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Graduates can only dream of being boss
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Faced with a tough job market, fresh graduates are dreaming of running their own businesses instead.

But a recent survey has showed that such ambitions lack the required support and remain just that - dreams.

The Shanghai Municipal Business Promotion Center poll of 1,276 graduates in several universities and colleges in the city, released last Friday, showed 59.78 percent of respondents considered the possibility of setting up a company or at least a small store.

"But they just stop at the 'thinking' stage," it stated.

Respondents put the top reasons for not going it alone down to a shortage of investment and a lack of business opportunity.

They also listed lack of business experience and social networks, the need for advanced study and objections from family members as factors that stood in their way.

More than 90 percent of the interviewees said they would rather take up a job after graduating and then consider starting their own business two or three years down the road.

Guo Bing, a senior student in Shanghai International Studies University majoring in English, decided he wanted to be his own boss last year.

But he is looking for a job first. "If I fail to find a satisfying job, I would like to establish a company in exhibition services," Guo said.

The Shanghai native has some relatives working in a local printing plant.

With their help, Guo hopes to produce exhibition brochures at a relatively low price. He is also confident that his English language skills can help him do well in the industry.

"Social networking is an important factor leading to business success," Guo said.

Guo participated in a half-year, business-training course in a government-owned job training center, where experts are responsible for preparing students who want to start their own business.

Guo said that the shortage of graduate jobs is the main reason driving more university students to set up a business right after their graduation.

Jiang Ye, deputy director of Yangpu District Business Guide Center, said: "Students from second- and third-level universities and colleges are more anxious (to create a business) compared with their counterparts in top universities."

Jiang cited Shanghai Marine Products University as an example. "Most students in the university show great enthusiasm in business training courses. Many of them set up companies like raising and selling tropical fish and a number of them have successful businesses," Jiang said.

Jiang said the university sets up a business guide team made of government officials and professionals. They regularly give training courses to students who show an interest in having their own business.

The parents of university graduates are more willing to help their children start up alone, the survey showed.

"Once you win the support of your family, you have won half the battle," Guo added.

(China Daily November 26, 2007)

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