It could also be that new methods of financing, such as crowdfunding, allow entrepreneurs to raise capital from their dorm rooms, or because business plan competitions, entrepreneurship programs and accelerators are gaining steam on university campuses, he said.
Here’s what a few local students told us about why they decided to pursue their own start-ups after graduation:
Jordan Rich, 20
University of Maryland, College Park
Government and politics major, technology entrepreneurship minor
Start-up: Escapist, a DJ and entertainment business
When Jordan Rich arrived at the University of Maryland as a freshman, he thought he’d go into politics, “maybe get involved on the Hill,” and eventually attend law school.
But as a graduating senior, Rich has decided instead to work full-time on Escapist, the event entertainment business he’s been running since he was 12 years old. Rich and his business partner, who he met at a bar mitzvah, provide music, videography and party-planning services for about 55 events a year. Rates vary depending on the event — for a bar mitzvah, for instance, the base fee is about $2,000.
After his first year of college, Rich realized he preferred working on Escapist — finding new leads and working events — to the pre-law classes he was taking. “I wanted to grow my project. Every day we find new things to do and new ways to get more business.”
Rich also trains horses for equestrian competitions through his side business, Rich Dressage. He charges about $55 an hour for 45-minute riding sessions, and operates out of a barn in Boyds, Md. Between Rich Dressage and Escapist, Rich is sure he can support himself on his own income. So far, the business has been self-funded — when he was younger, Rich used to fund equipment costs by shoveling snow.
If the business falls through, he said, he plans to work in real estate, which he thinks might require some of the same networking skills as the entertainment business. “Our DJ business is mostly referral based, and from my understanding, the way real estate works at a residential level is referrals.”
He hasn’t ruled out law school.
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I don’t know what the future holds, or where I’ll be in five years.”
Kevin Hubschmann, 21