Students can take entrepreneurial path

Finding a job is a top concern for post-secondary students. Generally, as a society, we like to believe that the best course of action is for a young person to find an occupation they enjoy and let everything else fall into place. But the reality is the job market, like any market, runs on supply and demand and its current state is such a concern for students and their parents that high schoolers are trying to make post-secondary decisions based on where the job market seems to be heading.

Jobs are so central a social concern that they are the basis of political platforms. Between the municipal, provincial and federal governments, the job market receives heavy subsidies in the form of educational programs, employment incentives, financial incentives for job creators and much more.

But governments also invest a lot into incentivizing new businesses. Given this, and in the face of a still-sluggish economy, more students should look into entrepreneurship.

There are programs set up by schools, organizations and different levels of government that will aid anyone looking to start a business. Humber College specifically has an Entrepreneurship 101 free lecture series presented by HumberLaunch and the entrepreneur innovation organization, MaRS. The weekly lecture series introduces people to the basics of building their own business and it culminates in a competition where participants enter their business plans for the chance to win $15,000.

Starting a business can be a daunting undertaking. It’s understandably perceived as carrying a lot more risk than seeking a job. But with the job market in many sectors being as shaky as it is, the security of a nine to five job is diminishing and there are a lot of ways aspiring entrepreneurs can mitigate the risk of a new business venture.

Like the job market, there are government programs that will allow new businesses, which meet certain criteria depending on the program, to receive money for their business or receive tax breaks. Also, depending on what your business is you could be employing other people and thus reap the rewards of the aforementioned job creation incentives for employers.

We can continue to pour money into the job market, and we should, but only to a degree. A lot of these programs take tax dollars and use them to at least partially fund the salary of another individual. That’s a short-term solution; a bandage. Whether it’s through more investments into new businesses or a greater focus in schools on the entrepreneurship side of a given industry, students should be empowered to forego the traditional nine to five lifestyle. There is a heavy focus, especially in post-secondary education, on learning how to be employable, but maybe we should be teaching students how to become employers instead.