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The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability Service

SEED Start-Up Fund

Student entrepreneur Andreas Ostrovsky showcasing a prototype lamp

Introducing the SEED Start-Up Funding Competition - open now!

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’.



In partnership with Santander

Two funding rounds take place each academic year, for 2018-19 the funding panels will be in December 2018 and June 2019.

There are two levels of funding available in each round:


Applications for the SEED Start-up Fund are open now and close at midnight on Sunday 2nd June 2019.


Paul's entrepreneurial journey

See how Paul benefited from SEED Start Up Funding...

Read more

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 Germinate Fund may be used to help you progress from a solid business idea into a viable and tested business model, while the Growth Fund provides higher levels of funding for business/social enterprises being developed.

Irrespective of the choice of Germinate or Growth Fund, you will need to explicitly state what stage you will reach with your business/social enterprise if you are successful in being awarded this funding. You will be invited to meet with a panel to pitch your idea more fully, following successful selection based on the quality of application forms submitted.

"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 download the 'Funding Your Venture' flyer below.

Useful Downloads

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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 'Germinate' Fund, provided by Santander, will enable appropriate testing to be undertaken to ensure business viability moving forward and build solid foundations for the business/social enterprise, enabling market research, idea validation, and prototyping as examples.

£1000 is available to successful applicants.

We highly recommend applying for this fund in the first instance.

This University Growth Fund will enable you to advance and develop your business/social enterprise model. Examples of how students may propose to use the funding could include advanced prototyping, venture establishment/implementation or initial stock supply.

Up to £2,500 is available to applicants.

In accordance with the higher level of funding being offered, you should clearly justify why this level of funding is required. Please note that at the discretion of the judges you may only be awarded a portion of the requested funds.

We highly recommend applying for Germinate Fund in the first instance, with a view of applying for the Growth Fund in the future.

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 2019.

Applications will open in 2019.

Engineering competition

Applications for the SEED Start-Up Fund are open now and close at midnight on Sunday 2nd June. You can find the SEED Start-Up Fund Application at the bottom of this page which needs to be submitted with a three minute summary video.

Successfully shortlisted candidates will be expected to present their business/social enterprise idea to a panel on 19th or 20th June 2019, in the Careers Centre, Building 37. 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. If slides are to be used, then please ensure they have been submitted by 4pm on Tuesday 18th June 2019 so that they can be set up in advance ready for your pitch on the day.

Second year Engineering students studying FEEG2006: Engineering Management and Law will automatically have the opportunity to be shortlisted to the Engineers in Business Fund through their assignments submitted as part of this module, and therefore do not need to complete the application form below. 

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