The Benefits of Building a Business While in College

Starting a business is a huge undertaking for any entrepreneur. Some of the world’s most successful companies, including FedEx and Microsoft, were started while their founders were in college. Juggling coursework and business plans may seem like an overwhelming task, but there are many good reasons to build a company while hitting the books.

1. Access to Cool Tools

Universities often house state-of-the-art equipment and technology that students may use as part of their studies. Learning how to use these tools and gaining experience with them can help a new entrepreneur build skills without having to shell out cash right away. For example, a college entrepreneur with a media startup can learn how to use digital cameras and high-end publishing software.

2. Access to the Brain Trust

Another benefit of balancing school and business university campuses are filled with knowledge and potential mentors (professors, researchers, and administrators). You have unprecedented access to new ideas, instant feedback, and business advice from those on the leading edge of their fields. You can pick the brains of these intellectuals and innovators to help in both the startup and growth phases of your business.

3. Built-in Focus Groups

Companies pay big bucks to put their products and services in front of focus groups in order to get customer perspectives. In college, you are surrounded by classmates and friends who will be happy to tell you what they think. If you have products ready to go, you can ask your peers to take them for a test drive. This is an inexpensive way to garner valuable opinions before you unleash your business on the world.

4. Subsidized Living

If you’re paying for college with a grant, loan, or acholarship, you have a means to cover your costs of living while you build your business. You don’t have to worry about holding down a full-time job that pays the bills while you get your company off the ground. College is also a time when you are likely to have fewer expenses than you will when you venture out into the “real” world.

Starting a business while you’re still in school can help you succeed in the long run. You’re unlikely to have access to people and tools like this again, so take advantage of it while you can.

About Angie Mohr

Angie Mohr is a Chartered Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and financial consultant. She has worked with thousands of clients over the years from mom and pop startups to rock bands and celebrity chefs. She is the author of the best-selling Numbers 101 for Small Business series of books and writes for Forbes, MSNBC, the Globe & Mail, Yahoo! Finance, Investopedia, and Motley Fool, among other financial publications. Her new book, Piggy Banks to Paychecks, helps parents teach their children how to be money smart. She splits her time between Canada and the United States and currently lives by the ocean with her husband and two children, who have finally learned that money doesn’t grow on trees. For more, go to
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Good point. Unfortunately, most people don't think about business when they are still in college. I wish I was thinking like that back in college. But still I think that students (who in most cases have to pay big money for their education) should also think about online business which is much more plausible and doable in many cases.


I wish the Internet had been around when I was in college. I would have been working on sites while sitting in class. Probably wouldn't have had to ever work a real job in my life.


(And wow am I showing my age with this comment. I think we might have had dial-up Internet in one of the labs, but that was it.)


This would be like when others are enjoying, You will be sitting examining your profit loss graph. It may appear tempting to start a business during college times, but will drag you into that never ending business circle.