Are you a student who wants to start a business? Recognize your resources

This four-part series, a service of Penn State’s Small Business Development Center, will discuss some of the topics that every aspiring student entrepreneur should know. The monthly series was written by Penn State Outreach News Bureau intern Dane Vanover.

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own business?

You’re not alone.

Interest in entrepreneurship has been growing recently, especially among students and young professionals.

If you already have an idea, the first place to start is Penn State’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC offers free, confidential consulting on everything from idea feasibility to market analysis and drafting of business plans.

“We help entrepreneurs think about what questions to ask so they can get the answers they need to succeed,” said Linda Feltman, SBDC senior business consultant of student entrepreneurship.

The SBDC offers a host of other resources for students, including instructional seminars and community connections. Consulting appointments can be made online or by attending drop-in hours at Kunkle Lounge from 4-5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Students with no start-up idea, yet, can still join the entrepreneurship community. The University launched the Entrepreneurship and Innovation minor last year, which consists of core business and other specialized classes with an entrepreneurial focus.

Additionally, each of the following organizations collaborates with the SBDC, providing members with invaluable real-world experience and networking opportunities:

-- Nittany Consulting Group, a student extension of the SBDC, works with clients at Kunkle Lounge and other SBDC clients as assigned.

-- Happy Valley Communications (HVC) is a student-run communications firm that works with startup, local and national businesses.

-- IST Consulting Group is a student-run IT consulting organization that provides pro-bono technology consulting to small businesses and student organizations in the areas of web, mobility, cloud and social media.

-- Nittany Entrepreneurs is a chapter of the USA Chamber Society. This organization seeks to pair local businesses looking for interns with students looking for experience.

-- Innoblue has an active and interdisciplinary club membership and features many great educational workshops, inspirational guest speakers, team building exercises, brainstorming sessions and more Innoblue will once again be spearheading ‘1000 Pitches’ this fall.

-- Professional Management Association allows members to network with professionals while developing leadership and managerial skills. This association perform community service, hear lectures from corporate guest speakers and have several networking mixers and instructional workshops throughout the year.

-- Ad Club is a chapter of the American Advertising Federation. The Donald W. Davis Penn State chapter provides opportunities to meet and interact with advertising professionals, all while allowing students to gain skills for internships and job placements.

-- New Leaf Initiative is a home to mission driven entrepreneurs in downtown State College. Located on the third floor of the State College Municipal Building, the shared space allows entrepreneurs to connect ideas with resources in the community.

Each of these organizations also aids the SBDC in running Penn State’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) each November. GEW, scheduled for Nov. 16-20, is a weeklong series of events directed at students and community members interested in entrepreneurship. Currently GEW occurs in 140 different countries and Penn State’s 2013 program ranked second in the nation for overall attendance and number of events.

To get started on a business idea, contact the SBDC at 814-863-4293 or Request Assistance online.

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Last Updated August 27, 2014