With no overheads or the need for complicated business financial management methods, enterprising college students might find that university can be a great place to start their entrepreneurship journeys.
Campus environments can provide a wealth of valuable resources that budding entrepreneurs can tap into. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to leverage the advantages and opportunities.
Low overheads and room to take risks
Why start now? Generally your expenses in college are far lower than what they will be once you graduate to working life. Campus accommodation is for the most part extremely cheap, with many choosing to still live at home and there are no car loans or hefty summer electricity bills to manage.
This financial cushion gives you freedom to save the initial capital you need to get your business idea off the ground. Family members may also be more willing to help you get your first big break during this time, too. College can also be a great time to start learning the basics of business financial management, which will help in future endeavors.
It’s not always easy for entrepreneurs to find experts and mentors willing to provide advice, or subjects to test products and services on. But college campuses are brimming with students, professors and advisers who will most likely be happy to help you out, given the right approach. Remember, students are often eager to work for free as interns to gain experience and boost their employability.
Free or subsidized workspaces
Renting an office or shared space to develop your venture in is another expense you don’t have to worry about at college. Study rooms, libraries and computer labs are all at your fingertips, many with access to databases and Wi-Fi.
A number of multinational technology companies also provide support and opportunities to nurture student entrepreneurs in India. Some have even set up facilities on college campuses, like IBM’s Software Centers of Excellence, which offers free mentoring and access to technologies in 150 colleges across the country.
Incubators at the ready
Many of India’s top Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Management (IIMs), as well as some universities, have incubators that provide support for student ventures. The type of support varies, but it can include subsidized access to office space, legal and human resource services, seed capital and pathways to government grants.
Some of the best-known campus incubators include the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) at IIT Bombay, N.S. Raghavan Center for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at IIM Bangalore and the Technology Business Incubator (TBI) at IIT Delhi. The Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) at IIT Madras stands out for being the only one focused on rural technologies and businesses.
Remember, it’s pretty much a win-win: by starting a business venture early doesn’t work out, the experience you gain is invaluable, both to future employers and in developing your next ideas. To read more about other ways to get your business ideas rolling, click here.