Generation Z (those born in the mid-1990s) is poised to become one of the most entrepreneurial generations yet, thanks in no small part to their parents. While children of previous generations may have gone to summer camp to learn to tie knots or shoot a bow & arrow, Gen Z kids were often learning how to put together a great powerpoint presentation or make a solid pitch.
Colleges and universities are also giving Gen Z a leg up by offering a wide range of classes, resources, hubs, and programs aimed at fostering this entrepreneurial spirit. One collegiate organization that is and has always been the perfect incubator for entrepreneurial enterprises is the Greek system.
Here is a primer on how to leverage Greek life to maximize entrepreneurial potential.
Leverage the perks of a closed group
Sororities and fraternities are not only interconnected across campus but also across the country and the world. Brotherhoods and sisterhoods are also very social, which gives you access to a vast network of contacts with whom you already share a bond.
Greek organizations currently boast about 9 million members. This means you just never know who might be available to help give a budding business idea a boost. By simply talking with members of your house about your business ideas, you may find yourself in touch with the right person to advise you on how to shepherd your idea into a full-fledged business.
And not just once, but often again and again throughout the entire process.
These closed collegiate organizations have other benefits as well. Your peers can be your first clients and consumers, but also your test market. If they actually like your product or service, they can also be a powerful marketing force.
There is no doubt that social media marketing can be a powerful force, and the majority of your brothers and sisters will all have social media accounts to give your business a boost. In fact, if your startup turns into a developed business, some of your Greek peers may become your first employees.
Connect to successful Greekpreneurs
Some of the most successful business owners and CEOs were once a part of a sorority or a fraternity. In fact, according to the Fraternity Advisor, fraternity men lead 43 of the nation’s 50 largest corporations, and 85% of the executives topping the Fortune 500 came out of the Greek system.
Former fraternity and sorority members can be some of your best mentors and provide the most powerful support. In fact, they may even provide much-needed capital or funding.
When a successful graduate came from the Greek system, they know the opportunities it offers. They also know your chances of success are higher just for being a part of the club. While they may not know you, they may invest in your startup because they know what coming out of the Greek system means.
Even if powerful alums don’t invest in your company that doesn’t mean they don’t have other valuable benefits to offer. They can help you get jobs, meetings and other valuable “ins” that you may need along the way.
Join your organization’s official online community for networking and their LinkedIn group if they have them. Take advantage of any networking events or mixers, particularly if they involve alumni. Always have an “elevator pitch” ready and keep a list of questions handy.
If you prepare, these events may give you an opportunity for information and support
You have accessible business partnerships
Keep in mind that all your Greek colleagues belong to the same entrepreneurial generation as you do.
While the ability to take a startup from incubation to completion is something few will accomplish but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the help and support of others with a similar entrepreneurial mindset.
Some of the largest corporations, such as Apple, Facebook and Microsoft were all started through partnerships. While one person may have been the driving force behind the organization and became the “face” of the company, they were all a team effort.
In fact, college students involved in Greek life have already launched several successful startups such as Snapchat and Thrillist.
Fraternities and sororities encourage philanthropy. Sometimes, best business ideas come from a desire to make collegiate life a little better. A desire to have a healthier life in college created Shake Smart, a company providing different food options for students.
Even if you don’t graduate with a successful startup ready to reach the next level, just being a part of Greek life offers you a wide range of transferable skills. Being a fraternity or sorority president, for instance, teaches you a wide range of valuable skills from time management to critical people skills.
The takeaway thought
No matter what you end up doing with your time in Greek life, just being a part of it can offer you a wealth of benefits. From valuable contacts around the world to critical advice, mentorship, and guidance to crucial lifelong friendships.
Sometimes the relationships you build in college provide benefits for the rest of your life.
This is true of many college friendships, but when pledges live together under the same roof for four years, it can build rich friendships that can withstand the many tests of time.