By Pat Fredshaw:
Of course, universities are some of the best places to be if you want to start a startup. For, not only are they full of bright young people, willing to take risks, but there’s a good chance that they’ll let you use a whole range of equipment when you can’t yet afford it yourself.
At the same time, not all universities are born equal. Some are fantastic if you want to incubate your idea, while others are better suited if you want to become a pastor, an accountant or would like to flip burgers with a liberal arts degree.
Today we’re going to cover the former, so that if you’ve got an idea and you’d like to learn as well as found, then you know where you’re supposed to apply.
Right at the top goes Stanford. And how could it not? After all, this university is located right in the heart of Silicon Valley, which means that you’re right where the action is. It’s not only that, but the university has countless programs geared specifically to helping you build startups that matter and even change the world.
It’s renowned for its STEM projects, as well as that it’s one of the premier research schools in the country. And that means two things:
1. They’ll teach you how to do the research and find out things for yourself. And if you want to start a new startup that’s a vital skill to have.
2. They’ve got all the gear that you might need to build your startup right there on campus so that you don’t have to fork over millions of dollars for the newest chip press or anything else that you might need.
And then there’s MIT. Of course, you’ve heard of MIT. You’ve probably even considered it. After all, they’re absolute stars at research and create a huge number of business ventures out of the gate.
They’ve even got a venture accelerator. This will give you $20,000 of equity-free funding for your idea. That’s right, they’ve got that much trust in their students that they offer you an equity free opportunity to get funding. Now if that get your startup juices flowing, I don’t know what will.
They’ve even got courses dedicated to helping you become an entrepreneur. That sounds pretty sweet, right?
A similarly high ranking school is Berkeley. It too has a specific program dedicated to making your startup a success and has awarded over a million dollars to different programs to help them get off the ground.
They’ve got over half a dozen incubator programs on campus, which means that here you can run your own company even while learning all that you need to know to make sure that your company will be a success.
It doesn’t end there, either. They’ve also got competitions that you can take part in to get that much-needed cash injection as well as the recognition that you crave (and that will no doubt launch your career).
Arguably the best-known competition is LAUNCH, which is dedicated to acting as an accelerator for the best ideas. Of course, it’s not an easy competition to win, so make sure you get all the help you can.
And then there’s Cornell University. Sure, beating those three above is hard, but Cornell makes more than a decent shot at it. They are the east coast’s version of Stanford – located as they are near the Big Apple and all that happens nearby.
And that means from here you’ve got a platform that doesn’t just launch you across the US. It can launch you across the world. Now, if that doesn’t get your startup going, then I don’t know what will.
If you manage to qualify for their programs, then you’ve got the opportunity to locate your startup on the campus, which has all types of tax benefits – like no state income tax for employees – and also means that you’ve got access to their tools, their ideas, and their staff.
What is it with LA? Why is it that so many great startup incubators are located there? Because fifth on our list is UCLA, yet another Californian-based superpower in the startup game. For example, their student Investment Fund controls over 2 million dollars in their portfolio.
They’ve got a whole range of startups operating from their campus. This includes a whole range of budding enterprises that will no doubt change the world in the years to come. There’s nanotechnology, medicine and pharmaceutics, and more. So if that’s what you’re interested in, make sure you check out their website because it really is a doozy!
And that’s only the top five. There are dozens of more, as Forbes shows in their list from last year. So, even if these are a little bit out of your league for financial or academic reasons, there are still plenty of schools to try out to push your startup.
And if these schools aren’t out of your league? Then, man am I jealous of you! As you’ve got the real potential to be one of the next big moguls rocking and shaking the foundations of the startup world.
Not sure if you can make it? Then I’ve four words for you. Try, try and try again. If they reject you then you’re exactly where you started off. And if they accept you you’re in an amazing position to make your startup dreams come true.
Oh, and in case you do make it, then I’m going to lay claim to your first copy of your signed autobiography right now. Because, if I’m not mistaken, that thing is going to be worth tens of thousands of dollars in the years to come. And that’s my little startup – collecting things off soon to be famous people.
So good luck and I’ll expect that book in the mail any day now.