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Are you ready to discover your college program?

Whether you aspire to someday run your own business or you're ready to launch a business now, the following resources can help you prepare for life as an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs enjoy freedom and flexibility in their professional lives as they chart a unique career. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, business is the most popular academic discipline; 60% more students graduate with bachelor's or master's business degrees than the next most popular discipline. However, taking the initial plunge into entrepreneurship can be daunting, especially when it means taking calculated risks.

This page explores the many support services and resources available for Americans interested in entrepreneurial careers who lack the necessary support, knowledge, and confidence to get started.

Financial Resources for Entrepreneurs

Securing the necessary finances is one of the most important and difficult steps when starting a business. Entrepreneurs need to know how to figure out how much they need, where to look for funding, and what materials they need to prepare before a pitch meeting. After they land adequate funding, they also need the financial literacy and management skills to put that money to work successfully.

The following section highlights some of the best financial resources available to help guide entrepreneurs through this process, including information about how and where to find funding opportunities.

Human Resources for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs rarely work alone. They often hire employees, work with clients and customers, and develop networking contacts. Managing these relationships is integral to the success of any business. Human resources departments help managers maintain a safe environment and develop an inclusive workplace.

However, many entrepreneurs don't have enough resources to hire a whole HR department by themselves. The HR resources below and the services they provide can help entrepreneurs better staff their businesses and get a headstart on creating their ideal business environment.

Educational Resources for Entrepreneurs

For many entrepreneurs, the learning curve can seem steep and overwhelming. Launching a business requires strong business acumen, financial literacy, and field expertise, along with a quality product, service, and delivery system. While pursuing business school may be the most direct pathway for small business owners, they can also consider other educational options.

Prospective entrepreneurs can learn about their chosen field, what it takes to start a business, and how to manage and operate a startup effectively from the following sources.

Government and Organizational Resources for Entrepreneurs

Developing the bones of a startup is only the first step on the entrepreneurial journey. For example, entrepreneurs may also need to secure funding or federal contracts, which can present new challenges. Government agencies and industry organizations provide resources to support new and growing businesses as they navigate these cumbersome processes.

The following resources are just some of the organizations that provide support for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses. Through these organizations, entrepreneurs can find training workshops, mentoring programs, and learning materials to help them make strong decisions and tackle startup challenges.

Small Business Administration
SBA provides small business owners with access to business support resources, learning materials, and funding opportunities. Entrepreneurs can receive consultations and find information on federal contracts to improve their business plans.
Funded in part by SBA, SCORE offers free access to its library of resources, online training materials, and mentoring network of volunteer professionals. Members can also access workshops or group events through local chapters.
Small Business Development Centers
This network of business assistance professionals offers consulting and training for both new and experienced entrepreneurs. Members can access supportive resources and networking events. Individual SBDCs work locally, so they can advice entrepreneurs about local business resources.
Minority Business Development Agency
Supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce, MBDA serves minority business owners and entrepreneurs, connecting them to funding opportunities, marketplaces, and business contracts. Members benefit from the agency's national and local chapter training, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IEEE supports electrical and electronics engineers in their entrepreneurial pursuits, assisting them in establishing standards, policies, and ethical frameworks.
GRANTS.GOV is a centralized hub of federal funding opportunities and information for entrepreneurs and business owners. The site connects users directly with federal funding organizations and grants and offers support resources for applicants.

College Entrepreneur Ideas

Colleges and universities often encourage creativity, innovation, and business ideas in their students. When developing a business plan, student entrepreneurs should always first consider their own interests and skills and then look outward to identify opportunities.

The following list of college entrepreneur ideas is not exhaustive, but it's a good jumping off place to get your creativity flowing.

Social Media as a Business

According to Pew Research Center, 70% of Americans use social media for news, networking, and entertainment. The social media landscape provides abundant professional opportunities, but making the most of it requires training and knowledge. While in school, students can begin by networking, building their brands, and familiarize themselves with the core concepts of managing social media accounts for businesses.

Reseller / Upcycler

Reselling or upcycling is an easy way for students to raise capital, gain retail and design experience, or just start a small business in hopes of growing it into something larger after school. Learners can create small, manageable businesses by selling things like textbooks, refurbished furniture, clothing, or other items with little or no overhead.

Leverage Your Skills

When brainstorming business ideas or ways to generate capital, student entrepreneurs should first examine their own skill sets and consider selling them as a service. Budding entrepreneurs can build experience through tutoring, language skills, sports training, or creative mentoring.

Personal Services

Students can use their free time to offer help through personal assistance, pet services, or tutoring. An entrepreneurial-minded person could later expand these services by hiring additional personnel, developing marketing to reach a larger client base, or adding group options in addition to one-on-one services.

Build an App

Technologically capable student entrepreneurs in particular have money-making and business options available, including building apps and computer programs. If successful, this type of project can launch a future startup or help students build practical experience, making them a great internship alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Become an Entrepreneur in College?

Colleges and universities provide many entrepreneurial pathways for enrollees. School projects often develop into business ideas, and degree-seekers can complete online bachelor's degrees in entrepreneurship to get college credit for those ideas. Many schools also offer free advice and support for student startups, making colleges and universities one of the best business development settings available.

What Business Can a Student Start?

There are really no limits to what type of business a student can start. Finding a good idea is the first hurdle, but another major challenge for student entrepreneurs typically lies in securing adequate funding. The more money a business needs, the greater the challenge.

Do Most Entrepreneurs Go to College?

Many entrepreneurs go to college to develop their business and financial foundations. These skills help with the management aspect of business ownership after their projects begin to flourish.

What Degree Do Most Entrepreneurs Have?

A bachelor's degree in a business discipline, like business management or entrepreneurship, can provide students with fundamental skills necessary for running a business. For more complex business and management needs, students may also consider pursuing an MBA in entrepreneurship.

Header Image Credit: Tomas Rodriguez | Getty Images

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