So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

By Jill Anick

As the glow of being back on campus fades and life settles into the routine of study, parties, exams, club events and trying to cram as much life experience as possible into 2 or 4 years, you may find yourself thinking “What am I going to do with my life and what kind of impact will I make?” Well, why not explore entrepreneurship? There are many reasons to pursue an entrepreneurial path – including research that suggests entrepreneurs end up happier and more satisfied – and they’ve been well detailed on this and other sites. I’m going to give you some tips about how to get started, whether you have a great business idea or just want to investigate opportunities.

Of course, there are opportunities to get involved with research and there are many classes you can take to support your entrepreneurial journey, but if you really want to get your hands dirty, Wharton Entrepreneurship has a number of co-curricular, experiential learning programs you can get involved in.

Penn Student Entrepreneur Engagement Opportunities (click on image to enlarge)

This slide details how you can engage in Wharton Entrepreneurship’s co-curricular programs, depending on what stage you are in exploring entrepreneurship. For example, if you have a fully developed business idea, have done market research, talked to customers, defined a business model, and have all the essential members of a team, then you could apply to the Venture Initiation Program, our educational business incubator. If you have an idea, but it still needs to be developed, you could participate in our Business Plan Competition or intern at a start-up over the summer to learn how a business works from the inside. If you’re not sure if entrepreneurship is right for you, then you can have a candid discussion with a successful entrepreneur as part of our Entrepreneur in Residence Program and learn about our alumni and current student entrepreneurs’ successes through our social media platforms.

All Penn students are eligible to apply and participate in our programs (except the Wharton Venture Award, which is for Wharton MBA 1st years & juniors only). In addition to the wealth of resources available through Wharton Entrepreneurship, there are loads of resources for student entrepreneurs both on campus and in the Philadelphia region, including Penn’s Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, the PennApps Hackathon, the Weiss Tech House, the Founders Club and MBA & Undergrad Entrepreneurship Clubs, co-working spaces (General Assembly, Indy Hall, Venturef0rth, Quorum), accelerators (DreamIt Ventures), Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and many more – not to mention the community of engaged, passionate and dedicated students and alumni!

So, as many students and alums will tell you, there’s no time like the present to get started on an entrepreneurial path. And as you can see – there are plenty of ways to get started! We hope you’ll join us to learn more at our Open House on Wednesday, September 12th (5 – 6pm) in Hoover Lounge (1st floor Vance Hall).

We wish you the best of luck on your journey and can’t wait to see what you accomplish!