If your child wanted to start a business …

I taught in a polytechnic before for many years. As far as I know, proportion of polytechnic graduates starting a business on their own has always surpassed that of fresh university graduates.

In the university sphere, professional degree holders such as doctors, accountants, engineers, lawyers need to gain work experience in their respective fields before they become partners or practice owners. So they seldom set up a business from day one after graduation. This is what I know since my times. In recent times, new degree courses were introduced in the publicly funded university sector. One example is the art, design and media courses of NTU.

Finding a job in the art and design fields was not as easy if one wanted certain job based on personal interest and with certain remuneration expectation. So when my daughter decided to pursue her passion of designing and selling hand-made gift items (a passion that started in 2009 while she was in the first year of uni), we said why not. As parents, we gave our blessings and were willing to support her all the way. Starting a business on graduation entails lower opportunity costs for Shu. She has not yet got accustomed to a high salary if she were to work for an employer over a number of years.

Shu became a business owner registered with ACRA. She hired her first employee from January this year. That is her partner in the venture since 2009, also known as her mom. So passion triumphed over salaried job. Being on your own has another benefit, which is independence and not reporting to a boss. You call the shots in business deals. You decide on business plans and executions. You can try out new ideas without justifying why you are going into it. You rise and fall with your ideas and are answerable to yourself.

We support her fully and provide the accounting and financial aspects of the business since both mom and dad are trained accountants. These cannot be neglected as business can fail with poor financial management.

So when your child wanted to start a business, give it careful considerations and do not reject it outright.

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