More than half a million university students want to start a business

Collective turnover of student businesses has increased to £913m in the last year - tech and crafts among most popular start-up industries

518,372 studies are either running, or plan to run, a business while still at university, according to research from Santander Universities.

This figure is a 38% increase on the 375,000 entrepreneurial students recorded by Santander in 2015. The collective turnover of university businesses has almost doubled from £478m to £913m in the last year, at an average of £13,213 per annum.

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Technology (22%) and arts and crafts (18%) are the most popular types of business set up by students, followed by clothing, textiles, tutoring and administration services.

Students cited pursuing a hobby or interest (70%), financial motivation (58%) and work experience (26%) as the most common reasons to start a business.

Of those students already running a business at university, 26% said they wanted to continue with their business as a career after graduation, 50% would continue as a second job or hobby, 8% said the business would continue under the guidance of someone else, and 3% plan to close it down.

Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, commented: “Student entrepreneurs are an important contributor to the UK economy and it’s great to see an increase of over 30% since last year.

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“It’s also encouraging that many plan to stick with their business as their main career after graduation when their potential to flourish will be vast.”

2009 Young Gun Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam, commented: “Starting a business while still a student can be a very exciting as well as daunting experience. I would encourage young people to just go for it, and not to be afraid of failure. You’ll learn as you go and there is lots of support and information available.”


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