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How Sorority and Fraternity Ties Can Help You There's more than one type of family you can turn to for support.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You already know on-campus fraternities and sororities are great places to meet people. But did you know that, aside from the philanthropy, the weekend parties and the alumni mixers, your Greek organization could be the jumping-off point for your college business? It's true--from the networking possibilities to having a pre-made focus group that can judge your ideas, you're in a good entrepreneurial petri dish. "Think about your active fraternity or sorority chapter and your alumni group--both can help you," says Richard Scruggs, director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University in Houston. Your fraternity brothers, for example, might be the labor force to help you launch your product or service on campus. If you're talking to the alumni constituency, you might find some experienced lawyers, accountants, bankers, manufacturers, or even a mentor.

That type of fraternal networking was Ryan Bonifacino's modus operandi from the start of his business in 2004. Originally named Yakka Studios, the Newark, Delaware, company first specialized in special event and corporate photography. Since fall 2005, what is now Bozmedia has expanded into digital media services, brand management, and internet marketing and advertising. A founding member of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at the University of Delaware, Bonifacino, 22, became a regular at fraternity events both locally and nationally. "Our main investor was actually one of our sponsors for a fraternity philanthropy event," he says. "He loved the idea, the plan, the fraternity and our energy."

Harnessing your fraternity network is key. "You already have a strong network. You have a potential source of customers," says Tom O'Malia, director and chair of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California. "You have to know what you're looking for as you're talking to these people. It's easy to collect a lot of ideas--it's not very easy to find a lot of 'pains' and create a business [to fix those.]"

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