Why are college students taking the start-up route?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to dizzying levels of stardom, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s unprecedented success upon starting a search engine named Google, are the stuff of legends. What is common between these two companies is that both were started while its founders were still at college.
Over the years, we have all heard of companies founded by college students that have shown much promise and resilience. Some of these ventures have managed to get the backing of investors and have made some 20-something, first-generation entrepreneurs very rich! Dropbox, Snapchat, Napster, and in India, Practo and Bluegape are some examples of such companies that come to mind.
Taking the plunge to start one’s own venture is now seen as trendy and cool! What are the reasons for this culture shift? What is driving students these days to take the start-up route instead of the traditional path of landing a “safe” job soon after college?
Masters of their own fate
Youngsters, who are starting up, love being the masters of their own destiny. Not for them is the monotonous routine of a regular 9 to 5 job, reporting to a possibly grouchy boss. They thrive on challenges and are undeterred by the risk of failure. They see their ventures as an opportunity to become their best selves and their start-ups turning out to be the next big thing.
Easy access to resources
At college or university, students get easy access to resources – be it computers, printers, food or people! They also gain immensely from networking opportunities – not just with other students, but also with their professors and college alumni who can play the role of mentors.
Real world experience
Launching a start-up provides students with a real-world education. Even if the start-up idea does not click and the founders do not achieve the success that they had envisioned, the long nights and hard work gives them the kind of experience and learning that no other place can offer. In fact, many recruiting companies rush to hire start-up founders -even those whose ventures had earlier failed – as they are seen to be tenacious, quick learners and risk-takers.
Changing the world
Call them idealists, but studies have shown that around 62% of millennials believe that they can make a local difference, and approximately 40% of millennials believe that that they can make a global difference. Millennials not only want to work on cutting-edge technologies, but also do work that has a purpose. Therefore, they see entrepreneurship as this opportunity for them to make a difference and make the world a better place. This, of course, is ironical for an age group that has earned the moniker of the “Me Me Me Generation” for its alleged self-centredness.
Whatever be the reason for starting up, the time is ripe for those bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. While juggling studies and a start-up can be tough for students, they need to remember to keep on keeping on!