In previous years, the golden period for job hunting in “March and April” fails to generate any ripples of excitement this year, leaving a sense of anxiety among a large number of graduating students. The estimated number of graduates from national universities in 2023 is expected to reach 11.58 million, an increase of 820,000 compared to the previous year.
However, in April, a certain university in Shanghai released the employment status of its 2023 graduates, revealing an overall employment rate of only 14.83%. Faced with the imminent reality of “graduating into unemployment,” this year’s graduates have started exploring alternative paths: since finding jobs is nearly impossible, why not become their own bosses?
They have embraced a low-cost entrepreneurship model by setting up street stalls right where they are. About two months ago, a wave of fresh blood entered the realm of street vending, consisting of workers transitioning from different industries. Accountants switch to selling snacks, architects start barbecue stalls, and clothing store owners sell egg-filled pancakes… Suddenly, the busy street vendors seem to be multitasking workers with multiple identities.
Now, when you take a look at the roadside stalls, you might encounter a well-dressed individual cheerfully shouting, “Don’t miss out if you pass by,” while eagerly observing the youthful faces of passersby. It’s highly likely that these bright-eyed vendors are university students.
Initially, the entrepreneurial-minded students started by experimenting with street vending in the snack sector. They sold items like starch sausages, grilled gluten, hand-pulled pancakes, homemade shaved ice, and spicy chicken feet, following the trend set by experienced street vendors.
However, before they could recoup their initial investment, no one knew how many burnt starch sausages they had to endure or how many skewers of gluten they tearfully consumed when no one was buying. They might have even spent money from their earnings at the neighboring stalls to treat themselves.
Although they became engrossed in starch sausages and neighboring shaved ice before their ventures could take off, the university students running street stalls were adept at analyzing their performance and making timely adjustments. They transitioned from “selling what’s popular” to “selling what’s in demand” by observing market opportunities and venturing into the realm of handmade products.
Not enough time to grab breakfast for the busy workers? These students set up sandwich and milk stalls at bus stops, subway exits, and other locations. They highlight the fact that the products are made fresh in the morning and can be pre-ordered through WeChat, gradually building a community and expanding their business.
Parks, night markets, and youth markets became hotspots for their activities. Amateur photographers put up signs saying “Instant Polaroid Photos: 6.6 yuan for one, 9.9 yuan for two,” saving the less skilled photographers in tourist areas.