Is College Necessary for Entrepreneurs?

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The problem is simple: There aren’t enough people who have dreams of being an entrepreneur and according to those in the know, the days may be gone where young people take the traditional route of going to college, graduating, and working for a big company. The problem is that big companies don’t tend to grow so when we look at the big picture, there aren’t jobs available at these companies on a large scale basis.

This leaves two options: Go to work for a smaller existing business or start a business of your own and as our economy remains weak, more and more economists are encouraging people to go in to business for themselves. For those who are planning to form a business, the question is often asked, “do I need a college education if I’m going to be an entrepreneur?”

Those who believe successful business startups can have owners who never received a college education often mention people like Bill Gates as the reason why a college education isn’t required. They believe that when you have a special talent such as technology skills or an idea that is truly innovative, your business can thrive without higher education and without the burden of student loans, you can afford to build your new business without the personal overhead of loan payments. There is no doubt that in some cases that is true.

The other side of it still favors taking the time to to get the education. As one California mathematician puts it, money plus brains plus contacts equals success as a small business owner. Although brains are the obvious benefit from getting a college education, even more, college students gain valuable contacts as they study with those people who will soon enter the same industry. Those contacts introduce you to other contacts which sets you up with opportunities as soon as the doors open at your new business startup.

Finally, if you’re entering an industry where formal education is highly valued, you must go to college before entering the workforce. As one prominent business owner stated, “you can’t get in to the country clubs without an education.”

What does this mean for the budding entrepreneur? The rewards of a college education still far outweigh the negatives. Another fact to remember about being an entrepreneur is that you could follow the path of Mark Zuckerburg and start your business while you’re still in school. Many entrepreneurs have done just that and used the wealth of contacts they gained to rapidly grow their business.

Don’t skip school. You’re business will probably be more successful in the end.