One student admiring self-employed placements student's startup

Take advantage of our student startup support

Build enterprise skills and get support to build a business while you study

If you're looking to develop entrepreneurial skills, get startup advice or build a business, we can help you while you're at uni and for up to 5 years after you graduate.

As one of our students and graduates, you'll join an enterprising community – Portsmouth was named the UK's most entrepreneurial city 2020 (Instant Offices). You'll get access to student startup advice and student enterprise programmes to develop your enterprise skills. And you can benefit from our business enterprise support, including getting advice from established businesses and experienced entrepreneurs.

You could launch a startup during your studies, and we'll continue to support you after you graduate.

Profile image of Vincent Pericard at Pompey Fratton Park

Some universities might just educate you and send you off into the world, but Portsmouth did so much more for me. Its Innovation Space helped me properly launch the idea, even becoming my first client, rolling the app out to over 700 students before referring me to Cardiff University to roll out there as well.

Vincent Pericard, BA (Hons) Business and Enterprise Development

Student start up support

Our student enterprise team can give you support including:

  • Regular drop-in clinics for 1-to-1 startup advice
  • Regular 1-to-1 mentoring sessions
  • Start-up programmes and workshops
  • Access to established entrepreneurs through the 'Entrepreneurs Lounge Series'
  • Free incubation and business hot desks
  • Online toolkits and resources
  • Access to competitions, seed funding opportunities and networking events
  • An annual enterprise showcase and awards ceremony
  • Inter-university bootcamps

Self-employed placement year

On many of our courses you can take a placement year to get experience working in a company and develop your employability skills. You can also choose to spend your placement year setting up your business.

Our student enterprise team runs drop-in clinics twice a week where you can discuss your business idea and get startup advice. If you can't make a clinic, you can arrange an appointment over the phone or online on Google Hangouts.

Your Faculty's placement office can also give you advice, support and information on doing a self-employed placement year.

Student enterprise programmes

Below are a few of our programmes offering business startup advice for our students and graduates. Each programme gives you enterprise skills, small business support, networking opportunities and more.

Business consultancy projects

If you do a course that's led by the Portsmouth Business School, you'll get the chance to take part in our business consultancy projects in your final year. Each year, over 380 students studying in the Business School are involved with business consultancy projects for local business and charities.

In these projects, you'll look into specific business challenges or opportunities and produce a report that offers practical solutions to the company. You'll be part of a small team, supported by an academic mentor, and take part in activities such as accounting audits, developing marketing strategies, conducting operation system reviews or HR systems reviews.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

Our Entrepreneurs in Residence can help you develop your business idea while you study with us and after you graduate.

They're experienced business professionals who understand the challenges of starting a new business and have partnered with the University to help you build your network, and plan and market your startup. The programme is delivered through group workshops and 1-to-1 drop-in clinics. You can also attend the speaking events our entrepreneurs take part in throughout the academic year.

The entrepreneurs can advise you on areas including:

  • Developing entrepreneurial skills
  • Exploring business ideas
  • Providing business startup advice
  • Developing business plans
  • Advising on types of funding
  • Business strategy
  • Advising on the commercialisation of your research
  • Supporting academic research
  • Accessing business networks

Get to know our Entrepreneurs in Residence and keep an eye out for their events when you join us.

Innovation Connect

Innovation Connect offers business support, guidance and shared office space across the city. It can also introduce you to new and exciting local companies and startups and provide access to business networks, such as the Female Entrepreneurs Network.

Discover more about Innovation Connect and how it can provide the office space and support you need to build your business.

Female Entrepreneurs Network

We've had a thriving Female Entrepreneurs Network since November 2014. The Network runs 4 events each year – in September, January, May and July – and has an online Facebook community.

The network aims to provide current and aspiring local female entrepreneurs with realistic role models. Each event gives attendees a chance to hear a presentation from a local female founder, or a relevant project or service provider. The presentations are followed by a short questions and answers segment with the speaker and networking.

You can find upcoming events run by the Female Entrepreneurs Network on the Innovation Connect Facebook page.

Accelerating Women's Enterprise

Accelerating Women's Enterprise (AWE) is a project that combines research with training and mentoring for female entrepreneurs. You can join it if you have a business idea or have already set up your business.

The project aims to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship by helping women overcome the barriers they face when starting and growing businesses, such as age or social background, caring responsibilities, and a lack of relatable role models.

To find out more about the project and our current courses, visit our Accelerating Women's Enterprise page.

Career Ready programme

Each year, the Faculty of Business and Law run a Career Ready programme where you can develop skills, confidence and awareness of career opportunities. You'll get to attend workshops, networking events and talks by guest speakers so you can learn about entrepreneurship from alumni, entrepreneurs, employers and professional institutions.

The European Innovation Academy (EIA)

The European Innovation Academy is a 15-day startup programme that brings together around 300 participants from over 40 universities worldwide.

The academy combines students from around the world into small teams who, with support from members of Silicon Valley, spend 3 weeks developing a business or social enterprise idea. This includes setting up a business, creating a marketing plan, networking with other participants and pitching to professional investors.

Students from across the University can apply for a small bursary to attend the academy, and must get through a competitive recruitment process. The programme doesn't always run every year.

Business Management and Entrepreneurship degree course

Our BA (Hons) Business Management and Entrepreneurship degree course gives you commercial insight and techniques to become a successful entrepreneur. You'll work with local companies on real projects, get an understanding of management, accounting, data analysis and markets, and take your ideas from inception to implementation.

This course has EPAS accreditation, a scheme operated by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) that promotes excellence in management development. In your first year, you can also get the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Introductory Certificate in Marketing, which is highly sought after by employers for both marketing and non-marketing roles.

Student Union Entrepreneurs Society

If you're planning to start a businesses while at university, you can get support from the Student Union Entrepreneurs Society. When you join the Entrepreneurs Society, you'll join a group that values entrepreneurship and wants to help you network, build skills and develop friendships.

The Entrepreneurs Society hosts Enterprise Tuesday events every 2 weeks with talks from industry leaders and accomplished entrepreneurs.

As part of the Student Union, this service is run independently from the University.