Start a Venture
Having an "idea," or if you're skilled, recognizing an opportunity, is not enough to be successful as an entrepreneur. You also have to be capable of executing that idea, meaning that an idea is only as valuable as your ability to implement it.
What does this mean? Say you followed our guidance on finding ideas and just came up with an concept for the next big mobile app, or the next big social media platform, or something similar. That's great! Now ask yourself: "Do I have the skills to BUILD, LAUNCH, and SCALE this idea as a venture?" If you're thinking to yourself, "I don't need to build it, I can sell my idea," you're in for a fairly harsh reality check. Investors don't buy ideas. They generally don't invest in idea-stage concepts, either. They invest in execution and traction because that is what reduces the risk of their investment.
This is something commonly misunderstood by aspiring entrepreneurs: your idea is only as valuable as your ability to execute it. Don't let this discourage you, though! Launching a startup is a HUGE job, and it is generally too big of a job for one person. So, If you don't have all the skills you need to develop your idea, is your entrepreneurial journey dead before it started? No way! Entrepreneurship is better as a "team sport," per se. Smart, successful entrepreneurs craft a vision for the future, develop the details around the opportunity and their proposed solution and then pitch that vision to people that have the skills they need to move forward. Yes, you have smaller share of the overall pie. But you have to ask yourself: "Would I rather have a big portion of a tiny pie (or no pie at all), or a smaller portion of a HUGE pie?"
Launching a Venture at UofM
While the path is steep, we can help you make it less so. You don't have to be in a rush to find potential co-founders, but you do have to proactively do something to find them - they aren't going to come to you! Some good ideas are to attend our Crews Kickbacks, Idea Hackathons, or any other session on our event calendar. These are great places to meet other aspiring student entrepreneurs with different skills and talents from all across the campus. You can also consider an Entrepreneurial Founder certification from our Emerging Entrepreneur Institute, which is our top tier certification for entrepreneurs that actually launch a company. Lastly, you can leverage our Ad-hoc Mentoring Program to customize a less structured path to help launch your business.
Limited legal help is available to help you form a legimitate Limited Liability Company, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, or whatever legal structure best suits your needs and goals. We generally need to vet you and your idea for a bit before offering this resource, so we encourage you to engage with us via one of the programs mentioned above.
Funding a Venture
Many, many student entrepreneurs struggle with how to generate enough capital to launch a venture. You're not alone - most entrepreneurs struggle with this. If it was easy, everyone would do it! There are things you can do to set yourself up in the best possible way, irrespective of your gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or other demographics. We even have a small-scale seed fund to help offset the initial costs for starting a business, whether to help form the company, purchase initial inventory, purchase a key piece of equipment or other similar obstacles. We generally only make investments in students/companies that we've been working with for a while and have thoroughly vetted, so the best way to set yourself up for a seed fund grant is to get engaged in one or more of our support programs.