Thursday, 16 November 2017

Take a self-employment placement year and take your business to the next level

I always believe when you have a dream, follow it - and when you’re an entrepreneur, why not dream big? Self-employed entrepreneurs tend to be a passionate bunch, they have to be, considering the fact they’re going it alone. However, as well as passion, aspiring business owners need to gain experience and expertise.


Many of you are students here at the University of Hertfordshire; some of you have been in the workplace and some of you haven’t. Either way, most of you are at the beginning of promising futures. Being your own boss is challenging, it’s not like regular employment - with a monthly salary and pension plan - it’s an enterprise and endeavour. Despite the risks, when it pays off, it’s a rewarding occupation. Here in Careers and Employment we have the skills, experience and expertise to guide you to success.

photo: people walking passed University

The University is in fact the perfect place to begin developing your business. If you want to pursue your vocation wholeheartedly you may be concerned about your studies. If so, consider taking a self-employment placement year. Sometimes the only way to gain experience and expertise is through the workplace. Here you’ll have an opportunity to start a small business, and begin trading. You won’t be on your own, the Enterprise Team will be with you every step of the way. From scheduling regular one-to-one meetings, to directing you to resources, we will ensure you get the most out of your time here.

To take a recent example, Joy Wagbara came here to study for a degree in graphic design. This year she entered Flare 2017, the University’s annual business competition. Here students get to showcase their business ideas, and have a chance of winning £8000. With her graphic design agency, Dinma Designs, Joy impressed judges with her innovative thinking, and as a result, she was shortlisted for the final. This was a major step towards her goals, and since then she has done amazingly well in turning her business into a sustainable enterprise. However, before all this, Joy took a self-employment placement year and matched her passion with experience. In that second year of her degree programme Joy had a chance to formulate a business plan and turn a dream into reality.

Photo: Woman working on paperwork

I’m aware starting your own business may seem a little daunting at first; finding customers, setting prices, closing deals. However, by taking a placement year, you’ll get the skills to match your enthusiasm and won’t look back. You may think ‘I have the passion but not the idea’ or ‘I have an idea but it’s not commercially viable’. Even with these doubts, remember we are here to help you. The enterprise team has an Incubation Centre, funding grants, and a network of experts who can guide you into the future. My advice: if you want to try your hand at running your own business, take some time and fulfil your aspirations step by step. If you’d like to find out more about a self-employment placement year and begin your journey to entrepreneurship contact the Enterprise Team or visit CareerHub. We hope to see you soon.

Kate Serby
Enterprise Advisor
University of Hertfordshire

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