Found an interesting article on student entrepreneurs when researching Under Armour founder Kevin Plank. This article, by Archana Rajan, highlights some of the actions that various colleges and universities (including the Smith School at the University of Maryland — where Plank studied) are doing to support and encourage student entrepreneurs.
While profiling Maryland Grad and CrookedMonkey T-Shirts founder Micha Weinblatt, Rajan writes,
Now 26 years old, Weinblatt owns a business that has booked more than $700,000 in sales during 2009. And he couldn’t have done it without the help he got from the University’s of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship–a business boot camp that helps students create, launch and grow their own companies.
“The Dingman Center has been a tremendous source of advice for me, especially since I didn’t go to the business school,” says Weinblatt. Advice provided by the center taught him essential business skills, like how to forecast and monitor sales. It introduced him to a network of like-minded student entrepreneurs he could rely on for support and as a sounding board for new ideas. And it provided access to a network of successful entrepreneurs outside the school.
Weinblatt then describes his various interactions with Kevin Plank. From Rajan:
“During one of their meetings, Plank told him to concentrate on what the company does best; as a result, CrookedMonkey focused on its strength in the wholesale business, as opposed to selling directly to consumers over the Internet. Weinblatt says the advice helped the company succeed despite a recession.
Its great to hear that Dingman and Plank are available to students from across the campus and not just the business school. This is a sign of an open, diverse entrepreneurial eco-system on campus.
There are compelling statistics surrounding the growth of entrepreneurship centers and classes and many insights into the low-risk nature of founding a firm while on campus.
Other schools and programs mentioned include MIT, University of California Berkely, University of Pennsylvania, and Northeastern University.
There is pictorial with the article titled In Pictures: Dorm Room Entrepreneurs