Colleges play a vital role in teaching students the basics of entrepreneurship while providing support through competitions, experiential learning opportunities, mentorships, accelerator programs, and startup labs. Most importantly, many schools provide a network of alumni who may want to mentor or invest in these students.
The best colleges for startups are primarily located on the East and West coasts. The heart of West Coast entrepreneurship lies in Silicon Valley, spreading north to Seattle and south to Los Angeles. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia make up the majority of the East Coast hubs. About half of the schools on our list are located in these six areas. In order to foster connections with coastal industries, some inland schools offer entrepreneur-focused campuses on the coast, while others offer internship opportunities or summer programs in those locations.
Most of these entrepreneurial programs are offered by large research universities or Ivy League schools, as they often possess the business, engineering, and liberal arts programs needed to stimulate the flow of ideas. These schools also tend to boast influential alumni networks.
Like many schools, Cornell infuses entrepreneurship across its campus, finding and developing a spirit of entrepreneurship within its various colleges and disciplines. To encourage entrepreneurship on campus, the school offers incubators, accelerators, labs, funding opportunities, and internship programs. Students can gather at the eHub, a collaborative working space, or apply to participate in eLab, the school’s accelerator program for student startups. Students involved with eLab receive one-on-one mentorship, professional legal consultations, and can attend events with Cornell’s large network of alumni entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship at Cornell receives support from a committed advisory council of more than 100 members. StartUpTree compiles a list of startups enacted by Cornell alumni. In total, these startups have secured more than $10 billion in funding. Some well-known companies with roots at Cornell include Blackboard, Change.org, Lyft, and Wayfair.