Have you ever wanted to start a business but not quite sure how? Learning from others in business who have first-hand experience or can mentor you through some of the basics can sometimes be the key to getting off the ground. Startup accelerators can prove to be exactly what is needed. With close mentorship and educational components, individuals can start either for- or non-profit companies. At Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, PA, students have one specific opportunity to enable this articulate thought. In the case of starting a business, the Impact Venture Challenge that is hosted on campus has become the focal point for entrepreneurship.

The bulk of the story

In short, the Impact Venture Challenge does just that of a startup accelerator; giving mentors to students along with adding the educational learning piece to give students the knowledge they will need to start their own business. Hosting workshops to teach accounting, marketing and even how to pitch your idea, students hopefully have a better grasp on what their business plan. Speaking of business plans, groups are expected to submit detailed plans of how they will implement their product or service, along with figuring out their market demographics and future plans for how they will use their prize money.

There’s money involved?

The Impact Venture Challenge Finale gives the chance for six finalist teams to win up to $5,000; having 1st win $5,000, 2nd $3,000 and 3rd $2,000. Now this is a sizable winning for most teams therefore their plans have been vetted through a committee as well as having to pitch their business idea to six judges on the night of the Finale. This tests the knowledge of the teams as they need to figure out all the strengths and weaknesses that their plan may have—being able to enter a market with their idea or service while making money in the long-run is quite critical.

All this being said…

The consensus seems to be that the Impact Venture Challenge is a great way to get students interested in business while still in college. Sparking that enthusiasm now may help to get creative thinkers in the mindset that there is no need to wait, why not start a business in college?

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