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How to Boost Your Entrepreneurialism at College

They say you’ve got to learn to crawl before you can walk, so if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and a newbie to  business basics, taking what you learn in the classroom as a starting point is a sound idea. Get a taste of the entrepreneurial world and how businesses work before applying the theories to your own projects.

Entrepreneurial programmes…

Alongside what you will learn in your school or college studies, the good news is that there are plenty of societies and schemes that offer a taste of entrepreneurship to build your basic business abilities and the support to help you on your way. Young Enterprise’s Company Programme, for example, gives A-level students the opportunity to gain skills and experience through founding and managing their own businesses. Organised in partnership with schools, it provides a structured programme over the course of an academic year at college level.

Setting up a real company from the beginning stages of business planning and logo design to raising funds and designing a product, the programme is a fantastic way to achieve a real understanding how businesses function. You’ll have the chance to experience the practical challenges, risks and rewards that come from running your own business. A real project with real money at stake is an amazing opportunity to gain first hand business experience. You’ll learn a huge range of skills, from teamwork and leadership to marketing and finance, gaining priceless skills in business along the way. 

The programme can also be completed as a qualification, with 40 UCAS points available for successfully run ventures. In the past, Young Enterprise finalists have created incredible award-winning products and set up social enterprises that have made a difference in their communities.

The experience you get from being in charge of a project that tests your entrepreneurial abilities are essential to be successful in any workplace, even if you decide you’re not cut out to be the next Steve Jobs. Even if your college doesn’t offer the Young Enterprise scheme, you could always set up your own entrepreneurial or investment club and run it with like-minded friends.

Starting up your own business…

But if the taste of the deal leaves you craving and wanting more, there’s nothing more entrepreneurial than buying something for a fiver and selling it for ten. If you always wanted to be that kid who sold sweets in the playground but never knew how, take the plunge and start small to foster your inner tycoon. Maybe you’re creative and fancy setting up a stall to sell jewellery you make, or perhaps posters, cupcakes or customised clothes?

If you’re serious about setting up a business but don’t know where to start, The Prince’s Trust offers funding and advice for young entrepreneurs in the UK. With loans and start-up support available for young people between 18 and 30, it’s a fantastic lifeline to fledgling business ideas and helping to develop ideas.

Ultimately, being entrepreneurial is something that can’t be studied in the classroom. Getting out there and trying new things is an essential part of gaining the practical business skills that can’t be taught. But with the right combination of entrepreneurial experiences and a little bit of business sense, the things you learn from your successes or otherwise will set you up for your future working life.

By Nile Davies, AllAboutFinanceCareers.com