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Enterprise Place

Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Enterprise Place is the perfect environment for students, graduates and staff of the University to start their own business. By offering a (completely funded!) support structure to help get a concept off the ground, the Enterprise Place is a safe environment to research, test and try out an idea over a 12-month period.

We are your sounding board; your critical friend, and we want to help you make that business dream a reality.

The Offer

Membership to the Enterprise Place offers a range of support, tailored to meet your needs and help you launch and grow your business. At the start of your journey with us, we will help you to assess where your strengths are, as well as the areas where you need support. You will complete an 'enterprise skills' matrix which will enable the team to signpost the relevant support strategy for you. 

During your membership you will have access to:

Start-up Skills Course

This 12-hour course is delivered in two-hour modules over a six-week period. You will cover areas such as basic business planning, sales and marketing strategies, finance and bookkeeping. It’s also a great opportunity to meet our business advisors and network with other recent Enterprise Place and Digital Incubator members.

We have a pool of highly experienced business advisors covering general business advice, Sales and Marketing, Social Enterprise and Business Coaching.

Group events, networking and information sessions

We regularly host guest speakers covering a range of topics to help you inform your business knowledge and expand your network. We listen to the needs of our members and offer the topics that are important to them. We also have a membership and work closely with the Entrepreneurs’ Forum who provide mentoring opportunities and exclusive access to their events.

Co-working space and peer to peer support

Based in Hope Street Xchange in the heart of the City Campus in Sunderland City Centre, the Enterprise Place has an impressive, Covid secure co-working space; where like-minded people can come together to share their business start-up experience. Peer-to-peer conversations and collaborations happen in this inspirational space.

PR opportunities

We are always on the lookout for good news stories and keen to shout about our start-up success stories. We work closely with the University’s central PR and Comms team to develop press releases and case studies to share with the region's business community.

Funding opportunities:

We recognise that funding can be a barrier for some when starting a business. We currently have the following funding opportunities available to members; small amounts of seed funding to help them get started on their business journey:

ERDF funding

Once you have officially registered your business (and within 12 months of trading) you can apply for a £1k Start-up grant (subject to availability and eligibility). The team will work with you to identify items essential for the launch of your business and guide you through the process of applying.

Santander Seed Fund

This limited and competitive pot of funding can be accessed by students and alumni of the University at either prestart or early trading. Find out more on our Santander Seed Fund page.

The Application Process:

Step 1: Tell us all about it

Drop an email to enterprise@sunderland.ac.uk or complete the form at the bottom of this page, and pop in to talk to us about your skills. You will have a one-to-one conversation with one of the team. We love hearing about your ideas, however ‘out there’ you think they might be. We’ll ask questions you might not have considered before and get you to think about any gaps in your knowledge.

Step 2: Submit an application

We’ll ask you to complete an application form so we can assess if your idea is something we can support. You’ll need to provide a basic outline of your idea and any research you may have done so far. We’ll ask you for your thoughts on what support you think you need, as well as your contact/personal details.

Step 3: Pitch it

Come and tell us more. We ask you to present your idea in a ten-minute panel presentation. What is your idea? What stage are you at? What support do you think you need? It’s honestly not Dragon’s Den and we just want to understand your vision and how we can help. The ‘panel’ will comprise of a member of the Enterprise team and someone relevant to your idea. That might be an academic or someone in our network who is operating in your sector and who could become a useful contact.

We’ll tell you straight away if we can support you and if successful, you will be offered 12 months membership. Not quite ready to pitch? We will give you some feedback and invite you to come back and re-pitch your idea.  You might also decide to opt for a partial membership and attend some of our workshops until you are sure of your next step.  We will also be invited to attend one of our Challenge Enterprise events which we host throughout the year.

The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £3,326,399 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. 

For more information visit the gov.uk website.

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The University of Sunderland is collecting this information in order for you to make an enquiry to the Enterprise and Innovation team. Your information will be stored securely and used only for the administration and provision of this request. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice – Enterprise place.