Herts graduates can get ahead of the game

PUBLISHED: 12:14 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 06 May 2010

UNEMPLOYMENT figures are nearing 2 million - the highest level since 1997 - demonstrating that the current job market is proving to be a highly competitive environment for many job seekers.

With this in mind, alongside survey results showing that graduate

UNEMPLOYMENT figures are nearing 2 million - the highest level since 1997 - demonstrating that the current job market is proving to be a highly competitive environment for many job seekers.

With this in mind, alongside survey results showing that graduate employment is in decline - with 28% fewer graduate vacancies than in September last year - the region's university leavers should not be overlooking the opportunity to start their own businesses.

As the class of 2009 face one of the toughest job markets of the last two decades, graduates across the east of England should consider all of their options and aim high.

The region's graduates are in fact in an incredible position as east of England universities have a national reputation for excellence in teaching and research. This coupled with the wealth of experience and expertise available free from Business Link means starting a business after leaving higher education should be regarded as a feasible option.

Herts-based Home2Garden - selling unique wind sculptures - was set up in 2003 by graduate Magic Henig and his business partner Lisa Atkin.

Magic turned to Business Link for advice in 2008, when previous year on year treble-figure sales growth slowed due to the business reaching market penetration.

Adviser Stephen Herman encouraged the partners to re-evaluate profitability across different sales channels, an analysis that proved invaluable and led to a re-focus away from trade distributors and sales agents, towards direct selling. Sales growth has picked up and profitability is healthy.

Herts-based graduates wanting to find out more about 'Starting Your Own Business' should register now at www.bookevents.org for the next FREE Business Link workshop at the Quality Hotel, St Albans, on September 2.

Pat Smith, Chief Executive of Business Link in the East of England said: "There is plenty of support available to encourage and help graduates to succeed in business. The moral of the Home2Garden story is that the sky's the limit! Don't be afraid to go it alone."

He added: "Even in these tough economic times, start-up businesses, including those conceived by graduates, have every chance of success. Business Link can provide guidance at each step of the way, from planning, market research and strategy to financing and sourcing suppliers. We can help to channel competencies and develop skills and this year's graduates should take advantage of the wealth of free support available to help them find their vocation."

Visit www.bookevents.org to find out more about the full timetable of Business Link events in Hertfordshire.

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