Today’s world and its workplaces are changing at such an accelerated pace that it’s hard to keep up. When industry disruptions occur, traditional industry methods are overturned and give rise to new opportunities.
Thanks to the Internet’s democratization of information, more and more young people are now switching lanes in favor of entrepreneurship over the traditional 9-5 jobs. Many of today’s entrepreneurs are college dropouts that begin with starry-eyed goals but end with the discovery that they are learning more building businesses than studying in school.
Yet there is a lack of entrepreneurial ecosystems in most colleges today. Delos Chang, an entrepreneur and angel investor, is calling for creation of these ecosystems at the college level to nurture young entrepreneurs.
Young people are full of great ideas and enthusiasm but often lack the funding, mentorship and connections to kick off their ideas. For an entrepreneur to thrive, they need the right environment to minimize the painstaking struggle that most young founders have to face. Chang experienced this firsthand at Dartmouth College’s DALI Lab, a tech incubator that helped Chang bring his ideas to life. The DALI labs helped fund his project through a pitch contest. Chang hopes that by introducing similar facilities at the college level, the entrepreneurial journey will be much smoother and ultimately create more room for innovation.
The world needs more entrepreneurs; their skills are valuable, especially in a space where consumer demands are constantly shifting. Fast thinkers and their adaptable businesses are keeping pace with constant changes in demands from the market.
Besides giving students opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and investors, an entrepreneurial ecosystem could also help students get a glimpse into the entrepreneurial journey. This would help wipe away the overnight success myth but also potentially save them years of struggle.
According to Chang, a well-established college network, especially through alumni connections, can be the key to helping startups and young entrepreneurs prepare for risk.
Delos also notes that preparing students at the college level prepares students for the world. It will ensure that more students leave college as job creators and not job seekers.
Students who have immersed themselves building something during college are better prepared to adapt to the real business world with more practical skillsets. As an entrepreneur and investor, Chang understands the struggle of building yourself up and hopes to see more young entrepreneurs get the preparation they need to succeed.