BE­ING ONE’S OWN BOSS

De­spite high startup fail­ure rates, en­trepreneur­ship is none­the­less fast gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Shang­hai, with a grow­ing num­ber of youths ea­ger to start their own busi­nesses even be­fore they grad­u­ate from uni­ver­sity

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

Star­tups around the world are no­to­ri­ous for hav­ing high fail­ure rates. For Zhou Dichen, who gave up the dream of set­ting up his own com­pany in 2015, fail­ure was down to what he said was mis­guided am­bi­tion.

“The in­ten­tion be­hind my startup am­bi­tion was not pure — I just wanted to win an en­trepreneur­ship com­pe­ti­tion. As a re­sult, many prob­lems emerged and de­stroyed our cam­paign when it was still in the start­ing stages,” said Zhou, a Tongji Uni­ver­sity un­der­grad­u­ate.

Yu Hai, a pro­fes­sor of so­ci­ol­ogy at Fu­dan Uni­ver­sity, of­fered a sober­ing piece of ad­vice for as­pir­ing stu­dent en­trepreneurs.

“Start­ing a busi­ness is an ex­tremely dif­fi­culty thing which re­quires ex­pe­ri­ence and skills. Only a very small num­ber of peo­ple have the re­quired qual­i­ties,” said Yu, whose own son had quit his job to become a startup founder.

“What col­lege stu­dents learn in school is far from enough to en­able them to run a busi­ness. They need time to build their so­cial net­work and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. I don’t en­cour­age every stu­dent to go about start­ing their own busi­nesses. They should work and learn from oth­ers first.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lu, sup­port from pro­fes­sional busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors is vi­tal to en­trepreneurs who are still in school be­cause they nat­u­rally rep­re­sent a high risk in­vest­ment for spon­sors.

“The process of set­ting up your own com­pany will be full of chal­lenges. You’ll face pres­sure from lim­ited re­sources and cap­i­tal and is­sues aris­ing from peo­ple man­age­ment. The re­al­ity can be tor­tur­ous if you aren’t pre­pared for what lies ahead,” said Lu.

Wei echoed this sen­ti­ment, say­ing that the man­age­ment of staff, work flow and mar­ket ex­plo­ration are the big­gest prob­lems for stu­dent star­tups.

“Start­ing your own busi­ness is a road of no re­turn. If you take a break or slack off for just a short while, you will be sur­passed very soon,” said Wei.

“If you want to do this, sit tight and never lose sight of in­no­va­tion.”

Cheng Si con­trib­uted to this story.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Wei Kai, a stu­dent en­tre­pre­neur who runs his own video stu­dio, had man­aged to se­cure clients such as New Bal­ance and Costa. The stu­dio's turnover af­ter just 10 months was 800,000 yuan.

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