More grads go entrepreneurial route

Florida International University, University of Miami professors offer advice

MIAMI – More college graduates are skipping the traditional careers routes and starting their own businesses instead.

Michael Galea and Catherine O'Sullivan never imagined their idea for a baby gift would turn into Wee Rock Toy Company.

"When we showed people and got such a good reaction from it, it just -- it told us maybe we had something there," said Galea.

The recent graduates from the University of Miami School of Architecture improved the infant rocking chair.

"We gave ourselves a set of parameters," said Galea. "We knew it had to fit in the luggage, we knew we wanted to assemble it very easily, and we knew we wanted no hardware involved when we assembled it."

"It was really learn as we go and the best way to learn is through experience," O'Sullivan said.

The recent graduates decided entrepreneurship was better than entering the job market. Dileep Rao, a business professor at Florida International University, offered his advice.

"Start young," he said. "To me, that's the most important thing. Can you get the confidence to know you can succeed on your own as opposed to saying 'I need a job.'"

Susan Amat, the director at University of Miami's Launch Pad, said entrepreneurs usually share common traits.

"They are just the most tenacious people in the world," she said. "They will take no for an answer but then they will ask the question in a different way. They just find a way to get something done."

"It wasn't as if we looked out in the market place and said 'I want to start a business. Let's take that toy, make it better,'" said Galea. "(It's) just solving your own problem and that's essentially what we did."

Designing and manufacturing their product was easy for Galea and O'Sullivan. Learning the business world was more difficult.

"It's important to know what you can do yourself," said O'Sullivan. "Know when you need help and you need to ask for advice."

"Find the right trend that you can climb on. Great entrepreneurs don't create trends but as soon as a trend opens up, they jump on it," said Rao.