College and graduate school graduates are creating their own jobs upon graduation rather than venturing out into the jobless economy, reports the Wall Street Journal yesterday.
The unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds has reached a staggering 16%, a percent which is inspiring—or perhaps forcing—young graduates to launch their own companies. This trend is likely to continue since companies intend to hire 7% fewer graduates from the class of 2010 than they had hired from 2009 grads. The 2009 hiring rate was already a 22% drop from the previous year.
In such an economy, a start-up seems to make sense, explains Toddi Gutner, author of the WSJ article. Fresh from school, these young men and women have ample time to put into a demanding start-up, don’t generally have family or financial responsibilities (most loans offer a grace period after graduation to delay loan payments), and are technologically savvy so they have a leg up when it comes to social media and online marketing.
Those fortuitous circumstances don’t mean that all entrepreneurs are destined to smell success, at least not on their own. Many current students and recent graduates are reaching out for help from career and entrepreneurial services offered by their universities. Many schools now offer “business incubators”—where students can receive business advice, hone ideas, and sometimes even receive financial support, not to mention various other resources.
Organizations and programs that train and offer support for budding founders are sprouting up all over. The Kauffman Foundation, for example, offers a “boot-camp training program…for aspiring business owners” called FastTrac. Y Combination Y and TechStars also offer cash and mentoring services to this growing pool of “newbie” entrepreneurs.
Business advisors are a must when a young person is seeking trust, respect, and ultimately funds from a potential investor.
How are these 20- to 24-year-olds handling the decision to start their own business?
Bo Fishback, VP of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation speaks for the youth he promotes: “It’s a lot easier to decide to launch your own company when there aren’t a lot of jobs out there.”
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