Galvanising the University Population Around Tech Startups
It’s no surprise that tech startups are fast approaching a level of popularity previously ascribed to Katy Perry. The Social Network - a look at the meteoric rise of the now-ubiquitous Facebook - has helped fuel this growth and encourage university students to consider a path through the startup world.
Eschewing banks and briefcases for mockups and moleskins, many university students are keen on the idea of joining a startup, but are largely unaware of just how to go about doing such a thing (though some, like the university-aged founders of GoSquared - a real-time web analytics service - are a few steps ahead).
It’s no surprise that startups are intrinsically connected to the notion of economic growth - positive or negative - and in a world that is marred by the failure of big banks and the like, these companies are increasingly seen as drivers of such growth. London is ranked as the 8th largest startup ecosystem in the world, and the largest in Europe, as reported by the Startup Genome. As a mecca that also attracts a similarly large number of university students, the city is positioned to continue this growth well into the future.
The thriving startup community in the city is already doing its part in supporting the energy students are showing about getting involved. Matthew Stafford’s Student Upstarts is an investment organisation focused on making investments in student-run startups. In exchange for 8% equity, Student Upstarts will invest up to £15k. The group is holding a business hackathon for interested students. An organisation that supports student ventures financially is just one effort in a larger wave of galvanising the student population around startups.
A recent transplant to London, General Assembly, is also super keen on getting students engaged in the ecosystem. Aside from offering a slew of courses on any number of topics related to startups, they are hosting a brunch for university student entrepreneurs in early December.
This city has a real opportunity to engage the future entrepreneurial leaders of the world, and is making real strides towards doing so. But there is still much to be done. The startup community here needs to continue to offer meaningful experiences that challenge, encourage, and develop the smart university population here.
Photo (cc) Christopher Bowns