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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability Service

SEED Start-Up Fund

Introducing the SEED Start-Up Funding Competition

The Student Enterprise Team (Careers and Employability Service), Future Worlds and the Social Impact Lab have come together to offer the SEED Start-Up Funding Competition. The competition aims to support students at the University in the creation and development of early stage businesses or social enterprises through the awarding of funding ‘prizes’. The fund itself is generously provided by our proud partner Santander.

A total of £30,000 is available over the two funding rounds.


In partnership with Santander

Two funding rounds take place each academic year, for 2020-21 the funding panels will be in December 2020 and June 2021.

December Round - Competition dates for the June round of SEED Funding are as follows:

To be notified via e-mail when applications are open and when the deadline is approaching, subscribe to the Student Enterprise Event Notifications.

The SEED Start-Up Fund can assist you in the early stage development of your business start-up or social enterprise, for example, if you need to travel, invest in market research, or to develop a prototype (app, website, product, etc.). The funding may be used to help you progress from a solid business idea into a viable and tested business model, or alternatively the funds may go towards developing an existing small business.

Within your application it is important to explicitly state what stage you will reach with your business/social enterprise if you are successful in being awarded this funding. If successful at the application stage, you will be invited to meet with a panel to pitch your idea and this will also involve a short Q&A session.

"The SEED Start-Up Funding Competition is a pioneering platform which encourages students to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions through the provision of a risk free funding route. The lessons learned through the entrepreneurial process provide tangible value to the students for their future careers, regardless of their final destination." Sarah Rogers, Head of Student Enterprise

To explore other start up funding opportunities available to you at the University to help support you in developing a business or social enterprise please check the Opportunities page.

Funding is available to undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and postgraduate research students (and those who have graduated within the last 6 months). Students can apply as individuals, a partnership or group. If applying as a partnership or group, please complete a single application and assign a lead applicant. If unsuccessful, you will receive full feedback.

Please also note that international students with Tier 4 student immigration permission are not permitted to engage in business activity in the UK. For guidance on what you can and cannot do on a general student visa (Tier 4) please visit the government website.

The prize fund, provided by Santander, can be used for a number of different applications. For earlier stage businesses it might enable such things as appropriate testing to be undertaken to ensure business viability or alternatively it might enable pre-trading tasks such as market research, idea validation, and prototyping.

For businesses at a later stage, uses could be for things such as advanced prototyping, venture establishment/implementation or initial stock supply.

A total of £30,000 is available over the two funding rounds. The allocation of prizes will be dependant on the strength of the justification for the funds (judged through initial application and panel assessment).

The University of Southampton is very fortunate to be part of the Engineers in Business Competition, which is funded by the Lord Sainsbury’s Charitable Trust. Engineering students or teams of students from the University of Southampton have the chance to be awarded up to £1500 of funding to support in the creation of a start-up business. There will be three prizes awarded of £1500, £1000 and £500 in June 2020.

The Engineers in Business Competition is run in parallel with the June Round of the SEED Startup fund.

Applications are not yet open for the 2021 Engineers in Business fund.

Engineering competition

Step-by-step how to apply:

1. Download the application form (download link at the bottom of this page).

2. Complete the application form.

3. Record a video pitch (max 3 minutes - further details on application form).

4. Upload video to any online video sharing platform and include the link in your application form.

5. Submit your completed application form to before the deadline (07 June 2020).


Successfully shortlisted candidates will be expected to present their business/social enterprise idea to a panel on/after 03 Dec 2020 (online via Microsoft Teams). Students will need to provide a 5 minute pitch followed by up to 10 minutes of Q&A. Students may use slides and props to support their pitch.

Download the Application Form now and submit the completed form to before the deadline - 22 November 2020.

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