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Santander Universities supporting entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Support

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Support

Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset is a core element of the support that Santander Universities provide. Examples of our initiatives include the national Entrepreneurship Awards, our SME internship programme and funding to help student start-ups.

The Santander Universities SME Internship programme

Talent Cupboard

Launched in 2012, the programme provides funding to support students and graduates from our partner universities and helps them gain valuable work experience in small and medium sized businesses. Since its launch the programme has placed more than 9000 students and graduates in internships.

In 2019 we have funding for over 1,400 internships across our partner network. Whether you're a business looking to hire an intern, or a student or graduate hoping to get your foot on the career ladder, we could help you. Please visit to find out more.

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards

Since 2011, Santander has held an annual business pitching competition called the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. These awards are aimed at giving a financial boost to student and graduate business ventures in their early stages from our UK partner universities.

Participants can win a range of prizes including seed funding, mentoring and start-up support. Since the competition's launch, we've given away more than £420,000 to entrepreneurs from across the UK.

The 2018 edition of the awards culminated in our Final on 20th November. Congratulations to winners Chip[s] Board and WASE. Both teams won prize money as well as access to a range of other prizes designed to support and help grow their business. The runners up Fodilicious and POCKIT Diagnostics from the University of Cambridge , along with the winner of the People’s Choice category, Brightsign, also won seed funding and access to other prizes.

The 2019 edition of the awards is now live, with businesses competing for a share of the £90,000 prize money as well as access to a range of other prizes designed to support and help grow their business.

To enter students or graduates must be from a Santander Universities UK partner university who has set up a company, for no longer than 1 year with funding generated (including but not limited to investment, grants, loans, revenue, prizes) no higher than £100,000 and a maximum of 5 employees (please note this does not include founders).

If you are interested in entering, please contact your university. You can see a list of our partner universities here.



BellaMoon® provides comfort to exhausted mothers during those all-encompassing early days of post-natal sleep deprivation. For us, entering the competition helped bring BellaMoon from a simple early stage idea to the cusp of a market-ready global product. The Accelerator Week was fundamental in shaping key decisions on manufacture, distribution and margins, as well as giving me the confidence to ‘go for it.

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Jenny Kate


At Jenny Kate we create luxury homeware products inspired by nature to bring the outdoors into your life and home. Winning the Post-Revenue category was an incredible experience and has completely revolutionised my business. I’ve built a huge new network of people to work with and get advice from, gained an accountability partner, new business collaborations, had an incredible week of working on my business with CEO’s and industry experts and I also gained an advisory board member – all before I won!

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