For new grads, life after college can be tough. Student loan bills kick in. Maybe they're weighing a move or buying a car--and they're likely looking for a job. For those would-be entrepreneurs, that list grows exponentially. So why not offer to help with a graduation present they can really use?

From coding lessons and startup-worthy tote bags, Inc. staffers offered their 25 best gift ideas for the future founder in your life. 

1. Rocketbook Wave, $27

This company's pitch was rejected on Shark Tank, but don't let that dissuade you. The Rocketbook Wave is no ordinary notebook. It allows the most enterprising note-jotters and designers to instantly blast what they've written or drawn to the cloud using their smartphones. To reuse the notebook and erase old notes, pop the Rocketbook into a microwave oven and the marks will disappear.

The notebook is available in two sizes and comes with a Pilot FriXion pen, which has erasable ink that disappears with heat.

2. 125 Collection candles, $35

Forget light-bulb moments. These candles may well ignite brilliance. The 125 Collection offers pure soy candles that are hand-poured in New York. They include entrepreneurial mantras like: "Authenticity is magnetic," "Hustle until your haters ask if you're hiring," and "Be you. Do you. For you." Some celebrities have also become fans of these candles, including Jenni "JWoww" Farley, Tiffany Haddish, and Emma Myles from Orange Is the New Black.

3. Barracuda collapsible carry-on, $349.99

No enterprising grad should be caught without his pitch dek--made even more impressive when viewed atop Barracuda's collapsible carry-on, with a laptop tray. It drops down and unfolds in seconds. There's also a 360-degree rotating halo handle, portable digital scale, and portable battery that can charge a phone or tablet up to five times.

4.Frank and Oak clothing box, $25 styling fee + the cost of clothes

Want your new grad to make a good impression? Yes? Good. With a Frank and Oak stylist-curated box, recipients get functional, minimalist items they can pick and choose from. First, they fill out a style survey and share their sizes, along with style and budget preferences. They can preview each box before it ships for no additional charge. They then confirm, customize, or skip the month. Once the box arrives, users try the items on at home and keep what they want with free returns. Note: recipients pay for each item they keep, and if they choose to return everything, they'll still be charged the $25 styling fee.

5. Nerdwax, $10

Serious brainstorming is in your new grad's future, naturally. For the bespectacled, there's no reason to let glasses slide off your nose as you hunker down. As seen on Shark Tank, this Nerdwax aims to help.

6. S'well water bottle, $25 and up

For those on the go, there's this stainless steel S'well water bottle. It's sustainable and stylish, and the company supports Unicef, (RED), and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The bottles are designed to keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. 

7. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, by Timothy Ferriss, $19.57 on Amazon

Brand-new founders should check out the productivity guru's recent efficiency-focused tome, Tools of Titans. The 2016 book focuses on tools, tactics, and philosophies used in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments, and large business dealings. Ferriss calls it the "ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools."

8. Ostrichpillow, $99

For fun--and some serious napping--try the Ostrichpillow. It envelops a person's head--giving wearers a lay-anywhere pillow and a check-your-pride-at-the-door experience all in one. Perfect for 15-minute power naps during airport layovers on your way to the next adventure.

9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini, $10.95 on Amazon

For someone feeling like life after graduation is filled with the word "no," this 1984 national bestseller has become a classic go-to for learning about persuasion. In its pages, Robert B. Cialdini, a professor of psychology and marketing, unpacks why people say yes and how to apply this understanding to your advantage.

10. Thompson sweat-proof T-shirt, $24.99 to $29.99

Never let them see you sweat. As seen on Shark Tank, Thompson's undershirts offer protection from underarm sweat, odor, marks, and stains. A new grad can prep his professional styles without the perspiration. Styles come in crewneck and V-neck for men and scoop and deep V-neck for women.

11. Adobe CC subscription, $52.99/month

A one-stop shop for creative content, from editing and producing videos, layouts, and graphic design, and photos. The Creative Cloud package comes with 20-plus creative desktop and mobile apps. It also includes 100 GB of cloud storage, a personal portfolio website, premium fonts, and social media tools.

