Can I become an entrepreneur without a degree?

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Most of us are made to believe that going to university is essential if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, but apparently, this is old school…

Young entrepreneurs are opting for the debt-free route and forgetting about a formal education and instead concentrating on creating their own empire without a degree in-hand. There is no doubt that a lot of jobs require a degree but can you build a profitable business without higher education?

It has been argued that many traineeships do not give students the key skills they need for certain jobs. Recently, universities have been awarded £4.5m to develop 5,200 degree level apprenticeships. Because of this, the Institute for Public Policy Research has announced they want lower level apprenticeships replaced by a pre-apprenticeship programme which will address the “distinct needs” of 16-18 year olds. Apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon said they were part of the governments scheme to ensure people of all backgrounds get good opportunities. Robert said he is “incredibly proud” that the government have created over two million new apprenticeships since 2010 and introducing Apprenticeship Levy so that the largest companies are able to support training costs and needs of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The infamous Apple entrepreneur Steve Jobs dropped out of the costly Reed College, an education his parents could not afford, and said, “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.” In 2011, when Jobs sadly passed away, his net worth was $10.2 billion and he had a net worth of a million dollars aged just 23.

Another well-respected businessman is the popular Sir Richard Branson who has a net worth that is said to be around $5.1 billion. The founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile and other Virgin brands, didn’t complete high school, in fact Branson dropped out at 16 years of age and was dyslexic. Branson advocates the importance of education and says he strongly believes that schools ought to be doing a better job when supporting entrepreneurs and states that funding should be made more available for them. According to the English entrepreneur, the key to success is intention. He says, “A day without intention is a day wasted” and believes that without intention, there can be no productivity which does not lead to any success. In more recent news, Virgin has been handed a contract to run 200 NHS services, making Virgin the first private firm to run adult social care after winning a “controversial” £700m contract, says the Mirror.

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Larry Ellison, former CEO of Oracle, is said to have quit two different colleges and always aimed to create a working environment that he thoroughly enjoyed. It has been reported that his net worth is a massive $48.8 billion after he built databases for the CIA and co-founded Software Development Laboratories in 1977 which became Oracle Systems Corporation 5 years later.

Michael Dell, founder of Dell computers, has a net worth of $20.5 billion. In contrary to those mentioned previously, Dell did attend the University of Texas, but after a short while, he quit. He started forming the basics of Dell in his student accommodation. At just 27 years ago, Dell was the younger CEO on the Fortune 500 list.

Another famous entrepreneur without a degree is Lord Alan Sugar who, at age 14, left school to start his own business selling aerials and repaired televisions. Later he started up Amstrad in 1968 and by 1980 it was one of the biggest manufacturers of personal computers.

Best known for her lifestyle and beauty channel on YouTube, Zoe Suggs (Zoella) did her A-levels but decided that university just wasn’t for her and chose to do an apprenticeship with a design company. So, in 2009, she started her vlog (video blog) and now she has written books and brought out her out beauty range. Young girls from across the world watch Zoella as she reviews makeup and other beauty products.

Lastly, another amazing talent is that of the founder of luxury Chanel fashion, Coco Chanel, who was born in 1883. The fashion empire started at Chanel’s orphanage where she was taught to sew by the nuns who educated her. In 1921 Chanel launched its very first fragrance Chanel No5 which is a timeless classic that is still extremely popular today. Little is known about the owners of Chanel, however the company’s net worth is estimated over $19.billion.

As previously mentioned, these days it is not absolutely essential to have a degree, although in most cases it can make things much easier. An entrepreneur creates his or her own future but should always be aware of alternatives and potential support they could be entitled to. There are many ingredients to amalgamate when aspiring to become a successful entrepreneur. In 2016, we are experiencing a time of fast paced business and competitiveness but it is your talents, skills and drive above all else that will support you with the quest to becoming an entrepreneur.

If you are unsure if university is for you or not, visit Uni’s Not For Me.

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