Enterprise: starting a business and self employment

Enterprise is the ability to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change, to create and implement new ideas and ways of doing things, to make reasonable risk/reward assessments and to act upon them in one’s personal life.

There is an increasing trend for some graduates to start their own business rather than pursuing the traditional graduate training scheme.

Developing and nurturing your enterprising skills could be beneficial in whatever career path you take. Recruiters will appreciate your creativity, innovation and self-motivation.

The three most common forms of enterprise careers are:

  • Founding a start-up - This is when you develop a unique product or service and bring it to market, either alone or with a team. This is the most traditional enterprise route.
  • Self-employment - This is when you are the owner of your own business and are solely responsible for the success of this business. You may also hire other staff if you are self-employed.
  • Freelancing - This is a form of self-employment but you are usually more beholden to the requests of clients rather than working for yourself.

Ultimately, the distinctions between these terms is most important for tax purposes, which is not a major concern at this early stage. The most important thing to note is that all enterprise careers require you to take responsibility for your own idea and develop it as your own boss.

Getting started

Get experience

Enterprise is all about having an ability to handle uncertainty, respond positively to change, taking risks and innovating. Whilst studying, you have lots of opportunities to develop a range of important skills to help you become more enterprising.

  • Join a student society and get involved by running events and managing finances
  • Organise your own club night or concert*
  • Buying and selling online*
  • Fundraising or volunteering for a charity
  • Take a course module with UCIL
  • If you are a research student you may have developed intellectual property as part of your studies. Talk to your supervisor to determine whether you, or the university, own this.

*Depending on how much you are earning, you may need to fill in a tax return.