Careers and Employability Centre

StartUp Sussex

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

Whether you want to make a ground breaking product, a world-changing website, the next killer app, or you're eager to make a real difference through social enterprise, the competition programme is designed to help you and give you the skills to see if you have more than just an idea. You could already have a particular idea that you want to make happen, or simply want to learn more about thinking creatively and developing innovative business concepts. StartUp Sussex is open to all students currently enrolled on undergraduate or postgraduate courses at the University of Sussex, as well as anyone who has completed a degree at the university within the past 3 years. Students and graduates from all subject areas are welcome to apply.

Candidates who are considering entering as part of a team are also welcome to participate, but must apply for places on the programme individually. For international students and graduates, normal visa regulations apply.

It's a chance to see if you can create your own job role, be your own boss and make a living doing something you really love. Join us if you want to develop innovative solutions to real problems, meet likeminded people, collaborate and share skills in a supportive, stimulating and enterprising environment.

Autumn Term: StartUp Sussex Workshops

In phase 1 of the programme, fortnightly 2-hour workshops will provide you with the tools to identify a model that works, before you embark on writing a business plan to grow your enterprise in phase 2 and present for a competition prize. These workshops are open only to those on the StartUp Sussex competition programme and are run by innovation consultants  from the Sussex Innovation Centre.

The programme includes:

1. Creativity and the Value Proposition (Thursday 6 October, 3 - 5pm)Business Plan

This workshop will give you the tools to start examining the ideas you may have already and their potential as an opportunity. It will also provide you with approaches to help you create new ideas. All of the StartUp Sussex Workshops involve working closely in groups and learning from your peers, so be ready for some practical exercises and loads of discussion and sharing.

2. Idea or Opportunity (Tuesday 11 October, 3 - 5pm)

Take part in exercises to develop your ideas, and determine for yourself if you have a business opportunity, starting with the problem you are trying to fix and how your solution works best. Workshops 2-5 are followed each week by a follow-up session on a Tuesday at 5pm. The idea is that you come back to facilitated group sessions and share experiences as you all build your knowledge. Share tips and advice, as well as discussing potential problem areas that you have encountered. Key networking and communication skills are honed in the discussions.

3. Testing Your Idea (Thursday 27 October, 3 - 5pm)

Learn how to uncover valuable customer insight through research and use it to develop your model to capture value, while gaining an understanding of what your customers want and what it will take to bring the idea to market.

4. Finance and Operations (Thursday 10 November, 3 - 5pm)

Work on the finer details required to make a sustainable business case - what resources might you need to get started, and ultimately, is it worth it?

5. Presenting your Model (Thursday 24 November, 3 - 5pm)

Putting the pieces together to show a compelling, sustainable model for your enterprise. Prepare to compete for places in the second phase of the programme.

Spring Term: Business Plan and Competition for StartUp Sussex Awards

Phase 2 of the scheme begins in the spring term. This is a competition based upon the creation of a business plan and a presentation to a funding panel. The six candidates with the best business models, as selected by the StartUp Sussex judges, will return for further workshops and one-to-one support, with the aim of shaping a business plan from their model, and pitching to a panel of entrepreneurs, business advisors and investors.

In March the top three enterprises, as selected by the panel, will win a StartUp Sussex Award worth up to £10,000 to help develop their business, with the ultimate goal of generating enough income to pay a salary within a year. The winners are announced at the annual StartUp Sussex awards ceremony in March.