• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Nigerian undergraduates investing in profitable ventures despite harsh economy

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On a consistent basis, security agencies are on the trail of youths who are engaged in some criminal ventures to make quick money. The involvement of many youths in ‘Yahoo’ business and some other shady deals has become a concern to security agencies and to the government.

The youth, who are involved in these crimes are found everywhere, including university campuses across the country.

There are however, many others who are into legitimate businesses and making good returns therefrom. From such businesses, they pay their tuition, hostel fees and other levies without waiting for their parents or guardians. Many of today’s Nigerian undergraduates are known for their resourcefulness and determination.

Despite the challenges of tertiary education in Nigeria, many students are finding innovative ways to earn a legitimate income while still in school.

Currently, many university students are making their first million through legitimate means. While in school, they are into real estate as realtors, associates or brokers, while some provide ICT services, among others.

Undergraduates are monetising their passions and talents. Musicians, artists, and writers are using platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Medium to showcase their work and earn money from advertising, sponsorships, and sales.

Read also: Nigerian students shaping the future of the entertainment industry

In addition, many students are leveraging technology to create and sell digital products, such as eBooks, courses, and software. With the rise of e-learning, students are creating and selling online courses on digital platforms like Udemy and Teachable, among others.

Similarly, undergraduates are also making legitimate money through internships and apprenticeships. Many companies offer paid internships and apprenticeships to students, providing valuable work experience.

Said Yekeen, a Laboratory Scientist undergraduate of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), who also engages in shoe making, told BusinessDay (BD) Sunday that many undergraduates engage in working as part-time staff to some companies like hotels, cafes, restaurants and sachet water factories.

According to him, some undergraduates also engage in crafts like shoemaking, barbing, and hair styling with registered ventures with the express permission of school management.

He further said that Nigerian undergraduates are demonstrating remarkable resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit by finding legitimate ways to earn income while in school.

“Through freelancing, entrepreneurship, part-time jobs, online surveys, affiliate marketing, monetising passions and talents, creating digital products, and internships, students are not only supporting themselves but also developing valuable skills and experiences that will benefit them after graduation,” Yekeen said.

Gbenga Oni, a fresh graduate from Ekiti State University told BD Sunday that he engaged in farming activities to feed and make legitimate money to meet up with school expenses. Oni, who also engages in arts and painting said that one of his paintings was sold for N500,000 in 2023.

Another student of Living Spring College of Technology and Innovation (LISCOTECH), who gave her name as Deborah, told BD Sunday that she was into pastry services on campus.

Deborah bakes cake, doughnuts, and chin-chin to make legitimate money to support herself in school.

She further said that it was essential to recognise and support the innovative spirit of the Nigerian youth, as the country’s economy continues to evolve.

Currently, one of the primary ways Nigerian undergraduates are making money is through freelancing. With the rise of the gig economy, students are offering their skills to clients around the world.

“Undergraduates engage in freelance writing, graphic design, web development, and social media management, which are in high demand leveraging platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer to gain access to a global market.

“Another revenue avenue for undergraduates is entrepreneurship. With the adoption of entrepreneurship studies across Nigerian tertiary institutions, many students are identifying needs in their campus communities and creating businesses to meet those needs,” Anthony Abali, whose business location is inside a campus, said.

He explained that from selling food and beverages to offering tutoring and academic support services, student entrepreneurs are thriving across several universities in Nigeria. Also, the Nigerian government’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths through initiatives like the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWin) programme have also encouraged students to start their own businesses.

The initiative was established by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, and the central aim of the scheme was to empower Nigerian youths by providing grants to small business owners.

Apart from going the entrepreneur route, part-time jobs are another option for Nigerian undergraduates. Many students now work part-time on campus, serving as lab and research assistants, library attendants, or administrative support staff.

“I sell stuff to students in the hostel,” Ruth, a student of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, told BD Sunday.

According to her, many undergraduates are finding part-time work in retail, hospitality, and customer service off-campus.

“These jobs not only provide income but also valuable work experience and skills,” Ruth said.

Speaking further, Ruth said that online surveys and affiliate marketing are other lucrative opportunities for undergraduates.

She said that undergraduates are earning legitimate money by participating in online surveys.

Ruth, a Banking and Finance student, disclosed that she invested in crypto to hedge her fund against inflation. According to her, many undergraduates are investing in digital assets that historically perform well during inflationary periods, such as real estate, stocks, or precious metals, and that the notion that most Nigerian youths engage in internet fraud online is not true.

She further urged other students to develop valuable skills to increase their earning potential and stay ahead of inflation, as they build emergency funds to cover unexpected expenses and maintain their purchasing power.

She also disclosed that many of her course mates have diversified their income streams to reduce reliance on a single source of income from home, which has contributed to their ability to develop a budget and prioritise their needs over wants to manage finances effectively.

“I always tell my course mates to consider investing in cryptocurrency or other digital assets, even with its volatility. Invest in inflation-indexed instruments, such as treasury bills or bonds, that offer returns tied to inflation rates.”

She advised those without the background knowledge of investment to educate themselves on personal finance and investing to make informed decisions.

She said that Nigerian undergraduates can take advantage of tax-advantaged savings vehicles, such as a pension fund or retirement account, which will help to develop a long-term perspective and focus on wealth creation rather than short-term gains.

Another female undergraduate who spoke on condition of anonymity said that it is only unserious female students that follow men around because of money.

“In the Age we are in today, you have to be intentional in whatever you do. If you want to end your life in disaster, it is left for you, but if you want to achieve your dream, the opportunities are limitless. It is only ladies without purpose in life that are throwing themselves around me to get money. Use your intellect and make good money.

“There are loads of opportunities that technology has given to us. People are yearning for services and looking for who can provide such services. If you choose to invest little by little, there is nothing stopping you. A number of my mates I know are big investors today, yet in school. You can imagine what they will become tomorrow as soon as they leave the university.

“I must tell you that inflation can erode purchasing power of any student, but with smart financial decisions, Nigerian undergraduates can protect their wealth and build a secure future,” she said.

Some undergraduates are leveraging affiliate marketing which involves promoting products or services to earn a commission on sales. Similarly, undergraduates with a large social media following can leverage their influence to earn money through affiliate marketing.

A 300-level student of the University of Lagos (Unilag) who identified himself simply as Wisdom told BD Sunday that Nigeria’s robust educational system is an avenue for a steady influx of students seeking accommodation near their respective campuses, which some undergraduates are leveraging to make legitimate income on the back of consistent demand.

According to him, student housing provides higher rental yields compared to other forms of residential real estate. “The demand for student housing remains relatively stable, even during economic downturns.”

He further said that student realtors are leveraging on tailored investment strategies to earn money through real estate, which also offers investors the opportunity to adopt different strategies when investing in student housing, especially for students who live off-campus.