Self-starters get a help­ing hand

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HE DAN hedan@chi­nadaily.om.cn

Mao Rui de­cided to start a com­pany to teach for­eign busi­ness­men Chi­nese af­ter re­ceiv­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree from a pres­ti­gious Bei­jing univer­sity.

“I en­joy the un­cer­tain­ties in run­ning my own busi­ness and it makes me feel life is full of pos­si­bil­i­ties,” said the 26-year-old.

“If I had cho­sen the same ca­reer path as most of my peers who ma­jored in lan­guage — find­ing a job in a lan­guage school — my life might have be­come dull,” she said.

Mao’s two busi­ness part­ners are friends of hers who both stud­ied teach­ing Chi­nese as a sec­ond lan­guage. Their com­pany, Geyi Lan­guage Center, opened last year in Shang­hai with four classrooms and a cafe. The three founders are the only full-time work­ers, while the center hires 13 part-time teach­ers.

The de­vel­op­ment and re­form roadmap re­leased by the Third Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee fo­cused on in­creas­ingly tougher em­ploy­ment prospects for col­lege grad­u­ates and urged greater ef­forts to help grad­u­ates to start busi­nesses by mak­ing bet­ter use of gov­ern­ment funds, among other things.

About 2 per­cent of China’s 6.8 mil­lion col­lege grad­u­ates chose to be self-em­ployed in 2012, show­ing an in­crease over four con­sec­u­tive years since 2008, ac­cord­ing to a July re­port by MyCOS Data, a higher ed­u­ca­tion con­sult­ing com­pany in Bei­jing.

Grad­u­ates from higher vo­ca­tional col­leges showed more en­thu­si­asm for en­trepreneur­ship than those from or­di­nary uni­ver­si­ties, the re­port said.

The Yangtze River Delta area, led by Shang­hai, had most col­lege grad­u­ates try­ing their hand at self-em­ploy­ment.

How­ever, a fol­low-up sur­vey by MyCOS found that the busi­nesses set up by col­lege grad­u­ates were per­form­ing badly. Of those who tried their hand at self-em­ploy­ment af­ter grad­u­a­tion in 2008, more than twothirds quit within three years.

If I had cho­sen the same ca­reer path as most of my peers who ma­jored in lan­guage — find­ing a job in a lan­guage school — my life might have be­come dull.” MAO RUI CO-FOUNDER OF GEYI LAN­GUAGE CENTER

of China’s 6.8 mil­lion col­lege grad­u­ates chose to be self-em­ployed in 2012, show­ing an in­crease over four con­sec­u­tive years since 2008

Mao said few grad­u­ates chose to start com­pa­nies dur­ing her grad­u­a­tion sea­son, and she said that staff at the univer­sity’s ca­reer center were sur­prised and un­pre­pared when she told them she planned to ap­ply for an en­trepreneur­ship cer­tifi­cate.

The Min­istry of Fi­nance es­tab­lished poli­cies in 2010 that al­low col­lege grad­u­ates to en­joy tax de­duc­tions and loan guar­an­tees with self-em­ploy­ment cer­tifi­cates au­tho­rized by the ed­u­ca­tional au­thor­i­ties.

Hav­ing spent six years in ed­u­ca­tion in Bei­jing and started a com­pany in Shang­hai, Mao agreed with MyCOS’s find­ing that Shang­hai pro­vides more en­tre­pre­neur­ial in­cen­tives for grad­u­ates.

“Shang­hai grants non-lo­cals points to ob­tain hukou (per­ma­nent res­i­dency) if they cre­ate jobs for them­selves and oth­ers, so now I have Shang­hai hukou,” she said, adding there is no such points-based sys­tem in Bei­jing.

Mao said she saw nu­mer­ous foun­da­tions and in­cu­ba­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions in Shang­hai to pro­vide cap­i­tal and train­ing for star­tups.

She suc­cess­fully ap­plied for an in­ter­est-free loan of 100,000 yuan ($16,300) af­ter her busi­ness pro­posal won a prize at a grad­u­ate en­tre­pre­neur­ial com­pe­ti­tion last year.

“The judg­ing panel was im­pressed by our idea of pro­vid­ing per­son­al­ized ser­vices for learn­ers, as we can send teach­ers to pro­vide one-to-one coach­ing for for­eign busi­ness peo­ple in Shang­hai, and the course for ev­ery stu­dent is de­signed based on each cus­tomer’s need and lan­guage pro­fi­ciency,” she said.

How­ever, given that none of the three founders of Mao’s com­pany had ex­pe­ri­ence in brand pro­mo­tion and sales, their busi­ness has not turned a profit due to a lack of stu­dents, while it is bur­dened with an an­nual of­fice rent of 126,000 yuan.

Ding Shengqing worked as a sales­per­son in a large IT com­pany in Guang­dong prov­ince for two years be­fore he started a plant to man­u­fac­ture com­po­nents for cell­phones in June.

“I don’t think grad­u­ates should rush into start­ing com­pa­nies. It is bet­ter for most peo­ple to work with a com­pany to get enough ex­pe­ri­ence first,” he said.

He com­plained that gov­ern­ment sup­port only ap­plies to young peo­ple who have grad­u­ated less than two years be­fore and prov­inces such as Guang­dong pri­or­i­tize help­ing grad­u­ates from lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties.

“Peo­ple like me who went to a ju­nior col­lege in another prov­ince and grad­u­ated more than two years ago are com­pletely on our own,” he said.

Liu Jun­sheng, a re­searcher with the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity, said it is ur­gent for all uni­ver­si­ties to pro­vide en­trepreneur­ship cour­ses to spur more stu­dents to be­come en­trepreneurs.

The gov­ern­ment should pro­vide more fa­vor­able poli­cies in terms of fi­nanc­ing, tax de­duc­tions and train­ing for all young peo­ple to al­low flex­i­bil­ity for grad­u­ates to de­cide when and where they should start a busi­ness, urged Gao Wen­shu, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Pop­u­la­tion and La­bor Eco­nom­ics un­der the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences. Hou Liqiang con­trib­uted to this story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.