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Innovative graduates take employment into their own hands

Published: Friday, 27 April 2012   Category:

Recent research from a leading recruitment site showed that a third of graduates have been searching for jobs for over six months.

Further figures from the study also revealed that degree-holders are often making over 100 graduate job applications in their bid to get their careers in motion.

In order to encourage graduates to take their own initiative to secure employment, BusinessZone.co.uk, in association with digital services provider Yell, is encouraging budding entrepreneurs to take part in Britain’s biggest business pitching contest.

The competition will see graduates vying to present the idea in the best possible light in front of a live audience.

Initial heats for the competition will be held across the UK in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Entrants have the chance to scoop a £50,000 prize package.

Commenting on the contest, Dan Martin, editor of BusinessZone.co.uk said: “In a market where graduate opportunities are harder to come by, an increasing number of young people are creating opportunities for themselves. The number of self-employed graduates has increased by 46 per cent in the last six years, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa). We are hoping to see lots of these young entrepreneurs in the competition.”

2011 finalists for the competition included Helen McAvoy and Naomi Kibble, Cardiff University Business School graduates. The duo impressed the judging panel with their Rocktails product pitch, a range of frozen cocktails which they describe as ‘powerfully fruity’ and ‘wildly convenient.’

Entrepreneurship is definitely the right road to take for graduates according to Helen McAvoy:

“I would definitely recommend starting a business to any ambitious graduates. Taking part in The Pitch last year forced us to really articulate what our offering was. Taking the investors through our business plan and financial projections was nerve-wracking, but we knew we had a great product. It was an incredibly rewarding experience – we learned a lot.”

The winning pair offered the following tips for preparing a great pitch.

• Organisation and strategic planning are crucial when putting together a pitch. You need to demonstrate to investors that your business plan is realistic and that you’ve given your financial projections serious thought.

• Think long and hard about your branding and the key messages that best embody your product and values. Keep it simple and have fun with it.

Have you come up with any innovative business ideas recently? Would you prefer to start your own business or secure a graduate position?

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