Education Tips For Future Entrepreneurs
Written by Ken Gaebler
With college costs skyrocketing, future entrepreneurs need to be smarter about funding their business educations.
The cost of education is skyrocketing and millions of U.S. college students are taking on extraordinary amounts of debt to finance their college careers. But for future entrepreneurs, educational debt can present a barrier to entrepreneurial success, creating financial burdens that threaten to eclipse their eventual business goals.
"With student loans now accounting for nearly 9 percent of consumer debt, this is a very real issue that could well put a damper on future innovation in this country," says Shamus McConomy, vice president at GTE Financial. "We think it's important to provide additional information and options to help tomorrow's entrepreneurs get started earlier and with fewer impediments."
The reality is that there are plenty of good resources for starting a business out there. To help future entrepreneurs get started on the right foot, McConomy offers several tips for an entrepreneurial education--many of which offer educational value without incurring the high cost of traditional degrees.
- Graduate degrees. Graduate degrees may not be the best investment for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially if you plan to hire yourself no matter how many degrees you have.
- Business plan competitions. By participating in business plan competitions, future entrepreneurs gain access to advice from experts who can help them avoid startup mistakes.
- Internships. Industry-based internships are a great way to get practical, firsthand knowledge about the type of business entrepreneurs hope to launch.
- Small business incubators. Small business incubators (often located at universities) offer coaching, workshops and other resources at little or no cost.
- Financing. By identifying investors and working toward an SBA loan proposal while they are in college, young entrepreneurs can secure the capital they will need to start their companies.
- Part-time jobs. Part-time evening and weekend jobs enable young entrepreneurs to pay the bills during the early stage of their businesses. In many cases, earnings from part-time jobs can also be used to retire student loans early.
Finally, McConomy points out that there is an abundance of community support programs for entrepreneurs of all ages. The key is for young entrepreneurs to identify these programs and take advantage them as a way to offset oversized student loan debt loads.
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