When it comes to entrepreneurship, as Michèle Detaille puts it1, there is no ideal age. No matter how old you are when you start a business, there will be pros and cons.
Your student status means you likely have time ahead of you and little responsibility. This makes it easier to take risks.
Launching an entrepreneurial project later in life, you might capitalize on your experience and have greater financial independence.
There is no rule, anything’s possible!
Here’s a list of the various resources you can use to your advantage as a young entrepreneur:
1. Resources available through your school
In recent years, a number of universities have opened incubators for students wishing to start a business. These can give you access to free workspaces and the help of knowledgeable professionals within your university.
The University of Luxembourg inaugurated an in-house incubator in 2017. Students from all departments of the university can attend workshops, ideation camps, and networking events (here for more information2).
If you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur, it could be wise to take a course in the field. The University of Luxembourg offers a 2-year Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program to learn the most effective tools and methods for planning your project. The professionally-oriented program is internationally recognized and includes an internship period that can be devoted to developing your project (here for more information3).
If you’re leaning more toward highly innovative projects with a strong technological component, you might consider applying to a 3-year doctorate program with the Institute of Science and Technology. LIST4 is affiliated with the University of Luxembourg and aims to co-construct innovative projects in response to market challenges with various companies.
Alumni, administration and faculty
Most universities now have alumni networks that can be real goldmines. Former students are often both supportive and easy to approach. They could be your future customers or investors! Don’t be shy to get in touch with them via professional networks, at events or on other platforms managed by your university.
If you’re a student, you’re lucky enough to have an extensive network of professors and teacher-researchers within your reach, who are experts in their fields. Don’t hesitate to run your idea past them, get help with your business model and take advantage of their connections. You can also seek support from the administration. Certain departments can provide advice and guidance as to the procedures for starting a business in the best possible conditions.
2. Specialized organizations, communities and competitions
Luxembourg is home to several organizations specialized in supporting young entrepreneurs. One of the more active of the sort is Jonk Entrepreneuren5.
This non-profit association endeavours to raise awareness around and introduce Luxembourg students to entrepreneurship through different programs and projects, each targeting a given age group:
- Basic education (2 education programs aiming to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, open to children ages 9 to 12).
- Secondary education (8 programs designed for youth ages 16 to 19: innovation camps, project management awards, seminars).
- Higher education (1 program dedicated to youth ages 16 to 19: reflecting on a project and building a business model).
If you are already farther along with your project, you can also get in touch with the Junior Economic Chamber of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (JCEL). The JCEL6 is an a.b.s.l. affiliated with the Junior Chamber International (JCI7), a world federation of young talents, leaders and entrepreneurs tallying 200,000 members (minimum age of 18) from 100 countries. Every year, the JCEL organizes a contest known as Creative Young Entrepreneur Luxembourg (CYEL8), featuring: media exposure and a financial aid (prize values depending on the amount collected each year).
Feel free to send along information about active communities on the social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn), such as: the Luxembourg Federation of Young Business Leaders9. These communities often revolve around a given business sector, which promotes mutual aid and can be good to help expand your network.
3. Local support structures
Luxembourg boasts a rich local ecosystem with a number of structures dedicated to supporting and guiding entrepreneurs, from the ideation phase to making their projects a reality.
The nyuko10 team is at your disposal to challenge your idea and help you build your project, through a variety of programs. The House of Entrepreneurship11 helps entrepreneurs with administrative and legal issues related to creating a business. You can also take part in Go Digital12 workshops, organized year-round and free of charge, on a wide variety of topics (content creation on social networks, sales, website creation, etc.)
As you can see, you’re not alone! Whether to open your eyes to the realm of entrepreneurship or to get guidance for a project, you can always find the help you need.
So, talk about your projects with entrepreneurs and with those around you.
And remember there’s no ideal time to become an entrepreneur, and there’s no age for success!
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