20 Successful Businesses Started By College Students

Starting a business is not a ride in the park as many presume it to be. It involves a lot of work and is mentally demanding. However, some college students have started and built successful businesses despite the odds.

According to Entreprenuer.com, five business trends that started in 2025 have continued to dominate. Hence, this domination has led to the establishment of other businesses to compete in the market space.

While entrepreneurship is a full-time career, many have sought to utilize automated systems to make transactions and communications easier.

This article clearly discusses the successful businesses started by college students and what they did correctly. Hence, the table below clearly outlines what you’ll learn from this article.

What is a Business?

A business is an establishment that provides goods and services to the public for a fee. These fees could either be a one-off fee or monthly depending on your agreement with the business owner.

For so many years, business has been basically tagged as trading. However, due to the domination of the internet, there are now a lot of diversifications.

More so, the invention of the joint-stock company brought about a new way of doing business. In this process, people put up capital to start a business and others use the money to run the business. The agreement is usually legally binding in case of any mishaps.

While some businesses like a farm, store need fixed locations, others do not. Essentially, a carpenter or a delivery store comes to deliver to you. Currently, technology has made it easier for a good number of businesses to work virtually. This has saved the cost of office space and materials.

The rise in e-commerce demand is making a lot of businesses fight for the top spot in that area. Although Amazon still stands strong, stiff competition is expected to rise with Google venturing into e-commerce soon.

Why Start a Business?

The conversation regarding starting a business is critical. While some people want to start a business so as to answer C.E.O, it’s vague.

A business simply offers service and if there’s a demand for your service which is above your capacity, then you can start your company.

Starting a business is very helpful as it reduces unemployment rates and inflation as well. A good business always boosts the economy of the nation as assets are grown and liabilities destroyed.

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The Impact of College Businesses

College businesses that started in the U.S have grown into one of the biggest companies.

These college businesses that have grown revealed a lot of possibilities which makes it possible for students to pursue their entrepreneurial dream.

Most of these. big businesses now support the entrepreneurial dreams of students by providing funding and technical assistance.

More businesses always mean less inflation and a boosting economy.

What Did Many Successful Businesses Do Right?

Most times, it’s not the absence of hard work or desire for growth that makes a lot of businesses fail. It’s just some simple things they don’t obey.

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A lot of the most successful businesses in the world today are a collaboration. In essence, it was created by more than one person.

Partnership in business has always proved more effective than singularly running a business. Of course, the advantages of a partnership are numerous and so are their disadvantages too.

A partner always introduces another perspective to a matter. Most times, this perspective exposes you to a level of information that you didn’t think possible.

Additionally, when it comes to investing in the business, a partner makes the burden feel light.

Indeed, partners can be responsible for dragging the business back because of their personalities and this is why you should be careful when choosing a partner for your business.

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20 Best Successful College Businesses

Most of the biggest businesses you hear of today started in College. From Google, Facebook, Yahoo etc the list is endless. However, we will just be showing you only 20 of the most successful college businesses.

20. A Small Orange

Founded in 2003 by Douglas Hana at Duke University, A Small Orange has gradually become an orange tree(that’s just a joke).

This company is a web hosting company which allows web users to host their domain using their servers on the worldwide web.

Essentially, this company started by purchasing web hosting companies that were down. They will help build them up and develop them to full working potential.

After their development, they decide to either sell or retain the business to customers.

19. 3dim

Founded in 2013 by Ahmed Kirmani and Andrea Colaco at MIT, 3dim has grown into a big company.

This company promises the use of 3D gesture sensor on your smart device. Hence, you don’t need to touch, you only need to gesture.

Have you noticed that you can take “gesture” pictures on your phone? Well, you’ve seen where the secret lies.

This feature is based on software algorithms that can be integrated into any device. Additionally, it works despite being in low-light conditions.

18. iCracked

Founded in 2010 by AJ Forsythe and Anthony Martin at CPSU, iCracked is vigorously dominating in its market space.

A good number of U.S citizens make use of an Apple product. Whether an iPhone, Ipad or iMac, it doesn’t matter.

iCracked performs the simple obligation of repairing your broken Apple products.

Currently, they are the biggest demand repair for iOS devices all over the world. What a feat for this successful college business.

17. HourlyNerd

Founded in 2013 at Harvard University, HourlyNerd has grown from a class project to a big business.

Joe Miller, Rob Bierdemen, Peter Maglathlin and Patrick Pettiti are the co-founders of this business.

Today, they supply business consulting services to individuals. To perform this service, they pair MBA students with small businesses so as to help them with their projects.

Most of the MBA students are now graduates who work hourly rates for the company at very high-priced fees.

You can see how a project turned out to be one of the best successful college businesses.

16. Insomnia Cookies

Founded in 2003 by Seth Berkowitz at the University of Pennsylvania, an attraction for cookies has grown into a business.

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His attraction spurred him to take action as he started baking cookies at night.

This company remains a college-based company that delivers warm fresh treats. Students can stay in the comfort of their dorm and order their sweet cookies.

