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Alternatives to Uber to Fund Your Business While in College

Funding Your Business in College

This is Part 11 of our Back to College series, which aims to help college students thrive as small business owners. In Part 10, we covered keeping yourself protected when starting a business with a classmate. To view all the posts in the series, click here.

 

Alternatives to Uber to Fund Your Business While in College

One of the challenges of starting a business is getting seed capital to help launch your business and get it off the ground. Many college student entrepreneurs work a part-time job to make extra cash, and there are a lot of money-making opportunities such as driving for Uber or Lyft, or working at a restaurant. But what if you need some other creative options to earn or raise money to fund your new business idea?

Here are a few creative ways to get funds for your business while you’re in college:

 

Crowdfunding:

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to raise money for new products or entirely new businesses. If you have a knack for social media and know how to craft a compelling story for your business, online crowdfunding might be the answer to your funding needs.

 

Business plan contests:

If you’re a student at an undergraduate (or graduate) business school that has a startup incubator, there might be an annual business plan contest where you can pitch your business idea to business experts and even real investors for a chance to earn prize money or get connected with venture capital. Don’t be afraid to try – even if you don’t win the prize money, it will still be a valuable experience that can help you hone your sales pitch and get better at thinking through the value proposition of your business, giving presentations, and selling your business to new audiences.

 

Fundraising Events:

Do you know any friends who are in a band or who have some performing arts talent? Maybe they can join you in putting on a show or hosting a concert to help raise money for your business. Just make sure you can raise enough money to pay your creative talent! Just because they’re “artists” doesn’t mean they love to work for free.

 

Pop-up Preview Events:

One of the best ways to market a business and build excitement for a new product or new business idea is to give away samples. A recent trend has been the rise of “pop-up” restaurants and pop-up small businesses: short-term customer experiences and business marketing events that enable entrepreneurs to test a new product idea or explore a new concept, but without the huge overhead costs of launching a permanent brick-and-mortar location. By doing pop-up events for your new business idea, you can bring your idea directly to customers and let them give you feedback – you can see what sells, what works, and what needs to improve. This can be a valuable experience to learn more about what people really want to buy and how you can adapt your product to better suit the needs of your customers – and you can make money along the way without a lot of financial risk. Pop-ups tend to work particularly well for restaurants or food-and-beverage businesses – think of food carts or smoothie stands. Or you can use the pop-up concept for retail, fashion design, handcrafted merchandise or artwork, or many other types of business. It all depends on what you want to sell: use a limited-time “pop-up” experience to do a test run and share your product with a small initial audience, and then make money and build momentum toward a bigger launch in the future.

 

College students might feel like they are in a disadvantaged situation when it comes to getting funds to start a business – after all, most college students are racking up student loans, eating ramen noodles, and might have only recently gotten approved for their first credit card. But the truth is, with a bit of creativity, community building, and a lot of determination, you can find some fun and innovative ways to raise money for your business idea.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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