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Services / Employability and Enterprise Hub / Start-Ups

Start your business

Start-Up at Sunderland is your gateway to turning business dreams into reality. Tailored specifically for students, graduates, and staff of the University of Sunderland, our supportive ecosystem provides the perfect environment for entrepreneurial minds. 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 start-up journey.

The offer:

Personalised Support: We work with you to understand your personal values and set clear goals for your business idea. We will help you to assess where your strengths are, as well as identify the areas where you need support to achieve your objectives.

Start-up Skills Course: A comprehensive course covering key business topics including; identifying your business model, sales, marketing, IP and legal, tax and bookkeeping. It’s an opportunity to gain key knowledge and connect with other emerging business founders.

Entrepreneurial Development team support: We will help you to explore, shape and map out your early business ideas and our incubation team will help to keep you accountable and on track to achieve your business goals, with regular reviews and check-ins.

Networking and Group Events: Stay informed and expand your network. Meet monthly with your fellow founders to share insights and spot opportunities for collaboration. We also host guest speaker sessions, featuring industry experts, which provide numerous opportunities for learning and networking.

Collaborative Co-working Space: You will begin your Start-up journey at the Digital Incubator at St Peter’s Campus. This vibrant co-working space is where like-minded students and graduates can come together to share their start-up experience. Peer-to-peer conversations and collaborations happen in this inspirational space.

Following an initial 12-month incubation period, early trading businesses will be supported to access the commercial facilities at the Enterprise Place at Hope Street Xchange.

PR Opportunities: Shine a spotlight on your successes. We actively promote our start-up achievements, working alongside the University’s central PR and Comms team to celebrate and share your journey with the wider business community.

Funding Opportunities: Whether you need some financial help to test your idea or are in the early stages of trading and need support to take it to the next level, our team will guide you on how to access funding opportunities, including the Santander Seed Fund.

The application process

1: Engage via the Employability and Enterprise Hub:

Begin your entrepreneurial application journey on the Employability and Enterprise Hub. It's your one-stop platform to initiate the process. There, you can find the Start-Ups Pathway.
If you're a student you can dive straight into the pathway here using your UoS Login. 
If you're a graduate, you'll have to register an account first. 

2: Tell us about your idea: This is your chance to articulate your vision and tell us about any research undertaken to date. You will be invited to an informal meeting with the team where we can learn more about your passion and the potential behind your concept.

3: Presentation Session: Once you’ve met with our team to review your idea, you'll be invited to present it to our panel. This isn't a high-pressure pitch but is an opportunity for a deeper dive into your business. Engage with our team and industry experts in an enlightening session that will provide insights and feedback to help you to navigate next steps.

Following a successful presentation, you'll be invited to access our Start-Up at Sunderland support where we're committed to helping you transform your business idea into reality. If you need further preparation or research, we will provide feedback, allowing you to re-engage when ready.

The University is part of a City wide business support programme. Enterprising Sunderland is the overarching title for this business support programme and is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Delivered by a unique consortium of delivery partners in Sunderland working together to stimulate entrepreneurial ambition across the city.