There are many benefits that can be gained from starting a business when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still a college student. As a student, you likely have the time and the flexibility to pursue something new. You have friends and classmates that are willing to provide help and act as your consumer base. And, of course, you can have the benefit of putting the experience on your resume and using it to stand out in your future job search.
But there is one substantial benefit of starting a business during college that often goes overlooked. While in college, you are a member of an academic institution that holds tremendous resources and that has an invested interest in seeing you succeed. These institutional resources can be incredibly helpful in the entrepreneurial process.
So if you are a college student looking to start your own business, here are a few such resources that you may want to keep in mind:
-Entrepreneurship programs. Not every school has a program dedicated towards business innovations among students, but if your college has one this is an obvious place to start. Such programs are often provided through business classes that a student can take and they offer feedback, guidance, and hands-on experience. Many even provide funding to student businesses that demonstrate strong potential.
-Professors. Even if you have never spoken with them or taken a class with them, there are likely multiple professors at your college that have knowledge and experience regarding entrepreneurship, start-up financing, or the area of your business interest. Seek out these professors during their office hours and see if theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d be willing to assist. More likely than not, they would be glad to help out.
-Loans. Institutional affiliation can often help students more easily obtain loans for a business venture. Sometimes these loans are provided directly through the college, while other times they may be more along the lines of student loans from private banks. Either way, the accessibility of financing is usually strengthened when one has ties to a college.
-Student newspaper. The school newspaper is a great place for a student business to start drumming up press. At almost every school and in every school newspaper, the prospect of a student business on campus will likely generate interest among the reporters and editors Ã¢â‚¬â€œ interest that can easily translate into a story. This story can then help the business increase exposure on campus, and, if the newspaper has an online version, it can also begin showing up in search results online.
These are just a few of the main ways that a student business can take advantage of a collegeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s institutional resources. While starting a business on campus often means putting your entrepreneurial ambitions ahead of your class work, this does not mean that the university cannot play a valuable role in helping to promote and grow your start-up.