It has just been a little more than a decade since Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard at an age of 19 to start his own business which is now famously known as Facebook. This giant social networking site has made him the fourth richest man in America. He is also a great inspiration to many college entrepreneurs.
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg had that unusual talent, but for the ones who have modest abilities can now access to thousands of schools across the country offering entrepreneurship courses.
The days have changed when students no longer have to work for somebody else.
Derrick Maggard, director of the Apex Systems Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech says, “Most of these students grew up during the great recession and saw their parents, maybe their grandparents or an aunt or uncle struggle and get laid off by large companies. They’re almost fearful to go into the corporate world. They say I don’t want that to happen to me – I want to do my own thing and control my destiny.”
To become a successful entrepreneur you need to have the ability to have the right skills and ambiguity to convert an idea to reality as said by Maggard. He says, “Ideas are a dime a dozen and there is nothing in the world that somebody hasn’t already thought of. It really comes down to the ability to execute an idea and that is a really difficult process”.
What does Forbes have to say about Mark Zuckerberg?
It was stated last year in Forbes that Mark Zuckerberg is now worth more than $52bn (£39bn), adding $18bn to his fortune alone.
It is true that Zuckerberg represents a small percentage of entrepreneurs, but there are other popular companies that have started in college itself.
Jeremy Hitchcock invented Dyn that was co-founded in the year 2011. He is studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts.
What is Dyn?
Dyn was developed to optimize the flow of data between the online companies and their users. This was done to improve the internet performance. Dyn employs about 400 people and has clients such as Etsy and Twitter.
Hitchcock says, “Go start a company or be part of something where you’re creating or building because you’re at a time in life when you have that freedom of exploration. And do something that’s crazy, that’s non-traditional”.
The best place where students can develop professional networks is a college campus. Maggard says, “If you are a student entrepreneur and you have an idea with a time limit on getting it to market, I would encourage you to take a leave of absence and give it a go. But those are rare. Work on it while you’re in school. Develop the idea and continue to do customer research. Then when the time is right and you are ready to move forward, go for it.”
More entrepreneurs like Hitchcock
Mehr Pastakia, 29, had a degree in horticulture but decided to start her rooftop garden company while studying at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore.
She says, “I just wanted to learn what everybody else seemed to know about business. I had a few really great classes and really great classmates that made it totally worth it for me.”
She further says that the most important lessons were how to resolve a conflict and develop self-knowledge as a leader. She could also meet an investor who concentrates on backing women-owned companies.
Kathy Korman Frey, an entrepreneur in residence at George Washington University and founder of Hot Mommas Project, the world’s largest online library of female entrepreneur case studies says, “Research shows that women are more risk-averse than men, and this can be paraded around as unfavorable.” However, she says that gradually the attitude towards women entrepreneurs are changing.