Five reasons why small and medium enterprises (SMEs) offer big opportunities.

Are you looking for an internship? While corporate giants might be a popular choice, opportunities at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may just be the best fit for you.

Five compelling reasons why small companies offer big opportunities:

1. Strong connections

In small companies, teams tend to be tight-knit, and you’ll often work closely with the business founder. This closeness fosters valuable relationships, both professionally and personally, providing you with a network that can support your career growth.

2. Diverse job roles

One major advantage of working for an SME is the opportunity to wear many hats. SMEs often have smaller teams, which means they’re always seeking out dynamic individuals to take on varied roles. This diversity allows you to enhance your professional development and gain experience in various areas, making it an ideal choice if you’re unsure about your career path.

3. Independent and agile working

At an SME, you’ll be expected to be adaptable and solve problems independently. This hands-on approach allows you to gain confidence and experience quickly. Being thrown into challenging situations can be a catalyst for your personal and professional growth.

4. Make your mark

In smaller businesses, your contributions are more noticeable, and you may find yourself making decisions that shape the company’s future. You’ll see your efforts in action and be a driving force behind the company’s acceleration. This early responsibility can be a powerful driver for career development.

5. Career progression

With a host of new skills and close interaction with your team and senior management, SMEs can expedite your career progression. Although the salary in SMEs might be lower than that of large corporations starting out, the practical experience and connections you acquire can fast-track your career. In an SME, your unique skills are both recognized and valued, potentially leading to the creation of a customized role. You could find yourself in a senior position sooner than you’d expect or even be equipped to start your own business.

The key takeaway is that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Small businesses can offer big opportunities.

How can I get an internship with an SME?

Our funded SME Internship Scheme enables you to gain quality, paid work experience from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, including charities, social enterprises and start-ups. 

SME Internship Scheme logo

You can:

  • or you can find your own internship and then ask the organisation to apply for funding.
    • This means you would approach an organisation to ask about potential internship opportunities without responding directly to an advert, letting them know they could employ you and this could be funded under the SME Internship Scheme.

For more information, read our SME Internship Scheme guide on mycareer.