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The Time Has Come For The College Entrepreneur

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 12th 2011

America’s youth unemployment is at an all-time high these days. Studies and reports are showing numbers that are scary, depressing, and downright desperate. A Huffington Post article last summer pegged the number of 16–24 year olds who are unemployed at 51.1%. Things have improved a bit since, but the scale of the problem is still staggering.

We need the high schools and colleges in particular to step up and teach practical aspects of an entrepreneurial way of life to their students, and set expectations that kids and young adults will need to take destiny in their own hands.

Role models abound. Take our recent story of Mike Mothner who started WPromote as a computer science student at Dartmouth. Today, Mike runs a $10 million company and has built it without any external financing.

Or, take the college bootstrapping buddies who founded Grasshopper – Siamak Taghaddos And David Hauser. The duo also runs a substantial company that is doing well above $10 million today, and was founded when they met at Babson College.

I would love to hear from more of you at various schools and colleges who are working on entrepreneurial projects. Please introduce yourselves, and we’ll see how we can support your work through the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative.

And since we’ve also started hearing from teenagers who are starting businesses, here are a few good role models: Scott Wainner, now a serial entrepreneur in his early thirties started at 15.

And Kevin Splores started Volusion at 16, and today runs one of the largest e-commerce platform companies in the world.

Last but not the least, we have Caleb Sima, an Internet Security genius, also a child entrepreneur who has seen huge success.

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While I was in college, I quit my cafeteria job to start up a design and print service with a niche in "save the date" magnets and cards for weddings. It's been successful, and now that I have graduated (a month ago), I'm going to stick it, see where I can take it, rather than starting the difficult merry-go-round of interviewing that so many friends are dealing with. In this economy, many employers demand candidates with years of experience in exactly that job- which my recently graduated peers and I do not have.

Angela Bauter Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 10:04 AM PT

Angela – are some of your other peers starting businesses as well? And where are you located?

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 10:29 AM PT

Sramana, I am located in Milwaukee, WI. Several friends have toyed with a variety of ideas for their own ventures, but, haven't committed the resources to launch.

I am fortunate that I hit upon my idea while still in college, when I was in a position to put in time between and even during semesters to build my products, website, and customer base.

Instead, it seems as though fiends are constantly interviewing; Several have had to take near minimum wage jobs that are not in their field, because once you graduate, it's time to pay off one's loans.

Angela Bauter Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:50 PM PT

Angela – come pitch at a 1M/1M roundtable if you like. Sounds like a great plan to stick to something that is working and build it up further.

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM PT

Hi, I'm a college senior studying Marketing and Writing. My dad and I recently started an organic, all-natural soaps company called Calantha Organics, with which we aim to provide the best in aromatherapy, non-chemical, non-synthetic skin care to shoppers worldwide (we sell our products online). Our family moved to the U.S. from Colombia in '02; we all had always been very entrepreneurial, so you could say I've always had that in my blood. Fast-forward eight years and a not-so-hot market for students with marketing-agency aspirations, and here I am as the proud co-founder of this company that we adore.

Thanks for your time and feel free to reach me if you have any questions!

Annie P. Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 10:11 AM PT

Stephen Caldwell and I are recent college graduates and we started KNO Clothing (www.knoclothing.com). We're a fashionable clothing company with one goal in mind: ending homelessness. With every purchase, we give an article of clothing to someone in need and we provide funding to organizations who are helping end homelessness in local communities. This idea began while we were in College and we sucessfully launched the company at the end of last year.

Anthony T Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 10:20 AM PT

My name is Justin Sachs and I founded The Justin Sachs Companies while still in high school. I’m currently 21 years old and I live in a state that has, as its most recent jobless rate, 12.4%. At 21 I have started not one, but eight companies, including two non-profits. I grew tired of waiting for other people to recognize the strengths that I provided. So I decided to take control of my own destiny and I started my own companies. Incidentally, those companies have been recently valued at over 1 million dollars

Justin Sachs Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 11:06 AM PT

Hello, I'm currently a college senior who started a business a year ago. I was fed up with working hard for boss who didn't seem to care about you or want to pay you well. My company makes travel and storage products for women and we are currently expanding. Starting a business at any age is hard, but I feel like young entrepreneurs face more challenges. The odds tend to be against us because we barely have work experience let alone experience running a business and getting funding can be hard.

