Six Tips to Start Your Own Business at University

Six Tips to Start Your Own Business at University

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Updated May 5, 2023 Updated May 05

Sponsored by IE University

There are many reasons why starting your own business at university could actually be a good idea – including the free time, few commitments and wealth of resources and organizations to appeal to designed solely to support budding young entrepreneurs. Not to mention that, whether your venture fails or succeeds, it will speak volumes about the value you could bring to a company (such as business skills and ambition) and tremendously increase your chances of finding a job once you graduate. Read on for six tips to becoming a successful entrepreneur at university…

1. Educate yourself.

One of the benefits of starting your own business during your studies is just how many entrepreneurship courses and labs you can access (depending on your university), to train you for the world of business and provide valuable startup advice. Some universities run courses about project design and management and entrepreneurship programs like IE University’s Startup Lab, which covers various aspects of marketing, as well as funding, strategy, law and pitching.

2. Identify a problem and design your own solution.

Don’t think of this stage as a Eureka/lightbulb/shower moment. Coming up with a brilliant startup idea usually doesn’t happen in a single stroke of genius, but rather is a slow and research-heavy process of observation and problem solving. Look inwards…  Which products and services do you use the most every day and how could they be improved? Identify any inefficiencies and decide on product goals and a unique selling point.  

3. Research market trends, consumer habits and competitors.

An excellent understanding of consumer behavior is absolutely critical for any startup to last longer than a few months. You need to thoroughly research any gaps in your chosen market, consumer needs and expectations, as well as the value your competitors bring, to identify your brand’s unique selling point. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with trends within customer service, e-commerce and social media to reap the full benefits of digital transformation and enhance consumer experience and engagement.  

4. Figure out your startup funding.

There are many ways to raise startup funding including, but not limited to, seed funding firms, angel investors and venture capital firms, and investment from friends and relatives. You’ll have to decide on the best approach for you and your business. Your university should be able to provide you with the best tools, contacts and training to fund your own company. IE University organizes a Business Plan Challenge, as well as bi-annual Venture Days, to give students the chance to pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists and local entrepreneurs.

5. Develop a support network.

You should get in touch with your university’s careers team to find out about any alumni networks available to you. Reach out to other entrepreneurs and local businesses to gain relevant startup advice and contacts. Speak to your teachers about your project and find a mentor to teach you the ropes. Join Meetup groups and startup events in your city to widen your network and meet potential investors, leads and co-founders.

6. Take a nap.

Heard of Arianna Huffington? The 52nd most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes circa 2014, Huffington is an American author, columnist and also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. She regularly shells out startup advice and best business practices to help young entrepreneurs.

Huffington was recently featured in an article by, informing startup founders that they should be mindful of the damaging impact of sleep deprivation on health and brain activity. “There is this kind of founder myth that if you are a founder you can’t afford to get enough sleep,” she said, but “the truth is three-quarters of startups fail and if founders got more sleep they’d have a better chance of succeeding.”

Unleash your entrepreneurial potential at IE University

IE University supports young entrepreneurs and strives to create an environment conducive to game-changing ideas and successful startups. Students have many opportunities to network with likeminded professionals, as well as gaining support to develop their ideas, find startup funding, and present their business plans to investors and potential clients.

Are you ready to start your own business? Connect with IE University on Twitter, Facebook  and LinkedIn for careers guidance, student success stories and news about the university.


This article was originally published in May 2016 . It was last updated in May 2023

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