In the rapidly evolving world of micro blogs, social media, and html5 the college startup has become increasingly common. While many economists advise against starting a business in a recession and financiers are reluctant to provide small business loans, a new breed of entrepreneur is emerging. With minimal expenses, little responsibility, and plenty of free time, intrepid college students are going into business for themselves. In theory, college provides the perfect climate for launching a new business, but what are the motivating factors that drive students to become more than just that?
When launching my first business at 19, it boiled down to three things.
Boredom- Sure I took classes on everything from fine arts to ethnic conflict, stayed involved in campus activities, and made time for friends, yet I somehow remained dissatisfied. For many young entrepreneurs like myself, launching a business is an opportunity to channel personal talents in ways that academics cannot.
Fear- I have always been somewhat of a news junkie but even students who remain completely uninterested find it impossible to remain uninformed. Between the classes, flyers, and dorm room chatter students are immersed in a world of knowledge. While for many this results in a spot on the dean’s list, for me it translated into fear. Sure I was intelligent enough, got good grades, and had a respectable internship, but constantly hearing about a turbulent job market scared me. Was I really going to be able to land a decent job upon my graduation? Starting my own business seemed like a win – win, either my business would succeed and I would be financially secure entering “the real world” or the endeavor would fail and I would walk away with an improved resume. Regardless of the outcome I would be better off than I started.
Opportunity – College is an incubator for creativity. Of course there are countless hours spent studying, but free time is plentiful. This, coupled with bountiful campus resources; mentors, technology, and most importantly other students, creates an ideal environment for young entrepreneurs. While both are potentially available in countless other scenarios outside of college campuses, I found the collegiate environment to be one of a kind, a sort of all in one think tank, test market, and mentorship program that provided everything necessary for me to launch a successful business.
So what really motivates young entrepreneurs? Are they, like me, motivated by fear, boredom, and opportunity? Or is there another force driving them to succeed outside of the classroom?