The three friends Joshua Barley, Sony Drinkwater and Kieran Fitzgerald, all of whom are 22 years old, realized that the job market will be difficult for new graduates, especially after the enormous impact of the Corona virus on the labor market became evident in the months of March and April.
Joshua and Sony were old friends from their school days. He met Joshua Kieran at the University of Birmingham, and introduced him to Sonny, who was studying at Bristol.
And the three students, while in their final year of study, realized that job opportunities and graduate programs had disappeared in the spring due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
So they decided to start a company, in which they combined all the experiences and skills they had. Joshua and Sony both studied dietetics, while Kiran was studying the benefits of exchanging gifts in the workplace, as part of his graduate project.
They used these interests to focus on what has clearly become an important new reality in life, which is working from home.
The three started Snacksis to provide gift boxes of healthy snacks for companies to send to home workers.
And the box contains healthy snacks with well-known brands, the kind you might find in organic food stores.
The company obtains goods at lower prices by buying directly from the manufacturers. When the company began operating in July, it sold only five funds, but its turnover increased tenfold in August. In September, the company sold 800 boxes, with revenues of over £ 9,000.
Initially, the three friends were packing themselves in a garage owned by Sonny’s parents in Kent County. But now they have hired the first employee of the company to work on packing the goods. Now, the company has many unique clients, such as HSBC, Iris and Lululemon.
But this success led to the emergence of a dilemma for the team, as this work was not supposed to be a permanent project, but rather they thought of it as a temporary stage, until the wheel of the economy turned again and they could find other jobs.
“Now all of that has changed, the company has grown enormously, and we’re going to try to take advantage of that,” Sony says.
“We are now seeing this as a long-term opportunity for us,” Joshua adds.
As for Kiran, he found a job at HSBC, but he is reluctant to leave the company he helped establish, so he still works for it, albeit for a shorter time than before.
For the three friends, this is a tremendous learning experience. “My advice is to do one small thing every day that makes your business idea more realistic, whether it’s setting up a meeting or building a prototype,” says Sony.
Kiran says, “Do not be afraid of the difficulty of communicating with others, and all you have to do is communicate with people through the LinkedIn application, and you will be surprised by those who come back to you.”
Despite the uncertainty associated with the complete closure due to the Coronavirus, many took this opportunity to establish new companies, and the evidence for this is that the number of companies established in June 2020 was about 50 percent greater than the number of companies established in the same month of 2019, according to the Entrepreneur Center. The month of July set a new record, with more than 81,000 companies registered.
There is no clear data on the actual number of companies that new graduates have created. But many final-year students facing fewer job and internship opportunities have decided to start on their own.
Josephine Phillips, 23, says she has always had a “genetic drive to be entrepreneurs”.
She actually showed this while in her first year of university, while studying Physics and Philosophy at King’s College London. She said she made a good amount of money selling used clothes on the widespread app “Debub”.
At the same time, she was developing the idea of creating her own digital fashion platform, and she dreamed that her platform would be “similar to the Deliveroo service, but for used clothes.”
Phillips says that this idea came to her mind as a result of her own experience, as she often glimpsed a piece of clothing that she liked in a second-hand clothing store, but she wished that she had a slight modification, either to improve her appearance or to make it more fashionable, but she did not have Good sewing skills to do it herself.
When lockdown measures were imposed in March, she initially froze her idea, but realized something very important. “All restaurants were closing their doors, but the thing that kept them alive was the DELIVERO website,” Phillips says. “So, I thought of a way to allow tailors to continue receiving orders in a way that no communication occurs.”
Phillips called her company “Sogo” and appointed a team of cyclists to collect clothes from homes and take them to and from sewing shops to make adjustments. The company is currently focused on West London.
However, Phillips was not going to be paved with roses, as recent graduates face some credibility problems.
“I remember my first attempt,” she said. “I put on a suit and formal clothes, but the tailor told me: ‘How old are you? You look like my 14-year-old daughter.”
Phillips gained this tailor’s trust by working with him for a trial period, bringing him 20 new clients, and making him earn hundreds of pounds from the job, she said.
Her company officially launches this month. She says she is not anxious, stating that she is “incredibly optimistic.” She had thought she would find it difficult to hire cyclists to collect clothes, but more than 60 applications have applied for 20 jobs.
Phillips advises young entrepreneurs, “Young females like me can have some problems with trust, but they will gain experiences on their own from working in the market. For investors, something that helped me a lot. “
“If the company started well, I would devote all of my time to working in it,” says Sahrish Ahmed, 22, “as I always dreamed of being an owner of a company.”
The young entrepreneur now runs an online jewelry company called Rose Eclipse, although this wasn’t her original plan.
While studying global fashion brands at Glasgow Caledonian University for the past three years, Sehrish has always considered a career in fashion retail.
In order to earn some money and gain more experience while studying, Sehrish worked in a variety of stores, including Oxfam, Gap, Mothercare and Victorias Secret.
But then, the Corona virus broke out. “The first thing that came to my mind was that I would not attend the graduation ceremony, nor would I walk on that stage, that is the thing that I have been looking forward to,” Sehrish says.
Then the implications for her future career became crystal clear, postgraduate and internship opportunities were canceled. So she decided to start her jewelry business, which until then was only a dream come true.
After Sehrish checks the samples, she brings her products from China, then sends them to Glasgow.
“I think the new generation of graduates is fully aware of how social media works, and we need to use that to our advantage,” Sehrish advises those in her position.
Sehrish markets her products through her Instagram and TikTok accounts, and has used her extensive knowledge of these platforms to write compelling posts and check out the latest trends.
“I was surprised when I started getting orders from people who were not just friends or family members,” Sehrish says.
Sehrish makes dozens of sales every month, but that isn’t enough to make a living yet, but she wants to see if she can grow her business into more than just a side business, something she didn’t even think about before.
Coronavirus has frustrated many graduates’ plans for the future. But some are starting to feel they are taking back control by starting their own businesses.