tools.”

The epiphany that Rose experienced last October came when he literally connected a series of “dots.”

  • He was working out of several client offices, but he frequently visited with clients at Fairview, which is a former elementary school. Rose thought, “It was built for teaching.”
  • He saw several empty rooms, one with cubicles that could be used by interns, and another that was vacant that could serve as a production room. Another vacant office at the front door could have been the Principal’s Office, Rose thought. Why not rent it and open an office from which he could “teach” interns?
  • Finally, just a few miles away is Pellissippi State Community College that has been a willing partner interested in giving students real world experience.

The dots that he connected resulted in the concept for “Intern Alley.” While Rose would readily admit that “we are completely in the model development phase,” he believes that he’s on to something. The idea is to offer opportunities for students at Pellissippi State and other institutions to develop skills in the technology service related field that will help them get good jobs after graduation.

“I don’t want to compete with marketing firms,” Rose says. “I want to support them with things they don’t want to do.” He characterizes those things as “repeatable services that effectively utilize students.”

“From a business model perspective, it is challenging to run a business and also supervise students,” Rose says in echoing the comments that his clients have said. Yet, he thinks that he can offer a unique learning opportunity for the students and also serve clients at an attractive price. One possibility is a “Startup package” of technology services for new businesses. Another is a package tailored to existing businesses to shore up their current online presence and perhaps take it to the next level.

As Rose said, he’s only exploring the idea, but he’s enough of a dreamer that he is already thinking about the future.

“If it works here, it can work elsewhere,” he says as he invokes the concept of franchising.


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