Chelsea Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM PT

Chelsea,

On the other hand, you have nothing to lose at this point of your life. That makes it easier to take risks. And when you don't have to forego a fat paycheck and a big reputation to launch on your own, trust me, it helps. I too started as a 24-year old, and did several companies one after another. I had nothing to lose, and a burning passion.

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM PT

Hello,
My name is Jack Liu and ironically enough, I run a site for teen and college entrepreneurs- TeenBusinessForum.com. I recognize some of the names of the commentors. Teens have been starting businesses ever since EBay came online. Cameron Johnson, a young entrepreneur started there where he made 50k selling Beanie Babies. I'm seeing a lot of the similarities now with the members on my site.

Again, we have teens who started EBay businesses who have close to 500 feedback (all 100%), teens who day trade (yes, and make money), ones doing web design, video editing, you name it. And this is not just a US phenomenon. Anyone who is able to get on the Internet is and will make money.

Rob Salkowitz also wrote a book recently where he talked about how the Internet has allowed many young entrepreneurs in developing countries to start businesses. His book is called Young World Rising.

I have already told many of the members of my site to join in on this discussion.

Jack Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM PT

Jack, I have asked Maureen Kelly on my team to reach out to you and discuss how we can collaborate. You can also reach out to her at maureen at sramanamitra dot com.

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:55 PM PT

My freshman-year, randomly-assigned roommate and I graduated from Babson College in May and launched <a href = &ldquo ;http://www.roominatemarketing.com”>Roominate Marketing, an internet marketing company in the greater Boston area.

We both saw the opportunity to help struggling small business owners grow and succeed with new marketing initiatives that they didn't know much about. We started out working with non-profits and have recently gained some great referrals and paying clients. I agree with Justin that starting my own company enabled me to control my own destiny and that it's great not waiting for other people to recognize your value.

Charlie Scala Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM PT

Hello,
My name is Cec, I'm only 13 years old, so it was literally impossible to get a job. I saw how teenagers were using their knowledge of the internet to make money, and saw a great opportunity. I'm currently working on my own online business, it's an online advertising & marketing management company mainly targeting younger entrepreneurs. I'm currently doing all the ironing for my family to earn money for the business and hope to launch in around a week. It's made me feel so much more responsible and there's been a noticeable change in they way I behave. It can be difficult fitting in work, school, social life, and business, but I really enjoy the fact that I've always got something to productive or enjoyable to do. Writing the business plan was really hard, but I knuckled down and know I'm glad I have it as I can always refer back to it when trying to make decisions. There has been times when it has felt that everything was going to fall apart but I've built up such a strong desire to succeed that there is no way I'm giving up.
Cec

Cec Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM PT

Bravo, Cec. Very good beginning down a very constructive path.

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 2:29 PM PT

I'm 27 and started my business 2 years out of college. I was employed but it was apparent the job wasn't going to lead to much. This was at the very beginning of the recession and employment opportunities had dried up completely.

I have turned my company, Go Green Fundraising, into the top eco friendly fundraising company.

Jordan

Go Green Fundraising Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 1:34 PM PT

Where did you go to college, Jordan, and where are you located currently?

Sramana Mitra Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 2:40 PM PT

Hi Sramana,

I apologize for the delayed response. This is just my busiest time of year.

I attended Texas A&M University and got a degree in Management with a focus on Entrepreneurship. I am located in Mansfield, TX which is right in between Dallas and Ft. Worth.

Go Green Fundraising Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 6:55 AM PT

I'm 15 years old, and have ran multiple websites.
I currently have a website dedicated to parkour, one dedicated to penny stocks, and my own personal site. All three sites provide revenue each month.
I earn enough money each month to be perfectly fine without a job, while my friends work jobs on the weekends. I've been interested in business and the markets since I was 13. I'm also going on exchange this year, and one of my personal goals is to never in my life hold a real job.

Lukas Larsson Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM PT

[…] Yesterday, I posed two questions on my blog: one, to high school and college students as well as recent grads, asking how they were viewing this deep recession, and whether they are taking destiny in their own h…. […]

Strategy Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Top 10 Online Advertising Trends For The Decade | How to Business Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM PT

Hi Sramana! I am a non-traditional or returning student and am currently developing a community management out sourcing service with my husband. I left my insurance job to go back to school 2 years ago and shortly after my husband was laid off from his IT job. After a year of fruitless searching for a new job we decided to take our hobby building and running community websites and turn it into a business. It has been a very tough road but we are pushing ahead.

