Making a startup at university
One thing I cannot recommend enough is making a startup at university. Joining a society is incredible and an established organisation can help you develop key skills needed for overcoming future challenges, but there’s nothing like the challenge of entrepreneurship.
Before university, I made a startup called ReviseShare together with a friend from school which is aimed at helping connect valuable resources with students revising for A-Level exams. We made this out of frustration from the gaps in resources for the new A-Level Maths specification and learnt a lot in the process. From understanding how to build a website, to creating a business plan, to marketing our product and eventually realising that with technology, you can solve pretty much any problem, this was a steep but rewarding learning curve.
More importantly, creating a startup at university is probably the best place to make one. With students hungry for innovation and a challenge, plus with the dynamism of student life, there are always more problems you can spot and solve as an undergraduate or postgraduate.
At Warwick, there is also a student enterprise fund where you can apply for a £500 grant for your startup, giving you full reign to test the assumptions of your venture.
We decided to try this and were lucky enough to secure the £500 funding. The skills required in pitching a business and convincing others on your venture’s future will prepare you for even greater challenges beyond university.
Having pitched the whole route of entrepreneurship and after painting the rosy picture of startup life, it goes without saying that entrepreneurship is tough. There are hacks that need to be learnt and principles that need to be followed for success, which although I don’t have all the answers to, I know of people that are very close. One of those is Eric Ries. He wrote a book called the Lean Startup and it shows you how to start up the engine and begin driving your venture to the destination you want. This is an excellent book full of powerful anecdotes and principles of startup success that most if not all successful ventures follow, even if they don’t formally classify it in this way.
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.”
So if you’re entering your final, penultimate or first year at university, as well as joining societies that will give you the chance to enhance your core skills, I suggest you try and build a startup. Struggling to think of what startup to build? Try watching some of Ali Abdaal’s YouTube videos for some ideas, or visit this website that gives a ‘$1 billion’ startup idea every single day https://www.billiondollarstartupideas.com/ (I am not in any way affiliated with these, so no need to worry). Or even better, think about the challenges you can solve once in a society and maybe how other societies can benefit from the solution you come up with – using your unique perspective to come up with a solution that could help others in a similar position.