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The Enterprise Team in Solent Futures provides inspiration, information, advice and guidance to enterprising Solent students and graduates. We recognise that, in many subject areas, freelancing and self-employment are important and rewarding career paths.
Graduates from Southampton Solent University have the opportunity to apply for an entrepreneur visa. There are a number of requirements.
Find out more about the process
You can contact the Enterprise Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or stopping by the Solent Futures Centre (RM001) any weekday throughout the year.
However big or small your idea, we are here to get you started.
Do you know that through Solent Futures you can pitch for up to £10,000 worth of business start up funding and business support?
This funding is available for innovative start up ideas including product development, as well as those of you that are already in business and want to grow it to the next level.
We can also support those wishing to start up as freelancers with smaller amounts of funding relevant to their needs.
This short video gives an overview of the support available for freelancers and business start-ups.
Click on any of the subjects below to see more details of what we can offer and support available.
One-to-one general advice is available every week day during term time in the Solent Futures Centre, RM001. No appointment required.
Longer appointments may be booked with a professional enterprise adviser. Book an appointment through Solent Online Learning. Graduates should email email@example.com.
Workshops are offered throughout the year. See the events listing for upcoming events. There are also credit-bearing enterprise units offered on some courses or through Solent Creatives.
There is a lot of online information about starting your own business. The Government website on setting up a business is particularly good.
Interested in a mentor for your business start up? Solent Futures mentoring programme can match you with someone with the appropriate skills and experience. Register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University has funds to support those who are serious about going freelance, setting up their own business, or have already started and require further support. You need to demonstrate that a small amount of funding would make all the difference to help you take the next step.
The opportunity to apply for funding is open to all undergraduate and masters level students currently studying at Southampton Solent University. It is also open to all alumni who graduated less than three years ago.
The scheme offers up to £10,000 funding for genuine and credible ideas for starting a business or developing a freelance career. To apply you are required to submit a business plan, including a cash flow forecast.
The money is a grant so you will not need to repay it. There are some restrictions on what you are expected to spend the money on and the University requires receipts as proof of spending.
If you would like to have a further discussion about the programme pop into the Solent Futures Centre, RM001, any weekday between 11am-4pm (no appointment required). If you would like to discuss your business or freelance idea in more detail, we can book you in for an appointment with our professional business adviser.
Solent Futures has a limited amount of funding therefore, to be successful, you will need to develop a strong business case. If you need help with this then book an appointment with one of our Business Advisers.
To prepare for applying and pitching your idea, Solent Futures recommend you attend one of our Solent start up training days. These are held regularly throughout the year. You will meet like-minded individuals and learn from seasoned entrepreneurs and enterprise experts. The day will include: the entrepreneurial way of thinking, company formation, writing a business plan, managing finances, marketing, having a mentor, and pitching for funding. Solent Creatives offer a Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice unit which would also be a good way to prepare to pitch.
You will need to prepare and submit a business plan (with cash flow forecast) after discussion with an adviser and before the panel. After you submit it to the Solent Futures enterprise team, your business plan will be reviewed to ensure it meets certain criteria. We strongly recommend you meet with a Solent Futures adviser before submitting your plan.
See business plan templates and other useful forms in section Business plan and other useful templates below.
The panel will consider the following:
Is the funding going to make a difference – would you be able to get started in business without it?
Is your business plan detailed enough to support the level of funding and business support you are applying for?
Note: Think before you make your application, is the funding you are applying for absolutely necessary? If you apply for capital equipment, do you already own it and are just looking for an upgrade or perhaps require business services that are readily available within the university? Making an unnecessary request for funding will have a detrimental effect on your application. The decision of the panel is final.
The next step, once your business plan meets the criteria, is to pitch your idea to a panel. These are usually held once a term. The panel normally consists of a member of Solent Futures, academics, external consultants and the University’s Enterprise Advisers.
If invited to pitch at the panel you will be asked to:
Your presentation should take the form of a ten minute presentation on PowerPoint or Prezi. This will be followed by up to ten minutes of questions from the panel. Remember, with a clear and positive cash flow forecast you can easily demonstrate what you require the University's funding for, be this a piece of equipment, a domain name, marketing materials, or for buying stock.
If you apply for funding and are invited to pitch to a panel, you will receive detailed instructions on what to include in your presentation and what questions you are likely to be asked.
You will be notified of the result within 1 week of your panel. If you are successful, you should receive your funding grant within 15 working days.
Of course! In many instances the panel turns out to be a learning process. If there are any aspects of your business proposition that the panel feel need more consideration, we will give you the appropriate feedback and, if possible, the support to rectify it.
From here, you can have another attempt at a panel. Determination and the willingness to respond to a challenge are two key ingredients of any successful entrepreneur!
Join a society like Solent Sparks Society, Solent Entrepreneurs or Enactus.
Sparks is a society for current students. It’s open to anyone interested in setting up a business, going freelance or generally interested in developing their ‘enterprising skills.’ The society hosts speakers, trips and the chance to network with other like-minded students. Email email@example.com for more information.
Solent Entrepreneurs is for graduates of Southampton Solent University who are running their own businesses or dreaming of starting up on their own. Learn new skills, share your progress and discuss any challenges that you are facing in the Facebook group and by attending the monthly meet-ups in Southampton.
Join the Facebook group
Enactus is an international non-profit organisation that works with business leaders to mobilise university students to make a difference in their communities. Participating students form teams on their university campuses, and develop projects that improve the quality of life for people in need. Regional and national competitions provide an opportunity for teams to present their projects to a panel of judges. National champion teams advance to the prestigious Enactus World Cup. To join the Southampton Solent University team please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and of alternative finance. In 2015, it was estimated that worldwide over US$34 billion was raised this way. This can be a useful way to secure additional funds for your business start-up. Additionally, you can also look into start-up loans on www.startuploans.co.uk.
The best way to succeed in any venture is to surround yourself with colleagues and networks who will support your freelance or business venture and point you in the right direction for further advice and help. You are welcome to attend any of the University’s training days or workshops. Our Formation and Practice half days are especially designed to support you with the next steps following the panel.
Join our Facebook group.
We also recommend you join one of the University enterprise societies (see above).
Our enterprise adviser can talk to you about how you can build a successful freelancing career.
Book an appointment
Current Southampton Solent University students can get experience working as a freelancer. Solent Creatives, based in the Millais building, provides support for students and matches them with freelancing opportunities.
Solent Creatives website
IPSE supports freelancers in the UK. Download the Guide to Freelancing from their website, it is filled with practical advice and tips from insurance and tax guidance to marketing and PR.
If you apply for funding you will need to supply a business plan and cash flow forecast. Below are downloadable templates for these and other forms that may be required.
Business plan checklist
Two year cashflow
Supplementary information form
Use the form below to get in contact with the enterprise team.
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Page last updated on Tuesday 17 September 2019 at 9.24am.
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