New Grads Consider Entrepreneurship

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StartupsAccording to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, United States firms plan to increase hiring of new graduates by 10 percent compared to 2011. Despite this welcome news, hiring slowed in March, and young people are carrying most of the burden. Statistics released by the Labor Department show that just 54 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 were employed at the end of 2011, the lowest reported figure since the department began compiling records in 1948.

In the face of continuing economic hardship, more and more young people are turning to entrepreneurship to create jobs for themselves. According to the Kauffman Foundation, a research firm that studies entrepreneurship, the average age of a typical entrepreneur is about 43. Difficulties in securing startup capital and worries about student loan debt often prevent younger people from launching their own companies. Several universities, non-profit organizations and the White House are attempting to change that.

In June, the non-profit Venture for America will begin training 45 new graduates to work with fledgling companies in economically depressed communities. A national initiative, Startup America, is facilitating paid summer internships with companies in Massachusetts and Colorado, and Harvard University is sponsoring a competition that offers workspace and funds to students who have developed innovative business models, including a car-sharing service based in India and interactive restaurant menus.

The White House is encouraging entrepreneurship at historically black colleges, and a national campaign called #FixYoungAmerica is promoting student debt forgiveness, better training programs and increased incentives for young entrepreneurs. Students with innovative ideas are now able to take advantage of business creation programs at many colleges, including Stanford, Yale and the University of Miami.

College graduates are looking to entrepreneurship as a way to create jobs for themselves, follow their passions and promote positive change.

Read more at USA Today.