Student enterprises soar thanks to fund

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From music and clothing to road safety and interior design enterprises, the Santander Entrepreneurship Fund (SEF) is helping to put enterprising University of Chester students on the path to business success.

The SEF, to date, has helped many eligible students from the University to carry out activities, purchase items or gain office space to enhance their entrepreneurial skills, supported them to build their freelance career or helped them to start up a business.

Through the fund, students can apply for up to £250 per person to spend on items such as a laptop, or other electronic equipment, or services including market research, accountancy support, legal services, promotional materials and short courses. They can also apply for a desk within the co-working office space INDUSTRY in Handbridge, Chester, when office working is possible.

In partnership with Santander Universities UK, the SEF at the University is run by Careers and Employability, Student Futures. The fund is available to current full and part-time home-fee paying students, from under-represented groups in higher education, as part of the University’s Access and Participation Plan.

Students who have received funding describe the award as having a big impact in helping them to realise their ideas and enjoying success in the business world.

Britt Howard, a Popular Music Performance student, said: “The Santander Entrepreneurship Fund (SEF) has helped me put the building blocks and foundations in place to successfully launch my business. The £250 award enabled me to be fully equipped to launch my mobile vocal coaching business. Now I feel confident, ready and prepared.

“Above all the SEF has given me the personal confidence boost I needed to start my business. It has changed my entire career outlook and made me push myself with my career aspirations, alongside helping me with those initial steps.”

Jordan Caldwell, who studies Interior Design, said: “The Santander Entrepreneurship Fund (SEF) helped me to realise my potential and for me to see in myself what others did not.

“I would like to thank Careers and Employability and Santander Universities for the advantage they have given me: assisting my dreams to become a reality by helping me to buy equipment for my future business which I might not have been able to purchase myself without this funding.

“The technology sector, within Interior Design, is going through a major shift by using infra-red technology which I bought via the SEF.

“In the near future my business plan will come to fruition thanks to the kick-start from the SEF and the Venture Programme within Student Futures.”

Kirsty Badrock, Entrepreneurship Co-Ordinator in the Employer Engagement Team, added: “If you have a business idea you’d like to develop, an enterprise you’d like to grow or you’d like to enhance your entrepreneurial skills, and £250 could make a difference, we’d urge you to check if you are eligible and make an application.

“We’ve seen a fantastic variety of businesses get off the ground with this funding and you could be next.”

For further information about the SEF, the eligibility criteria and to apply, please visit: https://bit.ly/2mg4B5V.

The SEF is part of the University’s Venture Programme. Since 2011, the Venture Programme has supported more than 1,000 students to explore their entrepreneurial potential. The University has awarded more than £46,000 to help grow new ventures through the Excellence in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship and the Santander Entrepreneurship Fund, courtesy of Santander Universities UK.

For more information about businesses that have been supported through Santander funding, take a look at the Venture Business Showcase here: www1.chester.ac.uk/careers-and-employability/students/be-student-difference/venture-programme.