Patty Krehbiel Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:52 PM PT

I think it's great that so many high school and college students are striking out as entrepreneurs. It's a good time to do it before you become jaded or feel "stuck" in the traditional workplace. Plus, you're probably more optimistic and feel more comfortable taking risks at this point in your life.

I would also be interested in hearing from some of these young entrepreneurs to potentially profile them on my blog: http://blog.spiritdriving.com.

Leila Johnson Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 7:08 PM PT

Great discussion, everyone.

I also started my company, http://www.prettyyoungprofessional.com, two years out of college, because of a gap I saw between the skills taught in school & the skills young professionals need to succeed in the modern workplace. When I started at my first job, I had no idea how to write a professional email, negotiate a salary or deal with a really difficult boss. I was lucky enough to be in an environment where I had close mentors giving me constant feedback, but when I left that company I realized how rare that is for young professionals, and I decided to do something about it.

Leaving my job to start a company during the recession has definitely been a little bit scary, but the rewards of working for yourself are completely worth it. I 100% support this 1M/1M endeavor!

Kathryn M Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:36 PM PT

Hey Sramana. I wouldn't say unemployment influenced my decision to become an entrepreneur. I turned down a nice job offer from a bulge bracket investment bank in New York because I decided that being in control of my own life, business, and future was more important than (what I thought was) my dream job. I have a handful of friends who are successful entrepreneurs (Brian Wong, Ooshma Garg, Ricky Yean) and I realized – if they can hack it – I can too. Their successes showed me that it was possible and were most influential in my decision.

Erin P. Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:23 AM PT

I am currently a 5th year senior at Kent State University and I caught the entrepreneurial bug two years ago while living with four other guys all one year older than me. All of them were graduating at the end of that year and I was constantly noticing the stress build up as the year went on and only one of them had secured a job. After seeing my roommates constantly submitting resumes and trying to get interviews and impress people(with little to no luck), I realized that I wanted to be a little different. So my junior year I entered a business concept competition with the idea of a textbook exchange website where I made it as a finalist. I launched the site soon after, but that came with little success. I went back to the drawing board to figure out where my problems were and I decided to tweak my business model. As a student I knew the troubles of finding cheap textbooks, and I really wanted to focus on how to answer that problem for the typical broke college student. Long story short, after much tweaking, the website is now a price search engine for books and textbooks. We are able to search prices from over 30 retailers for anyone trying to spend less on books. As of now, we are currently trying to expand outside of Kent, Ohio, we are working on a more user friendly layout design, and trying to make a presence on the web through SEO. After I graduate at the end of May I will be taking at least a year off to work full time on the website.

Pat Welsh Friday, January 14, 2011 at 7:44 AM PT

Hello Sramana! I'm currently a junior at Kent State University. It was always hard finding a job on campus or off campus. Being a broke college student, I had to find some form of income. Thankfully, I'm a entrepreneurship major and thanks to the program I got the opportunity to take over a "down" company called Laundry in a Flash. The university offered me a minority stake in the business and it was all up from there. We took this company that was only making $1,000 a year and grew it to over $15,000 in revenue in 6 months. I've learned so much from this experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I wish more college students could get to experience what I have in the past year and a half.

Chris L Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:55 AM PT

My name is Tia Brown. I am a junior with an Entrepreneurship Minor and I study at the University of Akron. I have a concept for a non profit organization. It will be an organization that will provide life skills to families as a unit. Socializing youth on issues such as bullying, social media abuse abuse and substance abuse. Providing parents credit counseling, education counseling, and training towards being better interpersonal communicators. It will be an incentive based program that will remain a resource to families for a duration untill they have become an empowered strong stable units that have set of skills enabling them to establish a foundation their future generations, elimanating barriers before they manifest themselves due to lack of knowledge. Families arrive as a unit then are seperated and each member begins to recieve thier socialization seperately.

