Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, just 2 years into his college education. This business that made him a millionaire by the age of 26 years. Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in his second year at Harvard. Steve Jobs conceptualized Apple Computers after dropping out of college ….. Back home Ritesh Agarwal, founder of Oyo Rooms –started his first venture Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd in college. A number of the leading entrepreneurs launched their start-ups in college days, and many of these had to drop out of their education to achieve what they planned. They had the entrepreneurial spirit, the innovative idea, but not a supportive ecosystem. They had to choose – to complete their education or work towards their dream
However today the times have changed. Now a budding entrepreneur doesn’t need to choose one over the other. Now is a great time to be a student who wants to start her own business while studying. Some interesting reasons why a student should start her own venture while she is still studying in a university.
Collaborative Environment – A successful start-ups are often backed by founders working together from diverse background to create radical innovations. A university offers an unmatched platform for students to interact, ideate and collaborate with students across different streams, which often results in the development of innovative business ideas /solutions.
Campus Resources – Universities are creating an extremely supportive ecosystem to encourage students who want to start their venture. In the current scenario, they are willing to help students with free infrastructure, in terms of space to operate from, wi-fi, electricity cost, etc. which dramatically reduces the fixed cost of running the start-up. More often than not, the universities are also connected to their alumni and venture capital funds, who are willing to give a window of opportunity to the budding entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas and generate funds
Additionally, in Indian, if an Atal Incubation Center (AIC) or Atal Innovation Community Center (AICC) has been created in the said educational institutions, the students also get innumerable other advantages including
Ø access to sectoral experts for mentoring
Ø support in business planning and development,
Ø seed funding from the University’s AIC or AICC on a case-to-case basis
Ø access to an ecosystem that increases the success rate of the start-up
Ø access to financial and tax consultants for regulatory compliances, IPR attorneys and such professionals
Captive Customer Base– Universities have a young, large population and offer a captive audience for any budding entrepreneurship to test market an innovative product or service. Herein the start-up doesn’t need to spend money to reach customers to validate their minimum viable product or service. Trials are fast, feedbacks are honest and the customers are forgiving. In addition to the above, the university campus offers a more accepting micro-market, wherein a start-up gets another chance.
Faculty Guidance – It is only a campus venture (a start-up incubated in the university) that has the advantage of getting guidance from professionals across multiple –functions. It is one place where faculty members with multiple skillsets are always available to guide the students across functions, whether it is creating a business plan or a low –cost marketing plan to launch the product. Niche industry experiences, multi-domain knowledge of faculty members is easily accessible to the students, putting them on a steep learning curve and guiding them till they are ready to move out on their own.
Young, energetic, enthusiastic interns – Start-ups need all hands on board, and yet they have limited paying power. At their university, student entrepreneurs get the chance to invite their peers to work as interns with them. This allows the peers to get valuable experience of working in a start-up, while the campus venture get interns for helping them.
A Win-Win Situation– University students normally have limited responsibilities during education, in terms of the need for a stable monthly income to support a family. Hence their risk is limited. If the start-up launched by them becomes successful, it gives them unmatched financial rewards and recognition. However, even in the failure of their start-up, they win. Launching their start-up gives them an unmatched advantage offering them valuable, holistic learnings and experience of managing a business. The practical experience gives them an edge during the campus placement process, wherein they are the preferred choice by most recruiters.