I thought it might be worthwhile for me to write some words which could give you a feeling for why I care about social enterprise and why I founded The Student Economy.
I created The Student Economy for two main reasons.
Firstly, to reduce global unemployment. And secondly to inspire people towards work that is meaningful to them.
Originally, I set about creating this project due to witnessing the mass unemployment that occurred as a consequence of the financial crisis in 2008. In 2008, we witnessed a global meltdown in the economy despite the fact that the average person had not done anything wrong. It was the wrong-doing of major international financial institutions that caused the crisis but yet it was everyone else who felt the pain. The aftermath of the crisis has been that these financial institutions have been rescued by governments who have used the public’s money to keep them afloat.
At this point I realised that in politics sometimes the guilty go unpunished and the innocent are the ones who are made to pay – literally as well as figuratively. Governments are the organisations who are responsible for the health of the economy. They manage the economy by setting and implementing laws and regulations which promote business but also protect society by implementing sensible rules that prevent businesses from behaving unscrupulously. In the build up to the 2008 crisis, Governments have served business but have grossly failed to serve society. If Governments are unable to implement a set of sensible rules to promote trade and employment and do not make it easy for people to start new businesses or trade internationally, then ultimately, there will be fewer businesses, fewer jobs and therefore higher unemployment.
It was after coming to this realisation that I was inspired to try and help people to manage it themselves. Thus I started to build the concept of The Student Economy as means to inspire people to invent their own jobs and to remove the barriers that prevent people from entering the route of entrepreneurship.
Another consequence of the financial crash was that the jobs remaining in the market have had an oversupply of qualified candidates. The number of people in tertiary education has risen which used to be a positive metric for measuring economic prosperity, but unemployment has also risen. Thus even after becoming more qualified, there are not enough good jobs for people to aspire towards. There are a great many young people doing jobs that they are over qualified for and the low pay has meant they have remained saddled with debt. Earning a university degree used to be a solid path toward stable employment but with Governments that are unable to stimulate business and trade, there are not enough rewarding career paths out there for young people.
Hence, I created The Student Economy for the second reason, to harness young people’s potential into creating meaningful and useful employment for themselves. Seasoned entrepreneurs know how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to build a business. But the satisfaction of building it themselves and the learning experience is second to none. Above all, the world needs more brave people to choose the route of entrepreneurship to solve problems for society and provide employment for others.
Ultimately, I believe that there are two ways of looking at the work you do to earn a living:
One is the way put forward by the late Henry Ford: Work is a necessary evil, but modern technology will reduce it to a minimum. Your life is your leisure lived in your ‘free’ time.
The other is: To make your work interesting and rewarding. You enjoy both your work and your leisure.
The Student Economy opts uncompromisingly for the second way.
And with this in mind, I hope that The Student Economy will inspire careers that bring joy as well as a means for living.
As a student, you have the time and resources required to start a business. Student life is a fantastic time to be enjoyed by exploring, learning and making new friends. It is also the best time to learn about yourself, what you enjoy, what you are good at and what you hope to become. Today, you have access to technology that can allow you start a business in your own bedroom and through the internet it is possible to trade with people all over the world.
I hope that The Student Economy will become the community that will help to equip you with the skills and the contacts you need to succeed. You have the freedom to choose the type of business you wish to start and I hope this community of people will help you to find passion in what you choose to do.
I hope that as many people as possible will find useful information on The Student Economy and will provide support, advice and business to each other. I believe that the 21st century is bringing with it a wave of high-tech cottage industries based on business ideas that will solve social problems that will be beneficial for our chosen way of life. I hope that The Student Economy provides a source of inspiration and support for you and that it becomes a community that is worth being a part of.
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
– Edward Everett Hale, ca.1855