Careers and Employability Centre

Entrepreneurship and startups

Read our advice on what to consider if you want to start your own business and find out about our StartUp Sussex competition.

Things to consider

If you’re considering setting up your own business, it helps to think about:

  • your skills, personality and drive – do you have the personal traits that setting up and running a business requires?
  • research – does your idea have a potential market? Who would be your competitors?
  • your business plan – do you have a business plan that clarifies your ideas and sets out your goals and objectives?
  • finance – do you need to secure finance? How can you access funding?
  • support and resources – do you know what support and resources are available?

Research your idea

Research is essential to find out if your idea has a potential market and to find out about your competitors. It’s important to be objective about your idea, as pursuing the wrong idea can be a costly mistake.


  • IdeasWatch – browse ideas for new startups
  • Startupsresearch – paid-for service that can survey consumers about your start-up idea

Market research

Business plans

Writing a business plan is an essential aspect of starting your own business. A plan will help you clarify your ideas, your goals and objectives, and should draw on the research you have done into the market and competitors.


Finding funding to start a new business can be tricky. Before approaching a bank, you might want to explore crowdfunding and grants.


  • Ulele – Europe-based crowdfunding site for creative, innovative or community-minded projects. Projects have 90 days to raise the funds and a minimum amount must be specified. Relies on donations rather than investments
  • Crowdcube – UK crowdfunding site where you can raise business finance from individuals willing to invest smaller amounts of cash in exchange for rewards and a stake in the business. Minimum target amount is £10,000
  • Kickstarter – Projects must have a clear goal within a Kickstarter category. You cannot specifically start a business using Kickstarter
  • Indiegogo – Kickstarter’s biggest competitor. Set fundraising goals and offers in exchange for amounts raised. Includes option to keep money even if you don’t reach your fundraising goal, although their charges will be greater.

Finding funding

  • j4bgrants – information on all the latest European grants, UK Government grants and other sources of funding to help start and grow your business. Free registration required
  • Shell LiveWIRE awards – includes monthly £1,000 Grand Ideas Awards and annual Young Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme – supports unemployed people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and self-employment is right for them. Startup loan funding may be available, but is not guaranteed
  • StartUp Britain – a Government backed project lending up to £2,500 to 18-24 year olds wanting to start a business
  • Student Upstarts – offering up to £15,000 investment into student run businesses, in exchange for 8% equity

Support and resources

  • Sussex Innovation Centre – practical and strategic support for businesses developing new products, services and technologies. Based on campus
  • Sussex Chamber of Commerce – networking, support and advice for local small businesses. From £199 yearly
  • Brighton & Hove Support – business support finder
  • Enactus Sussex – our group for student entrepreneurs
  • Entrepreneurial Spark – the Brighton hub works with entrepreneurs across all stages of development. There are four bespoke training programmes.
  • Business Navigator – the Coast to Capital Business Navigator Service helps business in the Coast to Capital area start up, develop and grow
  • SEEK – a six-month social enterprise startup programme for people who are not in work to make change happen through doing business for good

Other support


Some career areas, such as the creative industries, may involve the possibility of freelancing.

Get visa endorsement

If you have a business idea, and need a visa to remain in the UK after you graduate, we’re participating in the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme for 2018/19. It is run in conjunction with the StartUp Sussex programme and up to five successful candidates will be selected for visa endorsement. Find out more about how it works.

The deadline for 2018/19 was 12 October 2018.

StartUp Sussex competition

Startup Sussex is an annual competition run by the Sussex Innovation Centre offering startup support worth up to £10,000 to current Sussex students or recent Sussex graduates. In addition, there’s a Social Impact Prize, offering up to £10,000 to a social enterprise.

Registration is now open for Startup Sussex and the Social Impact Prize 2019-20. Sign up now!

The launch event is on Tuesday 8th October 2019 @ 5pm and 6pm (NB you only need to attend one launch event).

Sussex Innovation Centre tours

Explore the world of business and work even before you finish studying by going on a tour of the Sussex Innovation Centre.

If you want to get a glimpse of what the centre is like, book a tour of its facilities on CareerHub. The tours run twice a year.