Tia Brown Akron Univ Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM PT

Hi,

I recently graduated as part of the class of 2010. During my undergraduate years at Stanford, I was heavily involved in the student entrepreneurial ecosystem, working behind the scenes as the leader of BASES (http://bases.stanford.edu) to empower student entrepreneurs to dip their toes in the water and go for it. We work closely with professors who are part of this ecosystem (STVP – Stanford Technology Ventures Program), venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the valley, and other student groups such as SSE (Stanford Student Enterprises) in order to remove the barriers for students to jump right in. Some of these efforts include getting a wide variety (engineering, humanities, business, law, etc.) of students exposed to entrepreneurship through classes taught by professors as well as students, holding workshops and conferences, connecting students with each other, entrepreneurs, and vcs, giving them money to work on it over the summer, and helping them expose their class projects to industry in the hopes that they could get to continue to pursue them with real business aspirations. I would love to speak you about this more as I am very passionate about this cause. Personally, I have also been taking advantage of these resources and started a company out of school with 2 of my classmates, with experience going through Y Combinator.

rickyyean Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM PT

Ricky,

Yes, I would love to speak with you about working more closely with the Stanford eco-system for 1M/1M. As a first step, may I suggest that you take a look at what we're doing with the program, so we can start with a basic understanding?

We have a partnership with the MIT alumni association here in the Bay Area <a href="http:// (www.mitcnc.org)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(www.mitcnc.org)” target=”_blank”>(www.mitcnc.org) whereby MITCNC treats all our events as cobranded partner events. I would love to do a similar partnership with Stanford.

Regards, Sramana

Sramana Mitra Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM PT

Hi Sramana,

That's great! I've taken a look at 1M / 1M and I am impressed. My email is yean(dot)ricky[at]gmail

– Ricky

rickyyean Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 12:10 PM PT

I am currently in a Dietetic Internship thinking of starting a Consulting Company once I get my RD. I would like to focus on Long Term Care or School Nutrition.

Eileen Murphy Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 3:12 PM PT

very great article for college graduates

sairamanrental Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 11:52 PM PT

I'm currently a 21 year old senior in college and will be graduating in May. I started my business when I was a freshman, realizing that the job market was poor, and that I also did not want to work for anyone else but myself. 3 years later I am the owner of http://anyluckyday.com, an online advertising platform that promotes companies products and services through social media.

Giancarlo Massaro Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 5:48 AM PT

I am currently a Junior at Northeastern University. Found out about this through a Northeastern PR representative and thought I should write a quick post. Here was the article Northeastern wrote about the brokerage I work for and me. http://www.northeastern.edu/news/stories/2011/01/
I am a apart of the first student owned and run brokerage in the US. We have done around 11 Million in sales in past year and half. We also document our lives in a reality show titled "Making Moves" which we use as an indirect form to market our firm. We are looking to take the show to the next level.
Struggles: Balancing school and work. I am a full time student and I also work full time. 80 hour work weeks and 50 hours of school…. simply does not add up. So I am constantly trying to figure out how to balance everything.

Julian Jung Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 8:40 AM PT

My name is David S. London and I'm a Junior at Quinnipiac University. I'm a dual degree majoring in Journalism and Finance along with a minor in Sports Studies. For some time now I've been running my own column called Primetime Thoughts (www.davidslondon.com) which features Analysis about the latest happenings in the World of Sports. I've yet to feature advertising and profit from this as I am trying to increase awareness. It's tough these days to separate yourself from the rest considering how popular blogging has become. People who know how to use a computer share their views which is great, but doesn't quite make them an analyst of sports. I take it beyond the, "this player is awesome, this guy stinks" opinion and give people an objective take on what's happening. It' also tough seeing one former athlete after another being handed jobs when often they are not qualified to be in this position. The field is one tough cookie, hence my dual degree as it can't hurt to have a business background.

david.london@quinnipiac.edu

David S. London Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM PT

Although I am only 13 years old and in 8th grade, I am doing high School 10th grade work at my Charter School and at home. I take a class called "Life Skills" at the charter school and the project for the year is to create a business with my own product, create a website, bookkeeping ect. I started a Micro-Kite™ business which took off. I have just placed them at one of the biggest and well known surf shops in Southern California and worlwide known. Check out my story http://www.microkites.com and under the hyperlink "more" there is video showing a one year old flying the Micro-Kite as well as adults.
Next is 7-11 stores!

