5 low cost business ideas to start at university

With the university term about to get underway, Startups.co.uk looks at the top business opportunities for budding student entrepreneurs...

Some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs started businesses while at university; Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page – the list goes on – so what’s stopping you from starting up whilst studying?

According to recent research from Santander, over 80,000 UK university students currently run businesses while studying and collectively generate turnover of over £44m. Impressive to say the least. What’s more, over a quarter of this number plan to turn their businesses into a full-time career upon graduation.

Dubbed “student start-ups”, budding young entrepreneurs are maximising on being within the university environment to launch a start-up and fund their education, pursue interests, and gain “invaluable work experience as a result of their entrepreneurial ventures”.

A report from Direct Line for Business also emphasised the fact that entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in UK universities. It found that more students than ever before are now starting businesses, with popular undergraduate start-ups ranging from creative businesses like clothing design, to hospitality and events promotion and tech-focused firms such as software development.

And it would seem that there has never been a better time to start a business while at university, if the growing number of initiatives to encourage student entrepreneurs are anything to go by.

Earlier this year, Europe’s largest student start-up event opened in Liverpool hosted by the National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), Mercia Fund Management launched a tax efficient fund for university spin-outs, and a number of universities have been actively doing their bit to promote enterprise. For instance the University of Southampton recently held a student hackathon to find great software concepts.

With 2015 a golden age for student entrepreneurs, we’ve compiled a guide to five of the top low-cost businesses to start at university, including case study examples from a number of high-profile university entrepreneurs that have scaled their ideas into successful businesses.


Action point:
See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a business idea
(external site, opens in new tab)

To help you get your university venture off the ground, you’ll also find a handy summary of the funding and support that is available to student and young entrepreneurs in the UK.

Click the buttons above or below to find out more about the best low cost business ideas to start while at university…

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