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Funding and support for university entrepreneurs

Starting a business at university? guides you through the wealth of support and finance available to students across the country...

University is a great time to start a business as you've got ample time, resources and contacts to get a business idea off the ground.

But how do you grow your university venture and what support is available to student entrepreneurs? has compiled details on the need-to know organisations, programmes and funding options for university entrepreneurs. Read on to find out more…

Prince’s Trust

The country’s leading youth charity programme, the Prince’s Trust can be a great source of business funding for student entrepreneurs. It offers financial help and business support for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Youth Business Scotland is a very similar scheme available for 18-30 year olds in Scotland.


The National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) aims to engage students in enterprise and has a UK network of over 260 students and enterprises. It also hosts the “UK’s premier” student and graduate pitching competition Varsity Pitch.

The Start Up Loans Company

A government-backed initiative, the Start Up Loans Company allows you to borrow up to £25,000 to start a business for a low fixed interest rate of 6% per annum. The company claims 54% of its loans have gone to 18 to 30 year-olds.

Shell LiveWire

One of the UK’s biggest online communities for UK entrepreneurs aged 16 to 30, the Shell LiveWire programme offers free business support and funding and claims to have helped over 880,000 young entrepreneurs. It regularly runs awards to support start-up businesses.

Grants for student entrepreneurs

There is normally a minimum of over 3,000 grant schemes – government, European and local – running at any one time across the UK, and many of these will be eligible to university entrepreneurs. Find out where to find small business grants here.

Venture capital firms, angel investor networks and more

If you’re looking to raise external investment to start or grow your business, then there are a range of venture capital (VC) firms, angel investor networks, funds and more that can help you. For a who’s who of the UK finance landscape, take a look at our A-Z Investor Directory.


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Showing 1 comment

  1. Your contacts and networks are as crucially important to your startup as funding and business advice, sometimes more so. Young startups shouldn’t rely on their social networks but early on try and build strong trust networks of people who they can eventually work with.