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How can college students become successful entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs below 18

College Students As Successful Entrepreneurs: The Changing Times

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WHAT IS THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR?

An individual with work experience of 10+ years, “No”.

An individual over the age of 18, “No”.

So what is it that makes an entrepreneur stand out from the rest?

Well, it is an ability to:

  • observe when others are cribbing.
  • give direction to one’s passion.
  • have a vision that seems invisible to others.

But are these factors good enough to build a sustainable startup? Most probably not. An organization is a blend of various functions and it is infeasible for a neophyte to look after all the things. That’s where Startup Incubators are playing a vital role in shaping new firms led by young minds.

Gone are the days when a student was confined by narrow career opportunities. Today’s youth believe in creating opportunities for themselves.  Furthermore, universities are serving as a catalyst to foster entrepreneurship culture among students. Let’s have a look at how students can give direction to their passion and dive into their entrepreneurial journey.

HOW YOU BEING A STUDENT CAN BECOME THE NEXT SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR?

While for some, college is meant for hanging out with friends, for others it is the most ideal time to experiment. That’s why many students are taking the path of entrepreneurship while still pursuing a degree. Nowadays, internet is bombarded with tones of information as of how to get started with a new venture. Still, many students are not able to create viable start-ups. Hence, below are some essentials that every student must consider before kicking off their venture:

1. FRAME A STRONG BUSINESS PLAN

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Like they say, everything happens two times. First in the mind, and then in reality. Likewise, to give life to your idea, you need to put it in a legitimate form. It will give a blueprint to your venture. Furthermore, it will be able to catch eyeballs of potential investors and financial institutions. Rather than following standard templates, study the business plan of your competitors. Analyze what unique you can offer and make the plan accordingly.

2. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR COLLEGE RESOURCES AND NETWORKSCollege Students As Successful Entrepreneurs - Colitco

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While you are studying in college, you are abundant with a lot of free resources and special discounts. You can access seminar halls for meetings and library to gain more knowledge on your subject matter. There are even courses which are available at special discounts exclusively for students. What gives an edge to a student entrepreneur is exposure to good connections including professors and seniors. They can turn to them anytime for rational advice.

3. JOIN COLLEGE INCUBATORS OR ACCELERATORS

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Since students usually don’t have time and capital to join corporate incubators, school and college-based incubators are becoming new normal. Besides that, there are several initiatives taken in the direction to peddle the entrepreneurship spirit among students. Thiel Foundation is one such example of a platform that encourages students to execute their sustainable ideas. The foundation provides the students required mentorship. Ritesh Aggarwal, founder of OYO was one of the few candidates who was nurtured under Thiel Foundation. And the rest is history.

ROLE OF STARTUP INCUBATORS IN COLLEGE

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Since times are changing, many colleges and universities are now coming up with incubation cells. This initiative encourages students to take up an entrepreneurial journey. Majority of the academic incubators are attached to premier IITs and the National Institutes of Technology.

EXAMPLES:

Professor in charge of the Incubation cell of IIT, Madras, Ashok Jhunjhunwala helped two graduates to build a sustainable application. Umesh Sachdev and Ravi Saraogi joined “Jhunjhunwala’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator” to work on a voice recognition application. Jhunjhunwala guided them until their product could become market-ready. Today, the mobile-driven technology company, Uniphore, founded by two students churns out a great deal of revenue.

Furthermore, BITS Pilani offers its students a three-credit course called new venture creation. This course encourages college students to face the challenges head-on while setting up their ventures.

In addition to that, IIM-Ahmedabad also has its incubator wing namely, The Centre of Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE). The cell has a venture fund called the INFUSE (Indian Fund for Sustainable Energy) that operates like a venture capitalist.

College Students As Successful Entrepreneurs - Colitco

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“We follow this model because this sector is a risky sector in the ecosystem and not many investors want to support such areas. By offering this, it is not difficult to get access to good ideas.”cites Kunal Upadhyay, in charge of CIIE.

Additionally, IIT Madras incubator has facilitated many such startups to grow and diversify their functions. Desicrew is one such company. The company started as a rural-centric model. It intended to provide IT based jobs to rural youth. Desicrew continues to expand its operations and plans to permeate across India.

Hence, academic incubators and accelerators play a pivotal role in shaping the student’s ideas. Fortunately, more and more universities are now starting their incubation cells. Consequently, students are getting the opportunity to implement their learnings in some real-time models.

WHY YOU MUST START YOUR BUSINESS IN COLLEGE?

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Nowadays, millennials have a longing to run their ventures. But many are terrified of the responsibilities that come along with the decision of being your boss. They feel that they are too inexperienced to handle multiple things all by themselves. However, the pros of starting your venture during your college days surpass the cons it might have. Let’s take a look at why being a student, you must start yours:

#1 HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IN DIFFERENT DOMAINS

Being an entrepreneur in early student life will allow you to handle every ins and outs of your business. At the initial phase, you will be the only one acting in the capacity of various roles, from an accountant working behind the scenes to a salesman and marketer pitching an idea to the respective target audience

#2 EXCELLENT PLACE TO DISCOVER CO-FOUNDERS AND TEAMMATES

A college is an excellent place to network with like-minded people. Being an undergraduate, you are exposed to not only your classmates but also to your seniors and a lot more people from different colleges. Exposure to such a large network will help you recognize the people who complement your disposition and hence a team can be formed to run your new venture

#3 OPPORTUNITY TO EXECUTE YOUR LEARNINGS

The majority of the curriculum in colleges is still theoretical, hence it doesn’t stay with students once the exams get over but being a student entrepreneur gives you an edge as you can implement every bit of what you are learning from your textbooks.

#4 BOOST TO YOUR RESUME

Having an entrepreneurial experience under your belt will bring you on the radar of MNCs. They would be willing to hire you once you get graduated. Even if your startup doesn’t work out, you would eventually get valuable learnings out of your stint.

CONCLUSION :

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You might have blurred vision towards your goals in college. But, it’s the best time to experiment with innovative ideas. Of course, your idea needs planned execution to stand on its feet. Moreover, irrespective of whether your startup works out or not, you will learn tones of skills along the way. For instance, you will get well equipped with the ins and outs of running a startup, execution, management, and much more. At last, entrepreneurship from an early age must become a new normal. Students must be taught to write their own destiny right from the beginning.

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