How daunting is it for you as a student to start your own enterprise? Are there resources and networks in Austin that can support your endeavors?
One of the biggest frustrations 3 Day Startup hears is how lonely the journey of a university student entrepreneur is. But you are not alone. The ability to find a community and collaborate with peers is essential in cultivating and refining an idea into a fully-formed business. 3 Day Startup is lucky to be located in Austin — a city that is full of opportunities to find your voice and your platform.
As Austin Startup Week boldly claims, “Austin is a big-little city and an emerging entrepreneurial hub offering a culture built on collaboration. We continue to rank high on best places to live and work. If that doesn’t do it for you, we also have awesome BBQ, fantastic live music, tons of community events, and plenty of sunshine.”
For anyone starting out, there are plenty of resources to sift through. We’ve compiled a list of organizations, resources, and programs that can help you kickstart your ventures.
- Start at your university. Find classes, professors, and student organizations that can support your endeavors and provide invaluable networking, information, and tools. Check out Longhorn Startup, a program at UT Austin that features three tracks for students with various interests in entrepreneurship. Can’t find anything at your own university? Start your own student club — this is the best way to shine a light on your own entrepreneurial interests.
- Attend some MeetUps: Austin Entrepreneurs, Austin Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association, and Open Coffee Austin are just some of the many ways to join a peer network.
- Look to Capital Factory, Central Texas Angel Network, TechStars, and Austin Technology Incubator for funding sources — but bootstrapping and angel investors (asking family and friends) may be a good place to start. Check out this well-written post on PandoDaily about some of the intricacies of Austin startups and funding culture.
- Young entrepreneurs are also finding startup capital via competitions and crowdsourcing. For example, check out the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, Do Something, Global Venture Labs Investment Competition, and Indiegogo.
- Ditch your spring break plans and stay in Austin for a few days to experience SXSW. Participate in the multitude of free events happening around the city. Check out InteractATX, previous sessions, and V2V in Las Vegas.
- Find your niche: Rise Women Entrepreneurs offers a network and resources for Austin women entrepreneurs, StartOut opened an Austin chapter for LGBT entrepreneurs, and TiE Young Entrepreneurs nurtures the next-generation of entrepreneurs from South Asian backgrounds.
The key is to take the leap and move forward, even if you don’t know 100 percent of what you are doing. 3 Day Startup refers to this concept as “learning by doing.” We believe you will get more value out of taking action, rather than just sitting on the sidelines waiting for the “perfect” moment to start your company. Perseverance and effort will also go a long way. Follow the likes of Dell, Whole Foods, Homeaway, Retail Me Not, and Indeed, and join us here in the Lone Star State!