Academic calls for increased support for student entrepreneurs in business

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According to a prominent academic, greater support should be provided to young entrepreneurs to foster self-employment.

In the words of Prof. Dylan Jones-Evans, an expert in entrepreneurship, an increasing number of students and graduates are pursuing self-employment and require assistance in achieving their goals.

Tesni Boughen, 24, made the bold decision to abandon her college studies and venture into the world of entrepreneurship by opening a pop-up plant shop, acknowledging that it involved taking a significant risk.

Start-ups have been deemed “instrumental” to the post-pandemic economy by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething.

Tesni expressed, “Initially, it was supposed to be a temporary endeavor for a couple of months, but now, two years later, we’re still here, selling plants, and I’ve put my master’s studies on hold.”

Having always enjoyed tinkering with houseplants, she never anticipated that her hobby would eventually transform into a professional opportunity.

With the suspension of her studies at the onset of the pandemic, she commenced selling plant cuttings online and stored her inventory in her mother’s conservatory.

The initial sales were so promising that she decided to utilize her £2,000 final-term student loan to make a wholesale order.

Impressed by the initial sales, she made the decision to invest her £2,000 final-term student loan into a wholesale order.

“If I couldn’t recoup my investment, there would be no purpose in going back to university,” she explained. Captivated by the success of the pop-up, she took the courageous step of transforming it into a permanent venture, leading to her choice of discontinuing her studies.

Having stumbled into the world of business due to the pandemic, she now finds herself offering guidance to other aspiring entrepreneurs who require support.

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Expanding on the matter, she further elucidated, “The grant application forms are highly complex, and even a minor error can result in the loss of funding opportunities.”

To maximize the potential of the post-pandemic economy, Prof. Jones-Evans emphasizes the criticality of offering guidance, support, and mentorship to student and graduate businesses.

“In the aftermath of Covid, numerous opportunities await,” he expressed. “It is now crucial for universities to recognize this and offer the necessary support to seize these opportunities.”

The academic established Start-Up Stiwdio at the University of South Wales, where aspiring entrepreneurs can receive guidance, foster idea development, and participate in business boot camps at the Treforest campus in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

While recognizing that investors often exhibit apprehension towards businesses initiated by young individuals, preferring more seasoned owners, he asserted the importance of collaborating with young entrepreneurs.

He emphasized, “Young people possess a greater understanding of the actual needs of new markets… much more so than individuals in their forties or fifties.”

He further stated, “As these new markets evolve and expand, young entrepreneurs find themselves in an ideal position to comprehend customer needs.” The professor of entrepreneurship highlighted that one of the significant hurdles faced by young entrepreneurs is finance.

However, based on his experience, relatively modest amounts, around £15,000, can have a substantial impact.

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