RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Student entrepreneurs: A quarter of students start a business while at Uni

22nd December 2014 Print

Thousands of university students across the UK run businesses with estimated collective revenues of more than £44 million per year, according to research from Santander Universities UK.

The study of university students found that almost a quarter (24 per cent) currently run their own business or plan to start a business whilst they are still at university. Technology-based solutions (22 per cent) and arts or crafts (22 per cent) are the most common type of student venture, followed by clothing and textiles (eight per cent), catering (eight per cent) and tutoring (six per cent).

Online is by far the most popular channel for selling their products and services, with almost half (49 per cent) doing so via their own website, 13 per cent via other websites such as eBay or Gumtree, and 11 per cent through social media sites.

The majority of students surveyed said their motivation for starting a business was to pursue a hobby or personal interest (43 per cent), 38 per cent said they were driven by financial motivation, and one in 10 (11 per cent) said they did it to gain work experience.

Simon Bray, Director Santander Universities UK commented: “Students are generating significant sums of money and gaining invaluable experience as a result of their entrepreneurial ventures. The prevalence of these businesses demonstrates a great deal of skill and initiative from students across the UK, who are already under pressure to meet the demands of their studies.” 

The findings are released to support the Santander Universities UK annual Entrepreneurship Awards, which recognise student entrepreneurs from across the UK. The six winning entries, selected by a panel of judges from several UK universities, business schools and Santander, won cash prizes ranging from £1,000 for third prize in the Undergraduate category to £20,000 for 1st prize in the Postgraduate category.

The postgraduate winner – bio-bean Ltd – is a green energy company which recycles waste coffee into high value bio-fuels and was started by students from University College London.

Arthur Kay, Co-Founder & CEO of bio-bean Ltd commented: “Juggling a business and academic study can be challenging but the experience you gain is invaluable. We wanted to develop a business that was innovative, profitable and had a positive impact on the environment and the support we’ve received along the way has played a big part in helping us to achieve this.”

The Santander study also questioned students about any future plans they have for their businesses and found that 27 per cent expect to pursue it as a career when they graduate. Over half (53 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 six per cent said they would close it down.

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are funded by the Santander Universities Global Division and aim to support and encourage university students to pursue their business ideas. Santander supports higher education through its Santander Universities Global Division, whose activities form the backbone of the bank’s corporate social responsibility programme. The bank maintains more than 1,100 collaboration agreements with academic institutions worldwide.