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Most students face financial challenges at some point during their courses — whether they’re full-time or part-time, or loving on- or off-campus.
So those who don’t benefit from a substantial parental income have to find a part-time job that they can fit around classes or develop some sort of self-starter enterprise to raise funds.
And over the years, further and higher education campuses have proven to be seedbeds for entrepreneurialism.
If you’re swithering over starting your studies, remember that they might be a launchpad to business success.
Here are five brilliant businesses launched in colleges and universities.
Dell computers are found in businesses and homes around the world — but this global corporation started life in a student dorm room.
At 19 years old in 1983, Michael Dell was studying for a pre-medical undergraduate course at university in Texas when he turned his skill in renovating old PCs into a viable business. He sold $180,000 of customised computers in his first month — and the rest is corporate history.
Facebook must be one of the most famous businesses to have burst forth from the halls of academia.
Mark Zuckerberg was studying an Ivy League psychology degree when he set up his social networking site in 2004.
Within 24 hours, 1200 fellow students had signed up — and despite recent controversies, according to statista.com the site now has 2.19 billion monthly active users.
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski were studying at MIT in 2007 when they got frustrated by email’s lack of capacity for sharing large files and the danger of losing or forgetting thumb drives.
Cloud-based file-sharing from Dropbox became the solution to their problem and the firm now serves 500 million people and generates over $1 billion annually — not a bad return for 11 years of hard work.
For better or worse, Google’s dominance means it’s now the all-conquering oracle of internet search engines and its parent company Alphabet is worth $743 billion.
But this behemoth emerged from humble beginnings in 1996, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin were swatting their way towards PhD qualifications. Originally called Backrub, it was renamed Google after the numerical term ‘googol’ and went on to conquer the world.
Bill Gates was studying in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1975 when he formed Microsoft with his programmer pal Paul Allen.
Dropping out of his course, Gates moved to Albuquerque to launch the software company that created operating systems for early Apple and IBM PCs when he was 19 and his partner just 22.
It’s mushroomed in the intervening years — Statista.com reported an $89.95 billion global annual revenue for the corporation in 2017.
So whether you’re studying for an enterprise-focused MBA or taking a course that isn’t directly related to entrepreneurialism, don’t dismiss your bright business ideas.
The startup stories above show that some of the most innovative business models emerge in unlikely ways and are created by students in diverse academic disciplines.
These five brilliant businesses launched in colleges and universities prove that inspiration might strike in world-beating ways while you’re hitting the books.
Have you started a business at university? Share your story in the comments section.