I graduated from UCF this past summer with a degree in marketing. Though I was an entrepreneur before I started at UCF, my time there really helped me realize the value being an entrepreneur in college. I decided to put together a list of my top 10 reasons why it’s great to be a college entrepreneur in the hopes that it will motivate and inspire students currently in college to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit and get their ventures rolling.
- Knowledgeable teachers to give advice
- Talented students to connect with
- Access to Tools and Facilities
- Teachers and Alumni are well connected
- Few major obligations
- Being able to immediately apply what you learn
- If your venture takes off you won’t need to search for a job
- Be your own boss
- Unbelievable learning experience
There are many teachers that are extremely experienced and willing to give a helping hand on your venture. Some of the teachers I’ve spoken with in the past also consult businesses on the side. If I wasn’t a student, to get the same insight I would have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As a student…Free
There are many students out there that are very skilled at what they do, whether it be in design, marketing, engineering, videography, etc. Many of these students you can find easily by asking a teacher or department head. These talented students are often looking for projects to work on for experience or some extra spending money. If you were to hire others just as skilled who were in the work force you would spend way more.
There are many places on most college campuses that can add value to your entrepreneurial endeavors. Some of which include: the library (great for market research), computer labs (often with expensive programs on them like Adobe CS3), Printing services (many times free for students) and more
If your teachers can’t help you themselves often times they are extremely connected to other professionals who can. The school also most likely has a network of alumni, some of which have probably experienced great success and may be interested in being a mentor or adviser to your venture.
I’ve participated in numerous business plan competitions and they are truly an awesome experience. For a list of competitions that I’ve won view my achievements page. These competitions are great for networking due to the fact that successful business professionals and entrepreneurs are usually the judges of the competition. Another great benefit of these competitions is that participating forces you to fine tune your pitch and business plan which is great for real world implementation. You also get great feedback from the judges and win some extra cash to grow your business. While in school my company won $18,500 ($12,000 + $5,000 + $1,500) in the course of two years through business plan competitions.
One of the best benefits of being a college entrepreneur is that most times you have few obligations like a family to feed or mortgage to pay. Often times students are living off of student loans and part-time jobs. This allows you more time to focus, between beers, on growing your venture.
Many students study to pass a test and if they are able to learn apply what they’ve learned in the future it’s an added bonus. When you have a venture while you’re in school you are more likely to listen and immediately apply what you learned in class. When you do this, your venture sees the benefits and the lesson is ingrained deeper into your mind for future recall.
The ultimate goal for going to school is to enable you to have the skills and knowledge to be able to get a good job. In today’s economy many students are stuck looking for jobs in their field once they graduate. By doing your venture while in school you have the potential to avoid this problem and be the one doing the hiring.
When you’re an entrepreneur you don’t have to answer to anybody but yourself. This can be a gift and a curse. If you have an idea for your venture to improve you don’t have to get permission from anyone you just go for it. I would however strongly recommend that you check with an adviser, mentor or team members before you do anything irrational just to bounce ideas off of them and get their feedback.
Even if your venture doesn’t take off and make you millions the experience and skills you learn along the way very well may. Growing your own venture teaches you way more than working in a mail room, a restaurant, or other menial job. When you do graduate college you’ll be equipped with far more skills and a wealth of knowledge that you can take with you for your personal ventures or a company that decides to hire you.
I encourage all of you whether you’re in college or not to pursue your entrepreneurial endeavors. The experiences I’ve been through have been extremely enriching and have opened up a lot of doors for me.