5 reasons why college is the best time to launch your startup

8/21/2023 Urvashi Jha, Technology Entrepreneur Center

Flexible time, unlimited networking and world-class resources are a few of the reasons to consider taking the risk of a startup during your college years.

Written by Urvashi Jha, Technology Entrepreneur Center

TralaMesh++Ascent Integrated TechNatrionTop Tier Lessons, and Cast21—these are just a few of the many recent startups launched by Illinois entrepreneurs. 

If you want your startup to join the long list of ventures founded on campus, quit procrastinating and work to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Here are five reasons why we firmly believe that college is the best time to launch the next groundbreaking startup:

1. World-Class Resources

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign fosters an exceptionally vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. You save significantly on the cost of launching a company, so utilize every resource at your disposal in and outside the campus.

You have access to unlimited resources such as dedicated innovation workspaces like EnterpriseWorksGrainger IDEA LabIllinois Maker LabAccelerators such as iVenture Accelerator (offered by Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial LeadershipI-Start (offered by Research Park); Funds in the form of prize money such as the Cozad New Venture ChallengeIllinois Innovation AwardWorkshops and Initiatives such as Silicon Valley Entrepreneurship WorkshopThink ChicagoCity Scholars or Startup City Scholars; Registered Student Organizations like Founders: Illinois EntrepreneursZero2OneEnactus, and EntreCORPS; and the Office of Technology Management for technology and business commercialization support.

2. Unlimited Networking and Mentorship Opportunities 

Innumerable professors and faculty with relevant industry experience, mentors, thought leaders, students from diverse backgrounds, and entrepreneurs in residence are more than willing to learn about your idea. They will offer feedback, guide you through the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and connect you with resources that can help get your idea off the ground. Reach out to as many people you can! Their feedback is invaluable. 

3. Practice What You Learn

There is no better way to put your classroom learning into action than launching a startup. You not only learn the dynamics of entrepreneurship theoretically but also experience what it takes to start a company. You get to equip yourself with skills such as how to interact with your customers, market your product, manage finance, raise funds, ask for guidance, build a professional support network, persevere in the face of instability, and manage the team. If founding a business isn’t the right path for you, the skills acquired will not only give you an edge now, but in your future workplace.

4. Flexible Time

Launching a startup while you're in school gives you a head start, and is often easier because you have more flexibility. Despite juggling the demands of college life, you are likely to have a more flexible schedule than after you graduate.

5. It’s Okay to Fail

You can afford to fail, stretch your goals, innovate, and experiment with ideas. It is completely acceptable to make mistakes and start all over again with a new venture. You can take risks as you have nothing to lose. 

What are you waiting for? Now is the right time to launch your startup! 

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This story was published August 21, 2023.