This is a guest post by Jeff Herbst. Read more about him in the bio below this post.
Entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly popular for young people and has even become a common field of study available at universities across the United States. However, despite the availability of course offerings, successful entrepreneurship can be difficult to achieve. Therefore, having the right tools and resources available is critical to success for aspiring student entrepreneurs. The following resources can help provide the essential guidance aspiring student entrepreneurs need to thrive.
1. Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization
The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is an entrepreneurship network for college students. The organization has more than 400 chapters on college and university campuses across the United States and Canada. Through the CEO network, aspiring student entrepreneurs receive support from other students, as well as industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs who provide information needed to break into business as an entrepreneur. The organization also hosts regional events and an annual nationwide conference to promote networking and information sharing between its members.
2. Social Innovation Initiative
The Social Innovation Initiative provides a learning platform for aspiring young entrepreneurs. The organization supports a variety of nonprofits. Social Innovation Initiative helps students learn how to start and lead their own organizations by teaming them up with nonprofits to develop and create new revenue sources. Beyond the typical business plan competitions, the Social Innovation Initiative enables students to test their business ideas and entrepreneurship in the real world. The Social Innovation Initiative also provides workshops on social entrepreneurship.
SIFE is an international networking organization that connects entrepreneurs with university students who aspire to become entrepreneurs. The nonprofit creates a platform to enable students to make a difference in their communities by developing socially conscious business initiatives, all while helping to develop their skills as future business leaders and entrepreneurs. Under the direction of SIFE, students form teams to help execute their business plans. The organization also sponsors national and regional competitions for members, which are evaluated by entrepreneurs. Top aspiring student entrepreneurs advance to the SIFE World Cup. The experience creates bonds that last a lifetime and a knowledge base in entrepreneurship that surpasses the classroom.
4. Youth Venture
Youth Venture is an international organization that goes beyond teaching aspiring student entrepreneurs how to form organizations — it helps them form teams with other young aspiring entrepreneurs to help them actually start their business. Youth Venture focuses on young entrepreneurs who desire to address social needs with their business plan. The organization helps young entrepreneurs connect with other like-minded individuals across the globe, as well as successful entrepreneurs to increase the likelihood of a successful business venture. Youth Venture also provides seed funding up to $1,000, educational tools and mentoring.
iStart, formally StudentBusiness.com, is an online community for business plan competitions. The site helps aspiring student entrepreneurs locate the competitions that are best suited for their particular business venture, as well as connect with other aspiring entrepreneurs. As an added bonus, iStart members can place their business plans in a search-able database for anyone to view, without entering it into any particular contest, which could lead to the plan being picked up by venture capitalists who happen upon it on the site.
6. Young Money
Young Money is a useful website with a plethora of information relevant to aspiring student entrepreneurs. The site includes information on how to start a business and young entrepreneurship. It also enables students to register for free and create an entrepreneur profile. Once a profile is created, students can connect with other aspiring student entrepreneurs, as well as successful entrepreneurs in a variety of fields. Additional site features include an advice center, investment tools and articles about entrepreneurship. Registration is not required to use these tools.
Regardless of any business knowledge you may already possess, these resources can help aspiring student entrepreneurs on all levels get the boost they need to become successful entrepreneurs in the future.