No-Brainer Businesses: Best Enterprises to Put Up Near Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities have one thing that many entrepreneurs look for: an abundant (and constant) target market in a fixed/contained area. In many ways, putting up the right business near the campus is like fishing in a barrel that’s already filled to the brim with fish. So, if you’re lucky enough to have a commercial space near the campus, here are some of the fast-growing and highly-profitable enterprises that you can put up (or invest in):

Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services

Between all the schoolwork, extra-curricular, and socializing, students barely have the time (or energy) to wash their clothes, which is why having a laundry and dry cleaning business near a school can be seen as a godsend. You can’t go wrong with the classic self-service, coin-operated Laundromat with dry cleaning services at the side.

But, if you want to make your laundry and dry cleaning services more attractive and competitive, you can offer pickup and delivery service directly from and to the students’ doorsteps, or drop-off and pick-up at your laundry shop. Another fool-proof way you can increase your laundry shop “pull” is to provide free Wi-Fi for students while they’re waiting for their wash and dry cycle to finish up.

Fitness Center or Gym

two women working outWhether it’s due to societal pressures, the on-going health-conscious trend, or simply wanting to stay fit and healthy, it’s clear that many students enroll in various fitness classes and gyms. And you can take advantage of this fact by putting up your fitness center or gym, offering a variety of classes from yoga, to boxing, spin classes, step aerobics, and so on. This type of business could also cater to professionals and other people in the area, make sure that you provide exclusive discounts for students.


Yes, just “food”. There’s no need to specify if it’s a food delivery service, a restaurant, a food truck, a sandwich shop, or a healthy food vendor, vegan or otherwise; as long as it’s affordable, delicious, and filling, students will go there (or call, in cases of food delivery services). If you don’t want to start from scratch, you can always take advantage of fast food franchise opportunities. You can also offer catering services for school events, clubs, fraternities/sororities, and sports teams. There’s no shortage of ideas when it comes to providing food services and products to universities and colleges.

Convenience Store

Be a one-stop-shop for every college/university student by offering food and drinks, coffee, toiletries, basic school/office supplies, and personal care products. You can put a few tables and benches for students to hang out in and eat the meals they’ve purchased, and perhaps also a paid charging station for their mobile phones and gadgets.

Coffee Shop

Students need their daily dose of caffeine in order to keep up with the demands of school and extra-curricular activities, and also to survive days with minimal sleep. That said, a café or even a food truck that serves good, affordable coffee is bound to be a hit with students. You can even extend your operational hours to 24/7 during busy periods where students would need to pull-off all-nighters.

The Takeaway

These are obviously just a few of many enterprises that would definitely thrive near campuses, and by this time, you may already even have business ideas and concepts of your own. But regardless of which business you choose, know that it has to target the needs and want of students, and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to offer products and services at student-friendly prices.