Entrepreneurship At Gies

Manu Edakara of iVenture Accelerator

Manu Edakara, Associate Director, Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership

I’m going to be a college student and I have a business idea. How can I use my college experience to help me develop that?

College is the best time to start working on making your idea a business! Think about it; very few responsibilities (time), tons of like-minded ambitious dreamers around you (potential co-founders), and a slew of grants and opportunities specific for student entrepreneurs (money). College should be utilized as an experimental playground, where you get to test your idea, get feedback and support, reiterate and learn.

All businesses start with one simple concept: solving a problem. How do you know if you’re solving a problem? Find people that you think suffer from that problem and interview them. You cannot build something worthwhile unless it is valuable and useful to a potential customer. Talk to potential users beforehand. Utilize their pain points and their perspective to guide you in creating something truly useful, something people are willing to pay for.

At Gies, we’re very fortunate to have entrepreneurship woven into our curriculum and programming.

In our Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, we have tons of opportunities for students interested in innovation and change-making, such as the 3 Day Startup (a weekend program focused on creating social and environmental impact), the Entrepreneurship Workshop (taking a tour of cities like Chicago to see the different types of careers entrepreneurship can lead you to), Map the System (exploring problems related to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals), EntreCORPS (consulting for startups), Entrepreneurs Without Borders (learning about social innovation in global markets), and the iVenture Accelerator, the educational accelerator for the top student startups at the University of Illinois. As you can see, entrepreneurship is a spectrum, and not a one size fits all. Use college to figure out what works best for you!

Read more about Gies on our Partner Publisher page.