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Bentley on Bloomberg: Young Entrepreneurs on the Rise
The number of startups in the United States is growing and increasingly it is young people who are at the helm –often from their college dorm rooms.
According to a 2016 Global Entrepreneur report from BNP Paribas, millennials have launched nearly twice the number of businesses as baby boomers. Bentley’s own market research found that 66% of millennials are interested in starting their own business and 37 % would like to work on their own.
And millennials aren’t even the youngest aspiring generation; a recent survey of Gen Z high school students by Millennial Branding found 72 % want to start their own business, and 61 % said they would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee after graduating college.
Given the growing number of startups in the ever-competitive marketplace, what can students do to ensure the success of their businesses?
Bentley President Gloria Larson joined Bloomberg Radio’s Carol Massar, along with guest experts, to discuss what students can do to turn their interests and passions into a successful business endeavors.
1. Look for colleges and universities that support student entrepreneurs
Large numbers of students are moving from corporate to entrepreneurial career paths, and it is important for colleges to support this change. Schools need to adapt their classrooms and curriculums to spur innovation and encourage undergraduates to pursue their business ideas. Students should look for colleges and universities that support entrepreneurial thinking and will prepare them for a successful career and life.
2. Learn how to tell your story
While starting a business is easier and cheaper than ever before, scaling a company is still a difficult task. At NextGen Venture Partners, we look for founders whose backgrounds are a match with the company they have started. When backing entrepreneurs, individuals and venture capitalists are looking for people who have big ideas with an authentic story as to who they are and what they’re good at. While young entrepreneurs should be receptive and open-minded in their journeys, they should also create a personal storyline and trajectory that makes sense to investors.
3. Immerse yourself in hands-on learning
It is important for students starting their own business to find ways to get things done efficiently. In the world of entrepreneurship this means quickly and with little money. Being an entrepreneur is all about taking action and thinking in a fast-paced environment without necessarily having the time to analyze. This means that students need a variety of hands-on learning opportunities to teach them how to think, plan and execute. In one of my classes at Bentley, students start their own business throughout the course of one semester and by the end they must bring real customers into the classroom to talk about their consumer experience. These are very intense experiences, which is the reality of entrepreneurship.
4. Make sure you are starting a company for the right reasons
Students should not start a company for the sole purpose of getting rich. They need to be passionate and dedicated to their cause because starting a company can be an emotional roller-coaster. If students are only in it with the goal of making a lot of money, they will end up quitting because of how hard it is. I have made a lot of sacrifices over the past few years and have missed out on various activities because of my company. In the end, it is worth it because I am passionate about my business and pursuing my goals.
Alison Davis-Blake, the former business school dean at the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, was inaugurated as the eighth president of Bentley University in a ceremony attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the extended Bentley community.