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Students of Enterprise

When they weren't studying, these students made the smart choice to pursue franchise ownership--and learned that a college education is about more than what goes on in the classroom.

By Devlin Smith

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

College has long been a time to drink in knowledge, growpersonally and begin exploring career options. It's still that,but something about the college experience is shifting. With theastonishing business successes and media exposure of their peers,many college students are realizing they don't have to walkdown the job search road. Today, some form of entrepreneurshiptraining is available at more than 1,500 colleges and universitiesnationwide, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Andthe Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, a Chicago-basedorganization that supports college students who want to startbusinesses, has grown from zero to 14,000 members since itsinception five years ago, with entrepreneurship clubs on 120university campuses nationwide. College students are purchasingfranchises, too-and while some feel students might be too "wetbehind the ears" to helm franchises, college franchisees arefinding that ambition and effort, not candles on a birthday cake,determine success.

While practically everyone has heard of Subway, not many peopleknow that its founder, Fred DeLuca, started the sandwich juggernautas a 17-year-old college student in 1965. Nearly 40 years later,he's inspiring other young people to choose their owndestinies. Working at the local Subway has become almost a rite ofpassage for teenagers, as it was for Jeff Smith back in 1994. He,like DeLuca, was 17 when he began his relationship withSubway-Smith worked there part time during high school and collegebefore graduating to the next level at Subway: ownership.

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