Small Biz Insider: Advice for 2020 Graduates, Houston's Newest Entrepreneurs
Houston-area colleges and universities graduate more than 100,000 students each year. But 2020 is an especially challenging year for these new graduates, including those who aspire to start their own business venture.
Houston faces a dual economic challenge stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic andÂ the oil downturn. Together, these two factors have createdÂ an economic situation thatâs quickly surpassed unemployment numbers from the Great Recession of 2007-2009.Â
Our guests on this episode are:
Dr. Yolanda Norman is the Assistant Director of the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering Career Center and leads the UH Cooperative Education Program. She is also the founder and CEO of FirstGenCollege Consulting.
Dr. Hesam Panahi isÂ Interim Executive Director of the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He's also a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the Jones Graduate School of Business as well as a Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Houston.
Here are some highlights from this episode:Â
Is now the best time to be an entrepreneur in Houston given the economic conditions? Yes and no.Â Dr. Panahi said on the one hand,Â there are a lot of new opportunities to innovate andÂ new problems to solve. Plus, with so many furloughs and layoffs, there's a pool of very talented people available to pull into the startup ecosystem. But raising money for your ventureÂ will be tough. Dr. Panahi said many are putting whatever resources they have into their existing businesses and investments, so finding someone to write a check will be difficult.Â
Graduating without a job or venture opportunity? Take inventory of your skills and projects. Dr. Norman and Dr. Panahi said they've had several students who've either had their job offers rescinded or had new job start dates pushed back to next year. So what now? Dr. Norman said new graduates should consider the projects they've done, their capabilities and what they can bring to the table. Include that in your resume and cover letter. Tell others what value you can offer as an entrepreneur.Â
Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, whether you're planning to start your own business venture or not. "There are things entrepreneurs do that you can apply in your day-to-day routine," said Panahi. Entrepreneurs take on a ton of risk, not knowing what the outcome is going to be, and they try to mitigate that risk as much as possible but are flexible enough to quickly change direction if they need to. Even if you don't want to be an entrepreneur, get involved in entrepreneurship programs and you'll find bits and pieces that'll be useful to you.Â
Small Biz Insider is presented by:Â
ClickÂ hereÂ for more COVID-19 resources for small businesses.Â Visit the Partnership'sÂ COVID-19 ResourceÂ page for updates, guidance for employers and more information.Â
The Small Biz InsiderÂ podcastÂ is part ofÂ our digital series highlighting entrepreneursÂ in the greater Houston region who are making a big impact in the small business community.Â
Subscribe toÂ Small Biz InsiderÂ through these popular podcast players:
Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Spotify