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UT student entrepreneurs on the rise

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Some UT students aren't waiting to land a job when they graduate, but are creating their own. The UT student entrepreneur community is growing and gaining more recognition on campus. They're spreading the word that it's possible to start your own business while still in college.

Not only are these entrepreneurs creating their own jobs, but like UT Senior and CEO of Longhorn Leasing, Richie Gill, they're also creating jobs for their fellow Longhorns.

"We only hire people from UT, current students, or alumni," said Gill. "So we do create jobs here in the local economy. We're very proud of that, and we're very proud that we're able to hire Longhorns."

During his freshman year, Gill saw many students unhappy with their apartment locators. This spurred him to create a company that would meet their needs.

"Our primary goal is to offer transparency to the students. So we're a real estate company that represents the students rather than the property owner," said Gill. "So that puts their interests first, and really benefits the student."

UT Student Government President Thor Lund said that student entrepreneurs are an important and growing population at UT. Student Government recently instituted the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency to support and encourage the growth of student started businesses.

"I think that's going to be hugely important in these times," said Lund, "As the economy has shown, we need more jobs. And if those students are creating those jobs here, and then employing their fellow students, that's really awesome."

The Director of the Longhorn Entrepreneurial Agency, Nick Spiller, says he sees increasing interest in students who want to be their own boss.

"There will be more of an entrepreneurial dominance in the universities just because of the need for innovation in America," said Spiller. "We need innovators and we need entrepreneurs to get us back to where America needs to be."

UT is also supporting student entrepreneurs by providing classes where students can get credit for starting and maintaining their own business. Gill says that regardless of what students end up doing after graduation, if they start a company in college, they will learn skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

"I would encourage any student with any desire to start a business," said Gill. "Take whatever talents they have, really pinpoint one specific issue, focus all your effort on one issue that you really feel strongly about, and you can be wildly successful."

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