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by Tim Webster August 30, 2011

One of the predictable outcomes of the downturn in the graduate jobs market is a rise in the number of grads who choose to start their own business when they leave the student world. Rather than take on an uninspiring job just to make ends meet, many decide to give it a shot on their own and see where they end up – which has to be a good thing for their future employability regardless of whether their business takes off.

Here at FreshMinds we’re always impressed by candidates who’ve taken the initiative to set up their own venture – it gives them a well-rounded set of skills and the ability to look at both the big picture of where their business is heading as well as the everyday detail.

A recent study by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE) found that there has been a 27 per cent increase in start-ups linked to higher education institutions since 2007, and the organisation’s CEO has said that universities have a major role to play in fuelling this growth.

But there’s concern from the organisation that budget cuts across higher education might have a negative impact on the support that universities can offer budding entrepreneurs. Coupled with the fact that a graduate position as an Analyst with an investment bank once again offers job security and immediate rewards, there’s a real risk that the increase of the last 3 years will regress again as the graduate market picks up.

What can we do to reverse the trend? It’s got to come down to the way we market entrepreneurship to graduates – as a well-trodden and highly regarded career choice when leaving university. FreshMinds’ founders started this company straight after leaving Oxford and it’s given them exposure that they’d never have dreamt of by going into consulting (which was Plan B). Surely that’s got to be worth shouting about.

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