Lectures, cheap wine - and a world of opportunity

WealthyStudent.co.uk's Steve Burford on why university is the ideal time to start-up.

University: every man and his dog is now going. People's reasons for attending are many and various: some just go because everyone else is, some know (or hope) getting a degree will improve their career opportunities, some don't really know what they want to do with their lives. Either way, university provides you with a wealth of opportunities.

Most people pick up new skills, meet new people and are able to demonstrate a unique ability to live on five potatoes, a pack of fish fingers and a couple of cans of beans a week. For me, though, uni was the perfect opportunity to start a business.

Although I didn't start-up until late in my second year, it was just the right time. I had a part-time job and had managed to save up about £10,000. At one point, the manager refused to give me a 50p-per-hour pay rise and I lost the plot. I quit pretty much straight away.

Within a week I had come up with an idea  I wanted to pursue. It was all about helping students through university financially, giving advice, finding deals etc. Debt still is a big problem for students and I felt that I could set something up that could make a difference.

Think about it: university is the perfect opportunity to start a business. You have:

  • A cheap roof over you head covered by your loan
  • Support from your uni enterprise society
  • The a perfect market research environment - namely, students at your uni
  • The chance to network with others at university who were starting a business

When you leave, there are all sorts of other pressures you have to think about:

  • You don't have any loan coming in to cover rent
  • More expensive rent
  • Extra council bills you don't get as a student
  • Not as much of a support system as at university
  • Pressure to make a decision about what you are doing with your life/career

At university, you have that freedom to express yourself and to try new things. Starting a business is no exception to that rule. It's a wonderful time to test, research and learn about business. Even if it doesn't get off the ground by the time you finish university you will have picked up so many new skills that employers love to see.

I had to get a job for six months after I graduated and was offered a well-paid job at my very first interview. There's no way I would have got it without starting a business.

As long as you're very tight with your money and don't spend much setting up, university is probably the most risk-free place to start a business. In fact, it's a massive advantage to your future career if you do set one up - win or lose.

Get creative, be imaginative, stay persistent and start a business today.

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