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Go Your Own Way

Only a small portion of people with science doctorates found their own companies, though the Nature Jobs Blog says newly minted PhDs have an advantage as entrepreneurs.

At the end of a program put on by Entrepreneur First, an early-stage investor that helps entrepreneurs refine their pitches, PhD students or postdocs are about 50 percent more likely to raise investment than those with a bachelor or master degree, the Nature Jobs Blog says.

Alex Crompton, who runs the program, says he thinks that's because PhD students or postdocs have specialized skills that they honed doing cutting-edge research that few others can do, giving them an edge. "In our program, we spend a significant amount of time helping people to use their unique edge to create a company," Crompton says.

The resilience of having made it through grueling PhD studies is also advantageous, Margara Tejera, a founder of Dara Technologies, says. "If you are a young scientist, you are used to this resilience and you are prepared to fail every single day," she says.

She adds that she thinks more science PhDs would pursue this area, if they knew it was an option. Getting started, she notes, can be a challenge, but there are opportunities to seize. "You can't sit on the sofa, you have to actually do it," Tejera says. "It's going to change your life. You decide to do it and you realize that you are 24-7 thinking about this, you are completely absorbed by this. But it's worth it!"

The Scan

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