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Self Employment

Self employment offers a very realistic alternative to paid employment for many graduates. If you have a business idea and know your market then why not investigate this possibility further?

Develop your Business

Developing a business idea takes time. Normally there are several steps you might take:

  1. Generate Ideas:  
    1. What kind of product or service might you offer?
  2. Do some Market Research:
    1. What other companies / individuals are already providing services?
    2. Where might your niche be?
  3. Write a Business Plan:
    1. What are your vision, aims and objectives?
    2. What market research have you done? Who are your competitors?
    3. How do you plan to market your business and find customers?
    4. What finance do you need to start your business? What are your financial forecasts?

At points in this process you will want to speak to people to gain ideas, feedback and advice. Remember that if you are looking for advice on your business idea, and certainly when you are looking for finance, you will be expected to have thought through your idea to a considerable degree and you may be expected to at least have a draft business plan.

Sources of Support

While you are at university there is nothing to stop you from getting started with thinking about and even developing your business ideas. The Scottish Institute for Enterprise have a range of information and resources you can access as a Higher Education student. They also run competitions and events - and getting involved in these can be a great way to help you take your business idea and make it a reality.

The university also has two enterprise centres: the Centre for Enterprise in Perth and CREATE in Inverness.

There are also some sources of support for particular groups of people including  The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust for young people aged 18-25.

Business advice and start up support is also available locally throughout Scotland from Business Gateway. There are resources on their website covering topics such as writing a business plan and finance. You can also contact your local office for support.

HMRC have also created a series of e-learning courses including one called Starting Your Own Business. The other courses they offer include advice for specific kinds of business. The courses that may be of particular interest to students from the University of the Highlands and Islands are: Tax Advice for the Construction Industry; Tax and your Agriculture Business; Tax for Sports Businesses, Tax guide for Health Professionals, Tax for Dentists, Tax Advice for Music Tutors and Coaches, Tax Advice for Childminders, and Tax for HABIA (Hair and Beauty). Students may also be interested in the courses on Becoming an Employer, Exporting Goods; Trading with other EU Countries.


HMRC's YouTube channel also has useful videos on a range of matters, and they run a range of online seminars.