5 Free University Resources for Businesses

Universities aren’t just for young adults seeking a degree. Here’s a list of free and low cost small business resources available at your local college.

University Libraries

What it costs: Free

What it does: Many universities open their libraries to the public. Business classes can be expensive, but studying books and peer-reviewed journals on your own is free and can help you learn valuable skills to better run your small business. Not to mention, libraries in general have plenty of free resources for you such as workshops and classes, job fairs, advertising space, and amenities (free wi-fi, computer access, printers, meeting rooms, etc.).

Career Fairs and Job Placement Centers

What it costs: Free or low cost

What it does: Finding the right candidate for an open position on your team can be challenging and time-consuming. Consider joining a local college job fair or talking to a college job placement center about posting your position. At job fairs you can meet prospective applicants right away, have interviews on the spot, and give enthusiastic students a chance to start their career. Here is a checklist to help you at a job fair. Whether you want to hire a new waitress, an accounting intern, or an entry-level marketing associate, you’ll be sure to find a lot of interest at a college. 

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

What it costs: Free

What it does: Many SBDCs are located on university campuses. These business development centers offer workshops, research, consulting and mentors, training, and more free or low-cost resources for you as an entrepreneur.

Audit a Class

What it costs: Free or low cost

What it does: Some colleges will allow you to audit a class you’d like to attend for a smaller fee than normal tuition. You can sit in the classroom and listen to lectures, but you won’t take tests or write papers. This way, you can learn about something helpful to running your business better without the cost or complication of signing up as a student.

Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities

What it costs: However much you want to offer

What it does: Student organizations are always looking for funding, and college students are drawn in by discounts and free stuff. Do you run a metalworking business? Reach out to an award-winning robotics club that competes in your area. Do you own the taqueria down the street? Pass out coupons around campus. Depending on the university’s rules, you may need to partner with the Latino Student Club in order to draw in hungry crowds.

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency. 


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