Sunday, April 12, 2009

Striking out on their own

Fresh Graduates

More graduates turn to entrepreneurship as job market sours

Lin Yanqin

HE IS looking out for job opportunities but undergraduate Wang Wei Xiang, 26, has more than employment on his mind as graduation looms.

The Singapore Management University business management student is also considering a partnership to start a consulting firm, given that the job market is less than rosy.

“Having a job would mean more security and that’s important for me, but if there is a promising idea I would explore it to see if it could become a business,” said Mr Wang, who attended the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) first job fair for graduates yesterday.

He is not the only one thinking of striking out on his own. According to Ms Corrine Ong, director of the National University of Singapore’s Career Centre, more graduating students have been bringing up this idea.

The fair — which drew 800 jobseekers — also catered to the enterprising. Spring Singapore was present to introduce its Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Startups for those under 26. Over 300 graduates are already registered to be part of Spring’s database, with a handful equipped with plans to start a business, said Mr Patrick Lim, Spring’s head for new business support.

But most do not know what being a young entrepreneur really entails. According to Spring, just 13 of the 30 applications received since the fund was launched in November have been accepted.

Apart from good ideas, entrepreneurs need to be prepared to work even harder to drive sales in a poor economy. They should also ensure they have sufficient partners to execute a business plan,  said Mr Lim.

But even with the interest from graduates, the fair focused mainly on job and attachment positions, with 2.48 per cent, or about 149 of the 6,000 openings, related to entrepreneurship.

NTUC assistant secretary general Josephine Teo said yesterday that some 8 per cent or about 1,000 of this year’s 12,000 graduating university students may find themselves without a job even after six months — if the employment rate of 87 per cent during the Sars period in 2003 is anything to go by.

Meanwhile, the labour movement will be organising three sector-specific networking sessions for graduates this year. Those seeking employment advice can also access NTUC’s new online advisory service at

NTUC secretary-general Lim Swee Say urged graduates to keep an open mind. “One door will lead to another and you never know where life will take you to. If you give your very best… any job (which) may not come across as a dream job can turn out to be better than your dream job.”  

From TODAY, News

Tuesday, 07-April-2009


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