Alumni who are building companies can be your best prospects if the relationship is cultivated properly. Universities have a lot to offer young businesses that are strapped for cash and in need of various resources. If you help these alumni along their path to a successful outcome, such as an IPO or sale, you could be in for a significant donation. Here are five strategies to help your alumni entrepreneurs:

1) Recruiting

Talented employees are extremely important for startup companies that are growing at a rapid pace. Help provide them with a pipeline of talented interns and full-time hires from your university. Make sure to use special events to highlight their companies on campus through career fairs, hackathons and keynote speaking engagements.

2) Joint Research

Most growing companies don’t have the time or money to do their own research and development projects. This is an opportunity to match them with a group of faculty and students who can work on a special project for them. These students then become potential future employees for the company.

3) Labs and Equipment Usage

University labs that are filled with industry equipment can be helpful to a growing business. These spaces are great for building products and testing them as well. Also, many universities are now fitted with elaborate makerspace facilities that should be made available to alumni.

4) Faculty Relationships

Experienced faculty can be a valuable asset to new companies in a mentoring capacity. Faculty can help alumni navigate a specific industry and introduce them to useful contacts.

5) Office Space

Some universities are equipped with business incubators and office space that can be used by outside companies. This could provide the benefit of cheap rent and the opportunity to connect with with other alumni entrepreneurs who also occupy the space.

Overall, the opportunity to cultivate your alumni entrepreneurs is something that can not be missed. If their company becomes successful and your university has helped along the way, a transformational gift could be in your future.

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