12. Codecademy Pro online classes, $19.99/month

Tech skills are invaluable in all fields, and Codecademy Pro provides classes in web development, programming and computer science, and data science. Users of the service have scored tech jobs with zero prior coding experience, the company says. A pro subscription enhances learning with projects, quizzes, and advisers.

13. Lynda online classes, $29.99/month for premium

There's more to running a business than coding. Lynda offers on-demand classes taught by industry experts in business, animation, CAD, audio/music, photography and tech development, and a slew of other resume-boosting skills.

14. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz, $15.12 on Amazon

This 2016 book details the Design Sprint method to build and test a prototype in five days. The approach is the brainchild of Jake Knapp, who has worked as a design partner at Google Ventures. She claims to have used it successfully with many startups.

15. Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One, by Jenny Blake, $7 and up on Amazon

Written by motivational speaker and former Google career development program manager, Jenny Blake, this book teaches the recently graduated how to excel in a world where frequent career changes are the norm. The 2016 book has received much notoriety, including winning Axiom's 2017 business book award in the career category.  

16. Dagne Dover Legend Tote, $265

Elegant and practical, the Dagne Dover Legend Tote includes compartments perfectly sized for a laptop, wallet, phone, cards, and lip balm, and it includes a detachable key leash. 

17. Allbirds sneakers, $95

Those wishing to look the part of a young startup founder would do well to slip into a pair of Allbirds, a shoe that has quickly become part of the Silicon Valley uniform. Allbirds are available in three styles--two more akin to loafers and the other more sneaker-like--and are made from either wool or tree fiber.

18. Passion Planner, $25 or $30

It can feel like there aren't enough hours in a day. A passion planner allows new grads to rein in all that time and strategically plan their day out to the hour, while also keeping track of their to-do lists, monthly calendar, doodles, aspirations, and goals. These soft, faux-leather-bound books come in multiple colors, dated or undated, and two different sizes.

19. Business card holder, $7.99 on Amazon

Even in the age of smartphones, business cards are essential for networking and building a personal brand. Help your new entrepreneur keep his or her business cards organized with this leather-and-stainless steel holder, available in many bright colors.

20. The Second City improv class, around $300

Improv is a useful (and fun) way for would-be entrepreneurs to hone their skills in thinking on their feet and taking risks. Those in Chicago, Los Angeles, or Toronto can take a class with legendary improv troupe the Second City. There are also online improv class offerings for those in other locations. Prices vary by type of class and location.

21. Bean Box, $19/month with six-month prepayment (multiple payment plans available)

The perfect gift for your graduating coffee connoisseur, Bean Box gives monthly packages of four 1.8-ounce bags of whole-bean coffee. Based in coffee capital Seattle, Bean Box picks from 30 artisanal roasters from around the world.

22. MealPal, $5.59 and up/meal for 30 days (up to 20 meals every 30 days, can vary by location)

Grads can skip one of the most cumbersome features of adulthood--cooking--with this handy meal-subscription service. Subscribers can pick from a litany of restaurant options and reserve their lunch the night before, available for pickup during the workday, saving time and money at busy city favorites. A dinner subscription service is available to those living in the Big Apple.

23. Natico Decision Maker paperweight, $18

Every commencement speaker is likely to note the importance of decision-making as grads embark on a new stage of life. Make it easier with this Decision Maker paperweight. Users can ask questions such as "Will I get that promotion?" and "Should I go home early?" and elicit answers like "tomorrow" or "sit on it" all from their desk.

24. Shark Tank seasons 1 through 9, $13.99-$19.99/season on Amazon Prime Video

There's no better way to get in the entrepreneurial mindset (and chill out after a long day at work) than by binge watching Shark Tank. Go ahead, get them to channel their inner Mark Cuban.

25. Subscription to Inc., $19.99/year

And we'd be remiss not to suggest picking up an inexpensive--but highly valuable--subscription to Inc. magazine. An all-access subscription provides eight print and digital issues, full access to the mobile app, and the annual Inc. 500 issue, plus other special issues. 

Published on: Jun 12, 2018