Entrepreneurship at Every Age

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to participate in the #BeYou Campaign newsletter which seeks to provide youth with encouragement and support. The #BeYou Campaign has launched an entrepreneurial scholarship fund. Donate to this entrepreneurial initiative here. You can read the full #BeYou newsletter online

We believe that you are never too old or too young to consider starting your own business. Students especially, should consider starting their entrepreneurial career while they are in school and here is why: 

Make Your Ideas Count

Seriously, Think About It! Why Women College Students Should Consider Entrepreneurship

By: Nicole Nurse

Are you in college, a university, or pursuing a post-secondary degree? You’re probably a bit nervous about going “head first” into your career after graduation. Questions like, Am I making the right decision to go to school? Will I find a legitimate internship after I graduate? Am I guaranteed a job in my field after I finish? “Will I be able to find a “good-paying” job after I graduate?, are running through your mind.

These questions can bring on panic and loads of stress. But, keep calm I have in my hand, a solution to your possible problem. Have you ever considered starting your own business? Yes YOU. Ever had any wonderful ideas in your mind, but never put them to use? I’m quite sure you have. Remember those pair of jeans that would have been perfect if they only had a mini-sized wallet connected to it for those times you were at a party. And what about the time that you lost your keys in your tiny apartment, and came up with an idea to never lose your keys again. And what about…you get the picture. Well, why not make money off of those ideas and work for yourself? 
Okay. Now that I have your attention, here’s a list of questions that you will have to answer before jumping in.

• What are my strengths, talents and skills? 
• What do people need in the industry that isn’t already in the market? 
• Based on my talents, what problem can I solve in the industry? 
• Who can I go to for start up money? 
• What resources do I have to make my business work? 
• Where can I find help?

Tons of resources are out there to help the start-up entrepreneur including: SBA,SCORENBIAGarys Guide, and Entrepreneur, to name a few. There are even meetup groups on line, including Meetup and Swap The Biz NYC. Just as you would do a Google search about a class assignment, you can search up anything you need on the Internet.

Now, I’m sure your parents told you that you are as unique as a snowflake and whatever you put your mind to, you can do. They are absolutely right. No one has the same talents or had the exact upbringing, memories, and biological responses as you --- not even an identical twin! So you have something to bring to the world that others don’t. It is also no news that the employment market has dramatically changed. Companies no longer keep employees for 40 years and retire them on a healthy pension. The competition is fierce and employers are either going in-house to select talent or are picking and choosing referrals to work for them for free. Benefits and job security are a rare privilege for most; even for brilliant college graduates just like you.

So, what can you do about it? How can you win the game according to the new rules of play. You got it! Work for yourself! This does not mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater and never search for a job. Statistics show that you may have 7 jobs in your lifetime. In the beginning, it’s okay to work for someone else and gain experience. Career changes are now normal. But a side-business and the skills you will gain as an entrepreneur will remain with you forever. Here are 3 greater reasons to consider entrepreneurship in and after your college years:

1. Think about the opportunity. There are more undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship courses offered on college campuses just like yours, than ever before. You have a chance to learn the ropes and find out what’s needed before taking a risk. Enroll in a class and collect all the information you need to know; you’re going to class anyway. Secondly, here’s your chance to be your own boss. A chance to make a career off of your own idea. A chance to live a happy life doing what you love.

2. Think about the network. Your NETWORK is your NET WORTH! The more people you know, the more opportunity will come your way! Your network will include your friends and family, neighbors, old colleagues and professors, potential customers and business owners (suppliers and competitors) within your industry, etc. This is where it gets fun! Remember those events that you wanted to go to, now you could be going to many of these every month. Mixing and mingling with new faces is key to building your network. Utilizing networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and (find one) will behoove you. On LinkedIn you can directly speak with the decision makers of the company, which is super important. Your network will increase over time, and you will establish life-long friendships, find mentorship and increase your knowledge in your industry. The bigger and more diverse your network the more likely your business will survive and thrive. 
3. Think about the money. More company leaders like Andrew Yang, CEO of Venture for America are placing college grads in internships at start-ups around the country. Programs like these assist existing entrepreneurs and groom young graduates to become entrepreneurs. Once you become an entrepreneur you can be assured that large corporations and local, state, and federal governments grant a percentage of their business contracts to women-owned companies. When the federal government is the customer, women-owned businesses are 23 times more likely to win the contract.

College teaches us how the systems we take for granted were created. Now is the time to think critically about your future and how you might create a life that works for you. #Thinkaboutit

Nicole Nurse 
Founder of Black Leopard Public Relations

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