Successful Businesses Started by Graduates

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More graduates are rejecting traditional career paths in favour of entrepreneurial ventures. Full-time employment, though it may initially seem attractive, can have its pitfalls; long hours, little progression, and a lack of freedom are just a few of the reasons graduates are considering different opportunities.

Far from being a pipe dream, many graduates have turned to contracting as a means of employment and have turned their ideas into successful businesses. Here are four of our favourites:


Possibly one of the best known companies today, Facebook was conceived in 2004 from humble origins. Founder Zuckerberg was looking for a way for fellow Harvard students to communicate with one another when he thought of the idea.

The then-called “” was an instant hit and quickly grew into a worldwide social media platform. Today, Facebook is used by more than 400 million users per month.


Founded in 2011 by Stanford graduates Murphy and Spiegel, Snapchat was born from a desire to make their photos disappear at will.

After a failed start-up which lasted just under one year, the pair turned their attention instead to building their media platform. Snapchat quickly grew to success and as of 2017, the company is valued in excess of around $34 billion.


Awarded entrepreneur of the year in Kingston University's annual Celebrate Enterprise awards, Pezzuolo launched Togada, in 2014. The company aims to provide support for other graduates working in creative industries by showcasing talented portfolios.

Since its launch, the start-up has managed to secure employment for a number of other graduates from Kingston.

Elephant Branded

Nottingham graduate Munro’s inspiration was sparked when he returned from a trip to Africa and Asia in 2012. His bag company Elephant Branded is dedicated to providing school supplies to underprivileged children Cambodia with every product sold.

His philanthropic venture has drawn interest from high street store John Lewis and the company is enjoying a glowing success, with stores now open in Germany and Switzerland.

Be more inspired with our Graduate Hub

Thousands of people have turned to contracting to achieve their goals and you can too. For more inspiration from graduate freelancers and entrepreneurs, take a look at the Success Stories on our Graduate Hub.

If you don’t need any more inspiration and have already decided to take the next step in your career as a contractor, simply call us on 0800 464 0375 or visit our contact page to see how we can help. Here at ClearSky, we are dedicated to providing all of the support you need along every step of your journey.