Harley Ellis Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM PT

Hello, My name is Rachel Pavelka and I am currently a sophomore in high school and I have my own businesses. I raise Maltese puppies (Pav Pack Acres Puppies) and I import jewelry from Peru. (Every Girlz Dream Jewelry Co. I have won national e-ship contests and I been featured in magazines, for my businesses. Sometimes it is hard to find the time to work on my businesses with all of my academics and sports. I am training for a full marathon in May, so running takes up a lot of my free time. But it is nice when I'm out in the fresh air to think about things, like what direction to take my businesses, ect. It is nice to own your own businesses because you don't have other people telling you what to do and it is all up to YOU how much you make and what kind of effort you put into your businesses. I think it is great for kids to learn how to work and make money at an early age. I think that if people have to work, you might as well enjoy your job! You have to be entrepreneurial in this kind of economic climate. You can't afford NOT to be the best that you can be!

Rachel Pavelka Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7:59 AM PT

I am currently a 5th year transfer student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison studying Textile and Apparel Design. I have had a dream for quite some time to start my own online business selling handmade bags online and have found it to be more than a challenge. The hardest part is finding time and money to start because being a full time college student, I have to pay my tuition as well as the bills which requires me to work 2 part time jobs. The two jobs, plus going to school full time is already a lot to balance and always leaves me with no time to produce my own work. On top of that, most internships in design are unpaid, but is the best way to get your foot in the door. I know that I want to get my business started before I am out of college (I have 3 semesters left), but it's either you have money and no time or have money and no time. One last problem I find in my field is that there are a lack of business/entrepreneurship courses offered on how to start your business. I have faith that I will succeed as I am determined and love what I do, but it's a slow process.

Maggie Welsh Friday, January 21, 2011 at 1:42 PM PT

Maggie, What you are trying to start is largely an e-commerce company. In 1M/1M, we do have a curriculum to help with that. Please feel free to join: http://1m1m.sramanamitra.com

Sramana Mitra Friday, January 21, 2011 at 2:36 PM PT

Hi Sramana.

I’m a senior in biochem at Renssealer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY. I and my two partners, Mark Lyons and Nick Querques, both MBA candidates also at RPI, founded MicrorganicTech (MOTECH / http://www.microrganictech.com), which is focused on producing a sanitary, onsite waste disposal for commercial sites. I’m an entrepreneur because, aside from the independence, the options, and opportunity to create one’s own economic frontier, you don’t need anybody’s permission to just do it.

We’ve faced some of the same typical challenges as other student entrepreneurs—juggling classes, a part-time job and the business, securing research space, and finding good business partners who balance each other out.

The biggest challenge by far, however, has been how to make required basic research sexy and attract the funding we need—roughly $200k—to initiate sustained growth. When it comes to R&D, there are some who would say as a society we spend too much on what we don’t know, and too little what we do know, particularly where energy is concerned. Well, MOtech's technology sits in the middle of that continuum working to develop as yet an unproven technology to modify a common, well-known organic process, to take it to the next level to produce hot water and energy, while decreasing the waste stream.

Our answer to funding needs, at least in the short-term, is to produce and distribute educational microbial fuel cell (MFC) kits for research and secondary science classrooms. We happen to use microbial fuel cells and realized we could generate a secondary revenue stream to help us fund some of our research by producing and selling MFCs as part of educational science kits—it’ll mean a lot of kits, but it just might help keep up moving forward!

Brent A. Solina Friday, January 21, 2011 at 2:23 PM PT

Many factors play a role in this high unemployment rate amongst our nations young generation. Lack of motivation and lack of qualification are the main two. Many teens lack the motivation to get out in the field and get a job. lets say you own a company, and have a choice between two people: unqualified applicant and an extremely qualified applicant. The choice is obvious. The truth is that amongst other reasons the unqualified applicant is also unmotivated. The only motivation seems to be money! I, as a 18 year old teen myself witness this way too often. "I'm just going to apply to apply to taco bell, you make good money after a few years" I honestly do not find anything wrong with working an entry level job, but I like to push myself, and with my skill level, I know I can attain a job with a higher pay grade, along with more responsibilities. So far, i have held 4 jobs: gas station, restaurant, warehouse and a car dealership. At each of these jobs, with the exclusion of the car dealership, I have help every position and am able to take over for anyone (even managers) that are unable to perform. The reason for this is not because I attained jobs at a young age for money, it is because I am a motivated worker. Working different jobs allows me to attain new skills in my life, which can be used later on. My solution to the lack of motivation and lack of skill: ACTE Program! This is a completely unbiased opinion. ACTE is a program that gives students the field experience in ANY career field. I am a business major, and the ACTE program has taught me so much, and I still have much to learn. It allows students to experience different career fields before they make a commitment to any career. It is sort of like test driving a car, before make a purchase. It insures that those who want to go into a specific field attain the hands on experience necessary. There are many solutions to a problem, and this is simply a suggestion.

