Almost a third (30 per cent) of students - equivalent to 518,372(1) in total - currently run or plan to run a business while they are still at university, according to new research from Santander Universities(2). The findings represent a 38 per cent increase on the 375,000 budding student entrepreneurs recorded in 2015.
Amongst those that have already started a business, the average turnover is £13,213 per annum, equivalent to a collective £913 million(3) and almost double the £478 million turnover from last year’s research. Technology-based solutions (22 per cent) and arts or crafts (18 per cent) are the most common type of student venture. These are followed by clothing and textiles, tutoring and administration services (all at eight per cent).
The research, commissioned by Santander Universities to support their sixth annual Entrepreneurship Awards, which recognise and support student entrepreneurs from across the UK, reveals the most common reason for students to start a business or joint venture is to pursue a hobby or personal interest (70 per cent). This is followed by financial motivation (58 per cent), and work experience (26 per cent).
Students are aiming high with ambitious plans for growth. Almost half of all student entrepreneurs (46 per cent) expect their turnover to increase by up to 50 per cent over the next five years, with an additional 10 per cent aiming for a 250 per cent increase in turnover.
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 per cent since last year. 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.
“Juggling running a business with studying is not an easy task and the prevalence of these businesses demonstrates skill and initiative from UK students. Santander recognises the importance of supporting and encouraging these young business leaders to dare to invent, innovate, create and be entrepreneurial and this is the very essence of our Entrepreneurship Awards.”
Post-university business plans
The Santander Universities study questioned students about their future plans for their businesses and found that 26 per cent expect to pursue it as a career when they graduate. Over half (57 per cent) said they would continue the business as a second job or hobby once they finish university and eight per cent said the business would continue under the guidance of someone else. Just three per cent said they would close it down.
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.”
Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards
The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards support and encourage university students and recent graduates to pursue their business ideas through a national pitching competition to identify the best businesses from Santander Universities’ 81 partner universities. There are two categories: Important day-to-day Products and Services and Technology and Mobile Applications.
The eight winning entries, a Winner and Runner-Up within each sub division (Ideas Stage and Start Up) for each category, were selected by a panel of judges consisting of a blend of successful entrepreneurs, previous winners, and senior members of Santander UK and academia for cash prizes of up to £15,000.
The Winning Projects
Important day-to-day Products and Services
Winner for Start-up: UniGreenScheme – University of Birmingham
Runner-up for Start-up: Power a life – University of Strathclyde
Winner Idea Stage: AllDay Designs – University of Strathclyde
Runner-Up Idea Stage: Staels Design Ltd – University of Glasgow
Technology and Mobile Applications
Winner for Start-up: Motion Metrics – Imperial College London
Runner-up for Start-up: Hoxton Analytics – University College London
Winner Idea Stage: Yonder – London School of Economics
Runner-Up Idea Stage: MeeTwo – Birkbeck, University of London
The Start-Up winner in the Technology and Mobile Applications category, Motion Metrics, was founded by students from Imperial College London, they created a digital ski coach that analyses skier technique to provide actionable feedback and help users improve at the sport. Jamie Grant, Co-Founder of Motion Metrics commented: “It’s incredible to win this award and it will give a huge kick-start to the business.”
The Start-Up winner in the Important day-to-day Products and Services, UniGreenScheme, was founded by students from University of Birmingham. It is an asset resale service which collects and sells surplus laboratory equipment for UK universities. The funds that the scheme generates are put back into frontline research in laboratories on projects from cancer prevention to crop security. Michael McLeod, Founder of UniGreenScheme commented: “Winning was a massive surprise and a big boost for the whole team. These awards will enable us to enter a new phase of growth, get more universities on board and ultimately prevent more equipment from going to waste.”
The winning entries also benefit from mentoring and support from senior Santander UK teams and Talent Cupboard, who have teamed up with Santander Universities UK for this year’s awards, will be offering a complete digital transformation to the winners.
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Notes to Editors
1) According to the latest HESA Data, there are 1,727,907 full time undergraduate students in the UK. The research shows 30% of students have already started a business, or are planning to do so – a figure of 518,372.
2) Research conducted by YouthSight, 24th May – 1st June 2016 amongst a UK representative sample of 2,027 full time undergraduate students.
3) According to 2014/15 HESA Data, there were 1,727,907 full time undergraduate students in the UK. The research showed 4% of students had started a business, with an average turnover of £13,213 per year. £13,213*(1,727,907*4%) = £913,233,408
Winners available as case studies on request.
Santander, through Santander Universities, tops the list of Fortune 500 in investment in education (Source: Varkey Report/UNESCO). The Bank has established partnerships with over 1,200 universities in 20 countries, of which 81 are in the UK. Through these agreements Santander promotes entrepreneurship, employability and internationalisation.
Further information: www.santander.com/universities
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. As at 30 June 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees and operates through 847 branches (which includes 58 university branches) and 69 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
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