Entrepreneurs: Starting a Business in College

You can’t hide in college forever.

I’m sure that’s what millions of college students are thinking as they contemplate eventually finding a job during the worst job market since the Great Depression.

One way to prepare for the inevitable leap into the dreary job market is to become entrepreneurial. Students can launch their own business while they are still at school and sometimes colleges will even kick in money for the seed capital.

The Washington Post ran a story yesterday on a business-startup competition at George Washington University. Sixty students had to share their elevator pitch that explained why the university should support their businesses. Fittingly, the competition took place in an elevator.

Students competing for the $9,000 in seed capital proposed such businesses as an auto social networking web site, an eBay for music producers and a personal-history service.

My daughter, who is currently studying abroad at the University of Barcelona, has spent hundreds of hours since the start of the year working on her own business plan for a picture frame business. Caitlin, who is a Spanish/entrepreneur major, hopes to snag a $5,000 start-up grant from her school (Juniata College) and the committee will be reviewing her proposal next month. Friends of hers in Barcelona, who are finance and marketing majors, have been helping her fine tune her proposal. To suggest Caitlin is nervous about what the committee will do is a gross understatement.

If Caitlin wins the grant, which is partially funded by the state of Pennsylvania, she will return to Juniata a month early next summer to start creating her colorful wooden frames that have triggered rave reviews.

Even if a student’s business doesn’t take off, it’s a great experience and it could impress future employers.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

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  1. Hey Mom,

    Love the blog today!

    “To suggest Caitlin is nervous about what the committee will do is a gross understatement.” Too true! This business has become my child!

    -Besos de Barcelona.