Attending College and Running a Startup
Student Journey

Attending College and Running a Startup

Stephen Barton

You want to start a business, AND go to college.

Seems like a rather big dream, practically impossible, right? I’m here to say that even with all the ups and downs that come with a business it’s totally doable! 

I’m a 20 yr/old entrepreneur from Oklahoma...

and I’ve recently come into Excel with my company Voyage Coffee Co. Our products, as of right now, include portable coffee makers in the size of a water bottle and Kona-level-quality whole bean coffee. The heart behind any business I start is for it to be centered on God. This led me to spend the last 9 months in Global U, a mission trip for christian entrepreneurs and computer programmers. Along my journey in Global U, and now in Excel, I’ve learned the one, all-powerful and over-arching key to entrepreneurship - COMMUNITY. 

In Proverbs 19:20 it says:

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise”.

In similar scriptures it mentions “wise counsel”, which is exactly what you have the opportunity to dive into in a community like this. 

Community may not seem like it would be the end-all-be-all of entrepreneurship. In fact, you may have only heard of “Action”, “Feedback Loop”, or “That million dollar idea” as the reigning factor. Though, all of those and more, fall into place when you have chosen your community well. 

Embracing quality people, especially those who’ve gone before you and done what you’re doing, engaging those who are not in your field for different perspectives, IS community! It’s not merely “It is what it is”, it is what you make of it. 

Community brings more than any round of funding ever could. Such as, but not limited to: prayer, networking, discipleship, partnerships, loving feedback, ideation, and so on. Just as creating a business is finding a product market fit and making it - such is the nature of creating community around said product market fit. 

From my own experience coming into Excel, I had immediately learned of very deadly news for Voyage. Learning that I had just fallen victim to a scammer who I gave all $2,200 of my customer Pre-Order money and loan money to. I had nowhere else to turn and didn’t know what to do. I was firm in my position however, that this is God's company, not mine. 

Being one who values honesty and vulnerability myself, I took that into Voyage. So whenever someone in my community truly desired to hear what was going on, I would lay it all out there. That opened up the ability for them to speak to what I was working through. They reminded me of networks that I have available but forgot about, they spent hours hearing me out and creating contingency plans with the knowledge I gave them, and above all, they actually and sincerely prayed for the survival of one young man's dreams. 

Nonetheless, you will get out of Excel what you put into it. This isn’t to say it’s easy, just simple. You will most definitely still be a unicorn among the students when moving in.

Therefore, if you’re like me, you’ll be in school, participate in all of the extracurriculars, have a standard day-job, and be taking on the unpromising task of nurturing your start-up. 

Though, if starting “The Next Big Thing” that’s founded on Christ is a lifeblood that you wish to be associated with, I would say that moving your dream into the Excel Community is worth it to the end of your days. Anything less than what was just mentioned probably wouldn’t feel worth it. 

Final thoughts: 

Please note that if you are coming to Excel College with plans to start / grow a business, you’ll not find love merely with how successful it goes or how hard you work at it and your schooling, you will be loved for who you are. The foundations of you are in Christ, that is why we love you, why we celebrate you, and that is what you will find living in this community.

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