Students raking in cash while still at university

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We go to school for 12 years and work hard so that at the end of matric we get good enough results so that we can get into university. Getting into university gives us the opportunity to study towards a career we are passionate about or a career which we feel will make us the most money and lead to a comfortable life for us and our extended family in some cases depending on where we come from. People who go to university and graduate generally make more money than people with no tertiary education.

Those who do not make it to university go straight into the job market and gain work experience or open their own businesses all in the name of making a living and seeking a better life. Those who do not go to university have a head start when it comes to work experience and earning a living, but they often have to start from the very bottom (low income) and work their way up and maybe they may enrol at distance learning institutions to get some form of qualification so that they can get promotions.

students making money while still in varsity in south africa
Student run coffee vending machines
pic from Unicafe fb page

Those of us that choose to go to university often do not get any work experience while we are at university except for the compulsory vac work that some courses require in order for you to graduate. We just focus on school and hope that money and wealth are waiting for us after we graduate but how many of us find jobs after graduation and how many of us find well-paying jobs straight out of university without any experience?

Let us define what rich is because the definition of rich varies depending on where you are, someone who is rich in the hood (ekasi) may not be rich when you compare him/her with someone who lives in Camps Bay or Sandton. I will define someone who is rich as a person with a networth of over a million rand. If you make a million a month and spend a million a month you are not rich just a high income earner because if that million had to stop coming in next month how much would you have saved up, could you be able to maintain your lifestyle afterwards and for how long? People get rich by finding ways to make money, saving that money instead of spending it all and investing some of that money wisely so that it makes more money for them.

Okay now that I have deviated from my subject matter it’s time to get back to what I was talking about, as students here in south Africa we are not really encouraged to find employment or encouraged to be entrepreneurs but you are more likely to hear advise like focus on your studies etc. If you read stories about most people who are rich and are entrepreneurs what you will find common in most of their stories is that they started doing entrepreneurial things from an early age, they did not just focus on school and hope at the end they found a nice job that pays well. They always looked for opportunities to make money, opportunities as in problems they could help solve via entrepreneurial solutions.

I am going to tell you a story about two UCT students which I hope will inspire you to look for entrepreneurial opportunities while you are at varsity so that you can start generating passive income while you are still studying and when you eventually work you will have more than one stream of income and one step closer to becoming rich and comfortable.

students making moeny while still at university in south africa
Shin on the far left, Hardy on the far right

Mechatronics students Jason Hardy and James Shin from the University of Cape Town saw a gap on campus for quality but affordable coffee so they decided to make vending machines that make different variations of coffee and hot chocolate. They made the coffee vending machines themselves using resources from South Korea. The coffee vending machines are available throughout the UCT campus and students can be seen lining up every day between classes, during lunch, when they are pulling all-nighters the coffee helps keep them awake and before writing tests. There are tuck-shops on campus which sell coffee but the coffee from the vending machine tastes great and its only R10 for a large cup, the benefit of the vending machines is that they work after hours when all the tuckshops have closed and during vacations when there aren’t that many students around. According to an interview the Unicaf guys had with varsitynewspaper, the aim of making these vending machines was to provide “a big cup of coffee, with freshly ground coffee beans” at a student friendly price. The Unicaf guys did admit that running a coffee vending machine business is time consuming which is why I guess many students shy away from entrepreneurial endeavours whilst they are still studying but the benefits are huge. Hardy and Shin are planning to expand their business throughout UCT and put advertising screens on machines so that the costs of coffee can be subsidised by the money they make from advertising and they plan to improve their machines to include more features.

There are many possibilities for this coffee machine business, Hardy and Shin are already talking of plans of opening a coffee roastery in future, this could be the start of a very wealthy future for Shin and Hardy as they could finish their degrees and work as mechanical engineers which is a good paying job especially after you have fully qualified and also have another income stream from the vending machine business and the roastery business if that is the direction they eventually take. We could all learn a thing or two from these two guys, they identified and gap in the market, seized it using knowledge of the degree they were studying for, they did not wait until they graduated to make money from their studies.

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