Graduates Turn Entrepreneurs – Amidst a Daunting Industry Crisis

By Jerome Keong

IFTM Comments is a partnership between Macau News Agency and Macao Institute for Tourism Studies

The Hospitality and Tourism Sector has experienced a drastic downturn where multiple ‘New Norms’ are being developed and are becoming a new way of life. What used to be a vibrant and aggressive industry depending heavily on its human resource the industry considered as the economic stronghold of Macao has been tested exhaustively in all 4 quarters of 2020.

Jerome Keong is a Lecturer at Macao Institute for Tourism Studies

Major restructuring practices are being employed by most if not all properties across the board to streamline operations as well as to satisfy business models. Even current hospitality professionals of various levels and tenure are uncertain of their fate in the industry. It is obvious that the current employment rate has fared worse than it had been in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as well as the 2008 global financial crisis.

 Employment opportunities, occupation stability, even job security are things of the past. Current situations have forced fresh graduates as well as final year graduating tertiary education candidates to fully fathom the current turmoil being faced by the industry and have inspired some to take a ‘leap of faith’ by venturing into self-employment vis-à-vis entrepreneurship.

By means of abandoning their comfort zones where they were educated and trained during their time as college students as well as internship candidates, these ‘greenhorns’ are willing to risk both time and possible future financial burden by venturing into an era of uncertainty. As elaborated by Greek philosopher Hippocrates in his Aphorism, “Desperate Times Calls for Desperate Measures”. These young business entrepreneurs are taking on self-reliance in weathering this economic turmoil.

            Most business concepts are of an online-platform where no physical or actual real estate takes form. From ‘order-to-deliver’ bake shops to online retail shops. Whether by means of establishing a stable future or riding out the current unstable employment predicament, not only are these young business individuals thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ but are actually acting on it.

Being sole proprietors of their very own endeavors will provide them a holistic understanding and experience of the multiple facets in the business concept of the industry. Not only are they being challenged to establish a business, they are also being given the gift of opportunity to have a better grasp of what is to come in the future. Little do they realise that this will without doubt mature their knowledge of the industry and will definitely be beneficial for them as future hospitality and tourism industry professionals.

            Not having the need of a significant start up investment, they have eliminated the need for liable asset investment hence lowering their potential risk and avoiding succumbing into major debt. Operating within the vicinity of their own estate has provided them further assurance of any financial pitfalls if their business venture were to cease moving forward.

            This generation of young adults are the future front runners of Macau and threatening times as such has compelled them to embrace challenges transforming them into positive risk-takers whilst strengthening their core understanding of the hospitality and tourism industry. In an industry where our forefathers once thrived, the new generation must now rebuild, restructure and recreate.