“Start now. Don’t wait for anything. Start.”
— Alberto Soto, Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) Alumnus and EO Guatemala member
Explore your endless opportunities
As a student, you have so many extra opportunities available—grants, resources and an overall willingness from society to help students. Many GSEA alumni suggest taking advantage of the safety net you have, rather than waiting to start your company when you have more to lose.
If you are a student who qualifies to compete in the GSEA competition, GSEA Alumna Rachel Zietz said you should “take advantage of every opportunity to connect with other students and make sure you attend all the workshops, events and anything that is offered. Optional or not.”
Not only should you start your entrepreneurial journey now, but GSEA alumni also suggest building your network of peers and mentors as soon as possible. Mentors will guide you in the right direction, give you feedback, and might even connect you with others from their own networks.
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, so surround yourself with others who have gone through this experience, or who are also starting their journeys.
Plan, practice and pitch
As you begin to share your story with other entrepreneurs and investors, make sure you practice your pitch, in order to be comfortable with clearly communicating your ideas and motivations.
“Believe in yourself and believe in your idea. Love your idea and put your passion into communicating that idea. Share that with the judges and have confidence in who you are and your idea,” GSEA Alumnus Nahim Aliss said.
When you are in the busy cycle of studying, preparing pitches and working on your business, GSEA Alumnus Graeme Eaglesham said it is important to plan out your day in advance in blocks—set aside time for each task, but also set aside time for yourself.
In addition to planning, many GSEA alumni stressed the importance of setting goals to stay on track.
“If I had to choose one aspect that I think brought us from where we started to today, it would be goal setting, because without it, you’re lost,” said GSEA Alumnus and EO Canada Bridge chapter member Brandan Ranaldi. “When you set specific goals, you end up doing little things on a daily basis that you might not even be aware of that are contributing to your goals.”
When you set goals and plans for yourself, it is equally as important to be persistent and consistent to achieve the next step of your student entrepreneur journey. While the big idea is important, focusing on the small details from the start will also help lead you to the next milestone.
“It is important that when you are starting and energized, you are also focused on building systems that can help you become consistent in what you are doing, because that is how you get results, by being consistent and doing the boring stuff really well,” GSEA Alumnus Given Edward said.
Share your story
In GSEA specifically, it is important to not only work hard on your business, but also share who you—the student entrepreneur behind the business—are, and what motivates you. As GSEA Alumnus Richard Cho said, “Show your boldness, bravery and leadership.”
Overall, being a successful student entrepreneur has many challenges and will be hard work. But with the right balance, a solid network and helpful tools, finding success is possible. When competing in GSEA, the number one GSEA alumni suggestion is to be transparent and confident when sharing your personal story with the judges.
“It is important to share your stories, to remember your roots, and to make sure you stick to your roots and stick to what encourages you every day, because that is what sculpts you as a person. You are competing in a competition where judges not only seek the best business plans, but also someone who loves their business idea, to make sure that person will keep going forward with the idea,” GSEA Alumna Naziba Wafa said.
Apply to compete in GSEA
If you are an undergraduate or graduate college or university student with a company in operation for at least six months with at least US$500 in generated revenue or US$1,000 in investment—you qualify to compete in the next Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.
The 2022-2023 GSEA competition season is open! Apply today for the chance to experience the journey of a lifetime.