Funding the Future


Success stories like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have young people abuzz with entrepreneurial spirit. Gone are the days of slacking off in college. In 2013, starting your own business in tandem with earning your degree has earned college students "rock star" status. Those kids who can list "CEO" on their LinkedIn page before listing "Graduate" are celebrities. But is this just a viral fad? Or is this the future of business...

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, "data crunchers" are hailed as the new "cool kids on campus." Statisticians, once reserved for the nerd table at the dining hall, can now hold their heads higher as demand for their skills is growing as fast as big data itself. Credit can be given in part to the fantastic schools that are pioneering new programs to provide data analytics and big data management training to their students. These schools include MIT, Northwestern, Harvard, U Ottawa, and NYU.

The current generation of undergraduates represents a selection of young adults with an unprecedented advantage over their more seasoned counterparts in the workforce -- these "millenials" grew up in the internet and technology, and were molded by it. As a result, they have a propensity to adapt to any new technologies that are thrown at them. Not to mention, it has been no secret that the current job market is hostile and volatile, and there's no guarantee these undergrads can find a job. So, what do some students do?

Be their own boss.

As startups have seen increased success and publicity, it seems that anybody can have a great idea and turn it into a profitable venture, and that's exactly what university students across the globe have been doing. A recent article in the Business Insider hails 16 outstanding student startups that have made waves with their ideas. From a student at Duke University who turned toilet paper into reading material and sold ad space to two kids from UT Austin who are using big data to help first-responders and stroke patients, these students are turning real-life problems into real-life solutions and companies.

And no, these startups aren't being financed through trust funds or handouts, but through the hard work and arduous tenacity of these students. From vicious competitions both internal to universities and external nationwide/worldwide competitions, these fledgling startups work hard for their success, and it's clear that it's paid off.

And so, in a future that seems to have big data, technological know-how, and forward-thinking as prerequisites for success, these young professionals, and their innovative startups are shining brightly as beacons of hope for the future. Benjamin Franklin said "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." Time to test that theory.

Faithfully Yours,

Captain Dash