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The fear that stops a young entrepreneur

I am definitely not where I should be today. Instead of sitting with a hunched back over my computer, my fingers frozen from typing out details of my CV and past achievements on the online application forms of major graduate employers, I should be at an event entitled "Young People Starting up in Business".

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On Tuesday, I read on HeraldScotland that the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust is in the fortunate position of increasing the money kept in the pot for young people looking to start up or expand their business. As part of Glasgow for Business Week, PSYBT is holding a session for young people interested in creating a reality out of an idea.

Sadly, I did not know about this event until too late and would have gone if I had had enough time to reallocate what my to-do list told me I was doing today.

But how did I not know about this already? I have become very well acquainted with the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE), I follow lots of entrepreneurs and organisations promoting start-ups on Twitter, and yet no one told me about the event, not even my university careers centre.

My point is this (in case you thought I was just having a "poor me" moment): it is all very well to promote young enterprise ventures but, unless it is openly and widely advertised and encouraged, then we still won't know where to go for support.

I started my own little business venture during the summer, although it took me from January to think it through. SIE set up a competition for Bright Ideas and I made it through to the final with my business idea. And voila, I had Mademoiselle Macaron, a company specialising in the French delicacy that is macarons, an almond meringue creation.

I was fortunate enough to win £250 in a mini competition for the best business pitch in 20 seconds. I never knew I could be so succinct!

By the summer, I had moved to Edinburgh, made macarons in my flat and sold them to two French restaurants. It was a very rewarding though exhausting process yet I knew I would not be able to do it when I went back to university for my final year.

A few friends and family think I have solved the graduate employment dilemma by setting out on my own and employing myself. But it isn't so easy.

I am programmed to think that dreams and ideas are temporary and for the naïve and young mind. When I graduate, I should be a grown-up ready to embrace the idea of bills, council tax and responsibility. How can I do that if I am gallivanting about with pastel-coloured sweet things?

I am turning to the typical graduate job applications because I am doing what is expected, because I am too scared to go it alone and because I don't see where I can get the money from for what is needed to make Mademoiselle Macaron a success.

Although I have found help in one particular careers adviser at my university, the general consensus from others is that the life pattern set out for young people from school qualifications to college or graduation is then followed by a respectable job.

Maybe after a couple of years of "real" work in a normal office environment, I will be able to come back with more tools to make my business idea into a major success.

In the meantime, with a bigger presence from PSYBT, start-up organisations and the government, we might be able to stop the surprise and the raised eyebrows when you tell your granny you're going to become a businesswomen and she says: “Oh really dear, well that's an awful lot of work. How are YOU going to be able to do that?”

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