Startup as a Student - Ideal Time or Distraction?

Are your years at University the ideal time to start a business, or should you concentrate on your studies?
Student startups

There is controversy whether during college is a good time to start a business. Many argue that students must concentrate on study and pursuing excellent academic results should be the primary goal as a student. Entrepreneurship in this case is more likely to be considered by the junior person who has either rich experience or sufficient amount of savings in their bank account. However, it seems like a regular thinking of the most people who expect a simple and stable life. There are some successful entrepreneurs who are willing to share their stories and tell something from a different perspective.

One of the stories is from Jessica Ekstrom, who is the founder of Headbands of Hope. Jessica’s business idea is to bring joy to little girls who lost their hair and a part of their feminine identity to battling against cancer. She launched her nonprofit business in April 2012, when she was a senior student in college. To date, over 10,000 headbands were donated by her organization to children with cancer. When we are impressed by Jessica's business achievements, there is also something valuable we may learn from her on the topic of student startup. In the article Student Startup: Why College Is the Perfect Time to Launch a Business, Jessica explains her motivations to become an entrepreneur as a student.

First of all, you have resources galore. ”I'm surrounded by experts. When you're on a college campus, professors are filled with knowledge and experience to help you. The free consulting I got from professors answered all the questions I had about starting a business and taking my first steps.” This is what Jessica describes how she could successfully establish her company under the favor of “free consultant”. It is fact that college provides us a wide developing platform with plenty of free resource. Only on campus, we get easy access to both outstanding professors and industries, from which we are close to cutting-edge technologies and the people patiently explain the details of those intelligences. Once we are out of college, these experts are known as consultants and will charge an arm and leg for advice.

In addition, the built-in network and support. When you're a college student, peers of your same “university breed” surround you. This can be a huge potential market. The first big market of Jessica´s business was actually the student body at her university. Then her idea was rapidly spread through their personal network such as friends and family. The magic is that her mission even went international via the word of mouth without investing any cents on advertising. College students are more likely to share anything they find interesting via social media, so it builds a great social-media foundation from the start.

While the first two reasons represent quite straightforward benefits of student startup in terms of obtaining the knowledge of business idea and establishing the marketing channels, Jessica also pointed out three other important truths: being selfish is acceptable, you have a reputation to dispel and it's okay to fail.

Besides lacking experience, young age owns the unique opportunity and strength to be an entrepreneur. As you are young, you have not only no fear of losing a reputation but also the freedom from responsibilities. Indeed, the time studying in university is the most perfect time to pursue your dream and surprise the world as a millennial.

“Experiences are carried with you the rest of your life, giving you more insight to the world around you. “ The discussion is not solely about starting a company in college. They’re about using your resources available to you in those four (or five/six) years and making experiences. While stressing about exams, scrapping pennies to buy the weekly supply of ramen noodles and also trying to squeeze in a social life, make sure you are not losing your best time to make your dream true and leaving campus with regret.


If you are eager to listen to more entrepreneur stories, don't miss Technoport 2015.

Photo credit: HackNY

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