Student enterprise

Student enterprise is not just for those of you who are looking to start your own business. Getting involved in enterprise activities or voluntary activities is also a fun way to learn about different forms of business and develop the commercial awareness that graduate employers value so highly.

The University's Research and Enterprise Development (RED) division can help you access practical advice, office space and funding to get your ideas going. You'll also find opportunities to participate in activities such as competitions and voluntary projects, which will help you to develop the skills to succeed in your future career, be that running your own business or working in someone else's.

Encouraging competition

Each year, RED organises the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) which offers students, staff and recent graduates with an original business idea the opportunity to compete for prizes worth a total of £35,000. Arguably more valuable than the prizes is the advice and feedback given to all participants, and the contacts they make.

Ideas the competition has nurtured include social enterprises and commercial businesses, ranging from simple conceptual ideas to businesses in their first year of trading.

Business Basecamp is an award-winning  business support agency within the Careers Service that is available to all students. Its services include weekly innovation skills talks, connections to local start-up networks, start-up advice, and help for any students wanting to explore their own ideas.

Business with a conscience

Social enterprise is at the heart of many businesses RED and Basecamp have helped get off the ground. In 2012/13 we helped to launch 24 social enterprises with a total of £29,000 in grant funding.

Fact file

Bristol alumni entrepreneurs include Edd Read ( and Rob Hall (Wriggle).

A range of loans, grants and prize money are available to student entrepreneurs, alongside business support via our award-winning agency, Basecamp.

In my third year in Bristol I was looking at start-up ideas I could work on once I left. The student enterprise societies and hubs at the University have really helped me focus my ideas and meet like-minded students.

Robert (BSc Accounting and Finance)
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