Student Entrepreneurs: Getting On-Campus Help for College Startups
By Danielle Sandahl
“Entrepreneurs are not normal. Normal follows, entrepreneurs lead.”
As a Babson student, I’ve constantly been told that an entrepreneur is not just someone who starts a business, but rather that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking. While this definition is a great motivator for students, those who are brave enough to take the leap of faith and start a business are doing much more than just thinking. The action-oriented risk takers are taking ownership of their future and creating a job for themselves. In a questionable job market, this can be hugely valuable.
Want to start your own business in college? Take advantage of your college's startup incubators!
If you’re at the point where you have a business idea and would like some help in getting it started, some colleges offer an incubator or venture program. At Babson College, the Venture Accelerator Program works with a student through the exploration, pursuit and launch steps to starting a business. They offer semi-private workspace (at no charge) and a wealth of resources to assist the students in their success.
The Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. has a similar program through their E. J. Ourso College of Business. The LBTC Student Incubator gives students meeting space, facilities, furniture and mentors to help grow their business into a viable career option upon graduation.
While not all colleges have an incubator or hatchery program, many do have a ton of great resources available. Harvard University recently launched its’ “i-Lab” in Allston, Mass. The i-Lab, more formally known as the Harvard Innovation Lab, allows students from all areas of the University to come together to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. During the i-Lab’s launch in mid-November, they had a “Startup Weekend Scramble” that brought together 125 students from more than eight of Harvard’s schools and several other Boston area colleges including MIT and Emerson College.
So if you’re interested in truly blazing your own trail, look into what these and other schools can offer you to help you grow your business idea. You never know, you just end up being the next Mark Zuckerberg (unless you actually want to finish your degree).
Does your college have programs to help out students who want to start their own businesses? Feel free to share in the comments!
Photo: Henrik Moltke