Fri, Nov 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Restaurants top choice for young entrepreneurs

By Angelica Oung  /  STAFF REPORTER

The restaurant industry is the most popular field among young entrepreneurs, followed by the franchise and retail sectors, according to the results of a survey released yesterday by the National Youth Commission.

The survey found that 22 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 45 who were polled by the survey would like to start their own business. However, most would-be entrepreneurs have yet to take any concrete steps to make their dream come true.

But 51.9 percent of respondents said they were willing to attend seminars and information fairs to gain information about what it would take to become their own boss.

"Globalization offers challenges and opportunities," commission Chairwoman Cheng Li-chun (鄭麗君) said at a press conference publicizing the survey yesterday.

"We're offering flexible entrepreneurship advice and financial assistance to make sure our young would-be business owners are ready for that challenge," Cheng said.

She said her commission had given out NT$25 billion (US$762.3 million) in low-interest loans for 2,300 young entrepreneurs in addition to providing guidance through micro-business classes and other offerings.

One person who has benefited from the commission's Women's Entrepreneurship program was Hsu Hsiu-chi (許秀綺).

"Starting a business on the Internet is perfect for young entrepreneurs without much capital," Hsu said.

She said she got the idea for her Web-based fruit-selling company, hug.com.tw, when her boyfriend told her how hard life had been growing up in a orange farmer's family.

"We sell the fruit not as a product, but a special living thing. We tell the consumer where it's from, who grew the fruit," Hsu said.

"Along with new packaging and a quality guarantee, this makes the customer feel like he or she is getting something special," Hsu said.

Such "story-based selling" techniques have paid off for Hsu, who is optimistic about the future of her business.

Hsu's high-concept selling of fruit reflects what the survey discovered many Taiwanese believe about the power of branding.

More than half the respondents, 51.9 percent, said that establishing a distinct brand is very important for those seeking to start their own business.

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