Navi Singh Friday, January 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM PT

Sramana – for a company that works with students to help them reach their goals financially and otherwise, you should check out Southwestern (www.southwesterninternship.com). This is a Nashville, TN based direct selling company that helps college students run their own business during their summer breaks to help offset their educational expenses. They are the oldest direct selling company in the nation (founded 1855, started with college students in 1868). Numerous successful people got their start at Southwestern where they teach you how to not only run a business while in school, but all of the traits that make people successful – inlcuding training in commuication, leadership, management, schedule, goal-setting, body language, the cycle of selling, etc. You can contact me, Trey Campbell, at 615-391-2801 if you have any questions. I'll be happy to discuss our take on how tough it is for young people to get a job and why preparing them to outwork and sell themselves better than their competition is so important.

swcoblogs Monday, January 24, 2011 at 2:43 PM PT

Hi! I'm a sophomore at Yeshiva University in NY. I started my own magazine, YALDAH, a magazine for Jewish girls (http://www.yaldah.com), at age 13. I raised the startup money from ad sales and sponsors so I didn't need to borrow any money. Six years later, YALDAH has hundreds of subscribers worldwide, and is sold in major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble. Over 100 girls have served on our annual Editorial Board, and we have a "staff" of close to 10 volunteers. Two years ago we expanded to book publishing, and our first two books have been released. I also started my own freelance graphic design business (lldesign4u.blogspot.com) 4 years ago.
I've dedicated myself to growing my business, YALDAH Media, Inc. for six years without pay. I love what I do and I'm dedicated to this vision. However, because of constantly been doing it on the side, balancing being an entrepreneur with being a student, I've never had the time I need to invest in it to make a profit. We try to break even, but at this point there's so much to do that we could really use four or five full time employees. My parents don't want me to drop out of college, even though I feel like that would be so much more practical. Why should school get in the way of the fantastic hands-on learning I'm getting from running a business? Any advice or tips would be appreciated!!

Leah Larson Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM PT

I would finish college, and run this in part-time mode until then, at least.

Sramana Mitra Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 4:43 PM PT

Just wanted to let you dedicated college entrepreneurs know that we offer an attractive funding option to help you launch or grow your business – it's a crowdfunding website called http://peerbackers.com. We do not charge any upfront or listing fees as we did not want to have any barriers to entry for small business owners so if you are in need of capital – you may want to consider this as a funding option. And keep all these terrific stories coming on the blog – I love to see them!

Sally Outlaw Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 5:20 PM PT

Hi Sramana – my kid seems to be catching the entrepreneurial bug. She wants to start something (she is a junior at Columbia). Naturally I am thrilled. However I wonder if it might be valuable for her to learn a few things – take a course or two – before she jumps in. Are there any specific courses she could take over summer here in the Bay Area? How about Vivek Wadhwa's course over at UC Berkeley?

Or do you recommend she just jump in and figure it out on the job?

Nimish Mehta

Nimish Mehta Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:49 AM PT

Hi Nimish,

Why don't you ask her to do the 1M/1M curriculum online? If she has one or more ideas, she can learn how to evaluate each, and then figure out how to go to market with the best one. It's about a 30-50 hour effort, and she can do it at her own pace.

Sramana

Sramana Mitra Monday, January 31, 2011 at 8:16 AM PT

I was an international student from Germany in the US. I was fortunate to go to college in the US. Now 2 years later I am a young entrepreneur. I never planned on starting a business after college. But while studying in the US, I was exposed to a different culture and to different products which just were not available in Germany. So I decided to ship and sell the products to Europe. I started that business in my final year in college and I am still doing it.

Ben Jäger Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 12:10 AM PT