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According to a survey of Generation Y workers (those ages 18-29), the third-most common college major for that group is "entrepreneurial studies," and there are now 2,364 post-secondary institutions offering entrepreneurship and small business programs. Even if these students don’t become an entrepreneur, chances are they may go on to get a job with a young, venture-backed company or work for an established corporation that is taking cues from startups and acting entrepreneurially in an effort to compete in the global economy.
We have a vibrant, growing collegiate entrepreneurial ecosystem whose members share a commitment to educating students, alumni and community members about entrepreneurship and actively contribute to the thriving entrepreneurial community in Northeast Ohio. Here are ten great reasons for students to start a business or work for an innovative company in Northeast Ohio.
- Many entrepreneurship education programs and hands-on, experiential opportunities like Venture For America available to ambitious students. In addition, a growing number of area colleges and universities have opened branches of Blackstone LaunchPad, a resource to support student entrepreneurs and kickstart business ideas.
- Internships abound in the region, from the student experiences required of Innovation Fund recipient companies to the database of opportunities available to students through NOCHE/neointern.
- Want to meet entrepreneurs who are making things happen? There are low-cost and free events and meetings so you can meet other entrepreneurs. Find one you’d like to attend on JumpStart's constantly updated events calendar.
- The region has plenty of entrepreneurial competitions that will let you test your idea, network and maybe even win the capital you need to get started. In fact, two winners of the LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Awards business idea competition have gone on to make Bloomberg's list of the "Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25 in America."
- Not sure of the first steps you need to take to start a business? Free business assistance is available from a variety of sources in the region including small business development centers and the Council of Smaller Enterprises. A full resource map is here.
- Along with capital, connections and advisors, many entrepreneurs need affordable space in which they can test their technologies and launch their business. Incubators such as the Braintree Business Development Center, the Incubator at MAGNET, Youngstown Business Incubator and the Akron Global Business Accelerator offer just that.
- Great technologies come from great centers of research and innovation. Northeast Ohio has many forward-thinking hubs, such as Cleveland Clinic Innovations, Kent State University and the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, to name a few.
- Here in Northeast Ohio, we're placing our bets on young, innovative companies and have developed funds to support them at all stages.
- There are some rather impressive tech-based entrepreneurs in the region from whom you can learn, either at a networking event or by hearing their stories of attracting investment, making key hires, pivoting their company or pursuing a patent.
- It's your chance to be a rock star. Northeast Ohio is eager to gain brains and new businesses. Put your talents to work here and you have a chance to make a real difference in the community.