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Student and graduate enterprise opportunities

The University’s Enterprise team are here to help you realise your start-up ambitions.

We have a long history of supporting our enterprising students and graduates and have been recognised in the 2021 Knowledge Exchange Framework as the top university in the North East for graduate start-ups, and in the top 30% nationally.

Whether you want to explore your skills to start a freelance or self-employed career, set up a Limited Company with an idea to scale and grow, or have a business idea driven by a social impact; we have the tailored support available to help you take the first step on your entrepreneurial journey.

Choose your pathway to business

Current students and graduates, no matter how long after leaving us and from any discipline, can apply for support from our Enterprise team, to take your ideas from concept to reality. 

Applying for membership couldn’t be easier. It starts with a conversation with the relevant team, an application form and you telling us all about your idea in a short presentation it’s not like ‘Dragons Den’ we promise! Have a look to see which pathway fits your idea.

Start-up Funding Opportunities

Santander Seed Fund

Santander Universities

In June 2019, the University signed a new three-year partnership with Santander Universities securing £100,000 of funding. This partnership will support a variety of initiatives creating enhanced opportunities for University of Sunderland students and graduates to make the most of their higher education experience and to improve their employability prospects.

One of the areas of particular focus is to support students and graduates to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and help them to launch a business. The Santander funding will complement the existing programme of support available via the Enterprise Place and we are delivering a number of initiatives from supporting idea creation, through to growing a business.

Find out more about Santander Universities.

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Enterprise Place

The Enterprise Place is a safe environment for students and graduates from any discipline to research and develop a business idea. We have members from a broad range of sectors, working on ideas from concept to creation. By becoming a member of the Enterprise Place you will receive free business advice, funding, peer support and access to co-working space.

Based within Hope Street Xchange, the University’s commercial hub on City Campus, we encourage entrepreneurial thinking and collaborative working, so you won’t feel alone while you see your business idea come to life. From sole trader and partnerships to social enterprises and Ltd companies, we can help you discover and realise your start up ambitions.

Find out more about the Enterprise Place.

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Digital Incubator

The Digital Incubator supports students and graduates with digital skills to explore the possibility of working for themselves as freelancers, or to start a business with a digital focus. The incubator, based in the heart of the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s, is brand new for 2021 with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment providing a comfortable co-working space, dedicated academic mentoring and links to the University’s mediaHUB. We have members across a range of digital business ideas from photographers to podcasters, app & web developers to graphic designers. Come and join our supportive community as you begin your digital start-up.

Find out more about the Digital Incubator.

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.