Education or Entrepreneurship?

Everyone has heard the story: the brilliant young entrepreneur has the opportunity to attend college (and perhaps, does for a short time) only to elect to drop out in favor of his or her entrepreneurial endeavors. It's difficult to ignore the allure of the startup life, especially when college dropouts Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs serve as the most prominent success stories of the "entrepreneurship over education" path, founding Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, respectively.

In his article "Education vs. Entrepreneurship: Which Path Wins?," Forbes contributor H.O. Maycotte explores the two paths laid before young potential entrepreneurs: the uncertainty of the startup or the stability of education. The article analyzes the commencement speech Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005 in which he declares that dropping out of Reed College was "one of the best decisions I ever made."

Maycotte takes issue with Jobs' either/or approach, eventually coming to the conclusion that students no longer need to forgo higher education in pursuit of the entrepreneurial life, citing the various programs that schools and businesses have created to reach out to young entrepreneurs. The article points to the gap year program offered by many schools, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Universities like Carolina are also making sure that entrepreneurs have a support system to turn to that they would otherwise not have. 1789 is just one example of this. The University recently launched the Adams Apprenticeship, a program designed to connect UNC’s top graduate and undergraduate entrepreneurial talent with a personal board of advisors.

It seems that universities are realizing the need to be flexible and provide support for entrepreneurs, and in turn, young entrepreneurs are realizing the value of college.

Now more than ever, young entrepreneurs have the opportunity to expand their startup potential — all while continuing their education.