Gone are the days when a recent college grad looked for job security in a large company. Today, jumping into the uncertain world of startups is becoming a popular alternative. The road has been paved by those who embarked on their own businesses with only a laptop, internet connection and seed money, with impressive results.
It’s not all billion-dollar IPOs though; The Wall Street Journal reports that three out of every four startups fail. Nevertheless, recent grads are determined to beat the odds, and they’re proving it by flocking to startups in droves.
Why startups are the next big thing
In a world where corporate downsizing has become commonplace, entrepreneurship is replacing the old tradition of climbing the business ladder. Investors know a good thing when they see it, contributing seed money to 1,749 tech startups this year, an increase of 64 percent over last year, according to The Boston Globe.
Though money is necessary to get these dreams off the ground, becoming millionaires is not always the driving force behind those who join startups. Forbes points out that working at a startup offers new grads the chance to make an impact, an opportunity that might be lacking in an entry-level company position. The ‘crash course’ of a startup allows for quick learning, hours can be flexible and the meritocracy culture is a big draw.
For new grads with no dependents or established career, trying out a startup makes even more sense. “At a startup you don’t know if a few months down the line you could lose your job,” explains Ron Shapiro, an Android engineer at Venmo. “Because we don’t have a family to support we are able to take those risks.” Small is clearly appealing to those who have just graduated; according to Payscale, 47 percent of “Generation Y” grads work at companies that employ 100 people or less, and only 23 percent work with businesses that employ 1500 or more people.
Colleges are getting into the act as well, reports The Boston Globe. Harvard University’s iLab is a dedicated place where startups founded on campus can grow and thrive. The Yale Entrepreneur Institute has seen a 20 percent increase in applications for the startup accelerator program. University of Texas is similarly engaging the young tech industry in Austin, while North Carolina has Research Triangle, a draw for students at Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
And that’s just the tip of the entrepreneurial iceberg: between 1975 and 2006, the number of innovation centers at universities soared from 104 to more than 500. University faculty have also embraced the new direction of today’s workforce, with over 9,000 faculty teaching entrepreneurship courses in 2013.
As more recent graduates move into startups, the landscape of business might be undergoing a fundamental shift. “In 2010, not nearly as many people were talking about going into startups,” Caitlin Strandberg, a 2010 Cornell University graduate who worked with two startups before landing with Flybridge Capital Partners, told Forbes. “I started hearing the term ‘startup mania’ a little less than a year ago and that’s when I really started noticing colleges put a lot more effort into innovation labs.”
After all, startups are responsible for some of the constant innovations that touch our daily lives. Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr are just a few of the startups that turned into big business. Today’s aspiring entrepreneurs see a world of possibility every time they open up their laptop, and for that reason alone, startups could be here to stay.
This article was originally published on OnlineDegrees.com