Students and Entrepreneurism: To Be or Not to Be?
Get a job or be self-employed?
By Kaz Bosali
What do Facebook, Dell and Reddit all have in common?
They were all founded by full-time students whilst at university.
And they’re not alone; according to Santander bank, over a quarter of undergraduates run their own business or plan to launch one alongside their studies. It seems that entrepreneurialism is an increasingly attractive option for students.
Here are 3 tips for the aspiring entrepreneurs to make use of the resources available to you during university:
1) Utilise the careers services. Every university has this facility and it is one of the best resources you have access to as an undergraduate.
Book in to see an experienced Careers Consultant who can point you in the right direction, including information about funding opportunities to kickstart your idea and pointers for your business plan.
For example, the Basecamp Enterprise team at the university of Bristol host a New Enterprise competition with £30,000 up for grabs for innovative business ideas.
Other funding opportunities include:
2) Know your finances. Students are notoriously and comically portrayed as ‘broke’. There are lots of things to consider as a student: food, equipment, accommodation.
For a business’ survival, to make money you have to spend money from website hosting, purchasing a domain, to marketing.
People often underestimate the costs it takes to keep a business running. As an aspiring businessperson, budgeting will be your friend.
At HYBR, we understand students’ financial situation and help by offering a wide price range of properties and keeping rent prices low by reducing landlord costs. We also open up new income opportunities for students by allowing them to sublet their empty rooms.
3) Do your market research. Is there a demand for your product/service? What problem are you solving? Are you fulfilling a need?
This information and research will give you clarity on whether or not your idea is viable as well as help you with your business plan.
Student enterprises generate £1 billion into the economy every year and 1/3 plan to turn it into a career when they graduate.
Unsurprisingly, the unprecedented financial situation with the covid-19 pandemic and the implications of Brexit unknown, graduates are torn between starting a business full-time or gaining experience of the ‘real world’ first.
HYBR’s interview with Usvah Javed
Usvah Javed, 26, studied Design and Marketing at Regent’s University and graduated in 2017. She’s currently a full-time Admin Assistant for an interior design company in London and runs Zainity Art on the side where she is commissioned to create art for private clients.
Javed says, “Right now, I’m learning a lot of skills in my job such as sourcing materials, communicating and negotiating with suppliers and accounting.
“I want to first learn these skills then apply it to my own business and go all in. It is a risk running your own company because there’s no guarantees especially right now.”
Economic uncertainty is one of the main reasons why students are weary to launch a business.
With student debt at its record highest and the coronavirus lockdown responsible for massive unemployment, young people have felt the financial strain.
“It’s too risky for me to invest in a company that may or may not take off.” Javed adds.
There is a divide in opinion with many reluctant to take the risk, whilst others are opting to create their own economy and be their own bosses. Students and recent graduates have a wealth of resources and funding available to them exclusively – something that isn’t afforded to most people.
When it comes to entrepreneurialism, some wait until they have years of experience before venturing off into self-employment and some go for it. University is after all a time of exploration and discovery of oneself.
As Richard Branson said, “Starting young is good, you can either learn through failing, or you can learn by being successful.”
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