College graduate turns to 'Dr. Sweet Potato'

08:16, January 05, 2011      

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Li Kengqiang, boss of “Dr. Sweet Potato” sells grilled sweet potato at campus in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, Jan 4, 2011. [Photo/Sanxiang City Express]

A student has cooked up a monthly income of 15,000 yuan ($2,276) by selling grilled sweet potato on a campus in Changsha, capital city of Central China’s Hunan province, the Sanxiang City Express reported Tuesday.

Li Kengqiang, a 2009 undergraduate major in Business and International Trade from Central South University of Forestry and Technology, turned to selling the hot spuds after trouble finding a suitable job.

"The offers I got all paid a very low salary, less than 1,500 yuan ($227) a month during internship, and less than 3,000 yuan after formal enrollment, so I refused", Li said.

He got the inspiration of selling sweet potato during his trip to Beijing in Oct 2009. “The way of using a grilling machine to bake the sweet potato is different from the traditional one which uses big a chemical tin and charcoal fire,” Li explained, “the taste is better, and it’s cleaner, healthier”.

So he started his business on campus after getting back to Hunan, naming the store “Dr. Sweet Potato”. It was quite popular among students, then he opened two chain stores, using 50,000 yuan ($7,587) as an initial investment.

One year later, Li is now the boss of ten chain stores in Changsha—three of his own, and seven by franchise for other unemployed undergraduates.

"I wish to open 100 chain stores in the future, to encourage more graduates starting business on one’s own", said Li, “It’s fine to become a ‘Mr. grilled-sweet-potato’ though I am a college student, after all, being a boss of yourself is far more better than earning little in big cities,” Li added.

Source: Chinadaily.com.cm(By Jia Xu)
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