Top tips for student entrepreneurs

It is perfectly possible to run a business as a student. Successful student entrepreneurs have a keen eye for opportunities, a good deal of courage, and perseverance. Perhaps most importantly: they have all their affairs in order. Here are some tips to help you get there.

If you are a born & bred entrepreneur and come up with an idea, why would you wait until you graduate? With these tips on running a business as a student you can get started right away. 

  1. Interning in your own company
    If you start a business during your studies, you can usually intern in your own company or turn it into your graduation project. More and more schools, colleges, and universities are encouraging students to start their own business with Promising Entrepreneur Schemes. The exact details and requirements vary from one degree programme to the next. Ask your university, college or high school about your options. 
  2. Revenue model 
    Your revenue model is an important building block of your business plan. It is the strategy you choose to make money. There are more than 50 recognised revenue models to choose from. Check which model fits your business

  3. Legal form 
    Think about which legal form best suits your situation, your ambitions, and your business. The legal form determines your level of liability, what taxes you pay, and what tax benefits you receive. Most students choose to start an eenmanszaak or vof. If you start a vof, make clear agreements with each other and document them. 

  4. Company name 
    A good company name is key for any successful business, so choosing a name will be one of the most important (and most fun) decisions you will make. 

  5. Administrative records and tax returns 
    The Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) requires businesses to keep administrative records. It can also be very helpful: clear records paint a good picture of how your company is doing. You are required to keep your business records for 7 years. Check whether you can benefit from the small businesses scheme KOR

  6. Competitions  
     Enter competitions for young entrepreneurs. Competitions are a great way to increase your brand awareness and raise money for your business. There are numerous organisations that organise competitions, including the Entrepreneurs Organization. You can find more information online or inquire with your academic advisor.  

  7. Subsidies 
    Have you developed an innovative product? You might qualify for a subsidy or financing. 

  8. Networking and collaboration 
    Join a networking organisation or partnership. After all, if you want to go far, travel together. You could look close to home or think big and join an international organisation like Enactus, which is committed to positive social and environmental impact. 

  9.  Going abroad 
    If you are planning to go abroad for an extended holiday or an internship, for example, do not forget to file your VAT returns (every 3 months). You have to file a VAT return even if you have no income. Filing your VAT return on time is the best way to prevent a provisional VAT assessment and a fine. 

  10. Sustainable and socially responsible business 
    If making money is not your main goal, but a means to make the world a better place or if you are committed to sustainability, you can prove it with a quality mark. There are about 300 quality marks and logos for sustainable businesses. As a social entrepreneur, you could consider joining the Social Enterprise Code, for instance.