Many entrepreneurs enter the business world without any higher education, finding their way in commerce through natural talents and sales patter. However, more and more Welsh businesses are finding universities to be pivotal in their formation, providing a useful foundation for successful enterprises.
An article in BBC News recently revealed Wales has a much higher start-up rate from university graduates than elsewhere in the UK.
It found that Welsh universities produce more than one in ten graduate entrepreneurs, despite only educating one in 20 UK students. This is a much higher rate than other universities across Britain, suggesting the education provided at Welsh establishments is more current, practical and applicable to the business world in this day and age.
Universities Wales stated the high rate of ‘graduate start-ups’ – new businesses formed within two years of leaving university – is the result of good support and encouragement from the institution. However, the article suggested it could also be down to the difficulty of finding jobs. With a lack of positions available in Wales, students leaving university might, therefore, be inclined to start their own business instead of trying to work for someone else.
Chairman of Universities Wales and vice-chancellor of the University of South Wales Professor Julie Lydon told the news provider lots of graduates have a strong desire to stay in Wales, despite the lack of employment opportunities here.
“I see it with some of our own graduates who say ‘this is what I want to do, I positively want to stay in Wales’. Graduates who come to study in Wales are wowed by what’s here,” Professor Lydon stated.
She added: “They may not have known automatically before, so there must be something around what we’re doing here that makes people stay and stick, which is what we want to do.”
Graduates may be encouraged to launch their own business in Wales more so than in other areas of the UK, as the country has a higher success rate of start-ups.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, nearly half (44 per cent) of businesses set up in Wales are still trading after five years. This is higher than the national average in the UK of 43.2 per cent.
This could be down to the government’s commitment to supporting Welsh businesses recently. For instance, the Growth Deal is aimed at boosting commerce in North Wales.
It is expected to create £1 billion worth of investment for companies in the region, which will encourage significant changes in the area.
Gwynedd County Council’s Iwan Trefor Jones recently spoke at the Denbighshire County Council March for Business event, saying: “The Growth Deal itself is just part of the wider Growth Vision for North Wales. North Wales is special, North Wales is somewhere we all believe in, so let’s take this Vision forward together.”
The money will be put towards developing projects that can create a big impact on the local economy, reported Business News Wales.
With 254 students from Welsh universities recently launching their own business after graduating, financial support such as the Growth Deal will be essential to ensuring these start-ups have a high chance of success.
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