Gone are the days when being a university degree holder guaranteed you a good job in Zimbabwe or in any other part of the world for that matter. As employment prospects continue to shrink for younger people in the country, more of them are being driven towards higher education qualifications and more institutions of higher learning are, in turn, being opened to cater to them. Unfortunately the country’s economy is woefully inadequate to cope with the ever growing influx of new graduates into the job market. Starting a business venture is therefore increasingly becoming for graduates what it has been for everyone else all along: Less of a personal preference and more of a survival necessity. Here are just a few of the numerous entrepreneurship opportunities in today’s world that graduates can pursue.
Professional degree holders can start practices in their fields
Professional degrees are those whose purpose is to prepare students for careers in specific fields. Examples of such degrees include those in law, medicine, pharmacy and education. When it comes to choosing which entrepreneurship route to take, holders of these degrees often don’t have to scratch their heads too hard. Many of these professionals usually simply start practices in their respective fields—lawyers open law firms, doctors open their own medical practices, pharmacists open pharmacies etc. These types of businesses and their business models are usually pretty straight forward. Location, reputation, basic business smarts and the general state of the economy are some of the determining factors of success.
Online content creation
The creation of content to be consumed by people over the internet is one of the ways in which a number of companies and individuals are earning money—a variety of business models are used to achieve this. If the content which is created—in the form of text, audio, images, video or a combination of these—is able to find a sizeable enough online audience, a number of strategies or business models can be used to try to make money from it. One of the most popular ways of doing this nowadays is through the monetisation of blogs or websites using online advertising programs such as Google AdSense. Degree holders are at an advantageous position as they are better able to create valuable content related to their fields of expertise.
Hundreds of thousands of students sit for their public examinations every year and chances are high that there are currently several dozens of these living near your home. Education is very valued in Zimbabwe and there are people who have taken advantage of this and found ways of earning a living through offering their tutorship services to those who have impending public examinations. Some do this from their homes while others open tutorial centres—some of which eventually grow into small private colleges.
Online course creation
Nowadays people can also create courses based on their expertise and sell them online. Platforms such as Udemy can be used to sell courses and if the course reaches an audience which finds it valuable, it can earn a lot of money for its creator. The worldwide e-learning market is rapidly growing and is even finding customers in the business and academic sectors. You can practically create a course on any topic you can imagine as long as you believe that it will be valuable to enough people for it to be worth the while.
Graduates who have a wider breadth of experience or expertise in certain fields or industries can also consider doing consulting work. Consulting firms or consultancies are businesses comprised of one or more industry specific experts. The purpose of these companies is to provide professional feedback to organisations or individuals. They usually specialise in one or more fields—usually closely related ones. There are several different types of consulting firms such as:
- Human resource and
- Marketing consultancies
Consultancies comprised of relatively inexperienced individuals can target smaller firms, many of whom tend to have less professional expertise on-board, especially those operating in highly specialised or technical industries.
Software development is not solely the domain of those with IT related qualifications. In fact, I can daresay that no other profession, field or technical skill has attracted as many self-taught professionals as software development. Graduates from non-IT related fields who venture into software development tend to have a better understanding of the kinds of problems encountered in their respective professions and industries. This means that these people are often in a better position to come up with specialised software solutions for specific industries and professions.
Sales and retail
For some products and services, the salesperson needs more than just mere persuasiveness in order for them to be effective. For instance, scientific and technologically advanced products need to be marketed and sold by (or with the help of) knowledgeable individuals. These people often need to be able to readily respond to technical queries. This also means that these are the same people most suited to open and operate businesses which sell or distribute such specialised products.