Additionally, they offer milkshakes, brownies and cookies cakes to their wide customer base in their over 50 locations.

15. Kinko’s

This is one of the oldest successful college businesses. Founded in 1970 by Paul Orfalea who wanted students to have access to a copy machine.

Paul in his story narrated of his encounter with a copy machine in his school library. After this encounter, he wanted to ensure more students had access to this technology.

Using a $5,000 loan, he rented a 100-square foot space. He used this space to process film and provided access to the copier.

Today, the business has been sold to FedEx and now remains part of the corporation.

14. ModCloth

ModCloth is a business that started as a habit and is recorded as one of the best successful college businesses.

The Founders; Susan Gregg and her boyfriend Eric Koger were fashion icons and web developers respectively.

Susan came across some vintage clothes and wanted to sell them. Her boyfriend created a website where they could sell the vintage items.

After setting up their e-commerce store, they sold out their products for an amazing fee.

13. Napster

Napster wasn’t one of the successful college businesses that lasted long. They were sued out of business for their infringements.

However, while they existed, they became the first software platform where people could download mp3 songs for free.

This system generally made the sharing of music easier.

12. Reddit

Reddit started off an information-sharing website. Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian developed this website.

Reddit had a very distinguishing factor from other information sites. They gave users the power to vote whether the content was good or not.

Although the company is now a subsidiary of Conde Nast, Reddit retains its billions of users.

11. Snapchat

Snapchat is a social media application that enables users to view a picture for a limited amount of time.

Founded in 2011, Snapchat has grown to have billions of users on its platforms. Well, a good number use their filters to take pictures.

Mark Zuckerberg wanted to acquire Snapchat but Evan Spiegel & Robert Murphy refused to sell.

The platform continues to grow as it retains a spot in one of the best successful college businesses.

10. WordPress

WordPress totally changed the scene of blogging. Ever since then, they have continued to gain popularity.

This content management system powers over 20% of the worldwide web in online publishing. Well, they’ve existed since 2003.

Today, WordPress publishes over 41 million posts as their blogs are written in over 120 languages.

9. Yahoo

Yahoo started as the first and most populous news and mailing website.

Founded by Jerry Yang & David Filo at Stanford University, Yahoo started off as the pair’s guide to the worldwide web.

Although other mailing platforms have come and knock Yahoo badly, they’re still recorded as one of the best college businesses that recorded success.

8. AthleteTrax

AtheleteTrax is the platform where athletes communicate with their coaches, parents and administrators.

Additionally, organizations can schedule fundraising and training.

AthleteTrax offers teams exclusive deals on travels and other activities they wish to carry out.

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7. EnvoyNow

Receiving food on campus is not very easy. Most times, you will need to walk to the cafe.

This is no longer the reality for a lot of students because of EnvoyNow. This business offers food delivery services to students on campus.

Starting in 2014 at USC, they have grown into one of the best successful college businesses.

6. Dell

Dell is one of the top PC brands in the world. They’re only second to Lenovo and HP in PC unit sales.

The owner Michael Dell started pursuing this dream as a 19-year-old student at the University of Texas.

Today, the rest they say is history. Michael Dell is a billionaire leading a big organization.

5. DropBox

Dissatisfied with the inability to transfer large files via email. DropBox was invented.

Arash Ferdowsi and Drew Houston founded this company in order to help people transfer large files over the web.

Ever since then, their user base has spurged as individuals transfer and save files using the platform.

4. EarTop Technologies

The founder of this company started off as a DJ but never enjoyed the job. He was uncomfortable with the way wires will fill his front as he does his job.

He then decided to create EarTop technologies – a technological firm that produces wireless devices. The aim of this company is to totally eliminate wires and they’re gradually achieving it.

Today, their products range from headphones to speakers.

3. Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the oldest companies in the world. Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft is a trillion-dollar industry.

The company produces a software program for PCs that is widely accepted and used by the majority of PCs.

Microsoft is one of the most successful college businesses today.

2. Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook with his roommates at Harvard University in 2004.

Today, they have become the biggest social media platform in the world. Facebook boasts of over 2 billion users.

Users have even turned Facebook into a virtual office where they offer their own business services.

1. Google

Google is the biggest search engine in the world. In fact, they have become a way of life for many people.

Established by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University, Google is a trillion-dollar industry today.

Writing about Google will take the pages of a textbook and that’s why it’s widely regarded as the most successful college business.


There are a lot of businesses that students can execute. These businesses include delivery services, photography, and blogging just to name a few.

Every beginner can start any business he desires. He can either take photographs or perform delivery services for a commission.

Yes, you can start a business with no money.

Yes. Starting a business is not an easy deal. It will demand long hours of work in addition to strong mental activities.

Yes. Starting a business is always worth it in the end.

Check the video below to see successful college businesses.


Starting a business is no easy venture. You can work up to 18 hours a day most times. However, in the long run, you will be glad.

You can learn a lot of things by running your own business which you can’t easily learn elsewhere. But you must be very clear about what you seek to achieve.

A good business plan is very important when you want to thrive in business.


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