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Funding your start-up

The Enterprise Team provides inspiration, information, advice and guidance to students and graduates who are launching their own businesses or thinking of freelancing. There is also the opportunity to pitch for funding if you have an innovative idea. If you are ready to move your idea forward and would like more support, email Nicky Curtis to arrange an online meeting at:

Solent funding

The University has funds to support those who are serious about freelancing or setting up their own business. Many innovative business ideas are driven by technology and ‘risky’ but without risk there is no innovation. We acknowledge that for some research and market testing will be the key to their success and will only be the beginning of their business journey and greater amounts of finance will need to be secured to enable it to become a viable business.

Whatever your business idea you need to demonstrate that a small amount of funding would make all the difference to help you take the next step.

What's on offer

The opportunity to apply for funding is open to all undergraduate and master's level students currently studying at Solent University. It is also open to all alumni who graduated less than three years ago.

The scheme offers up to £3,000 funding for genuine and credible ideas for starting a business or developing a freelance career.

Some funds are also available for ideas driven by research and marketing testing, their viability to attract external funding and move into incubator support will be taken into consideration.

To apply you are required to submit a business plan, including a cash flow forecast.

If you are applying for research funding for your idea you need to contact Nicky Curtis at to discuss your idea prior to submission.

The money is a grant so you will not need to repay it. There are some restrictions on what you are expected to spend the money on and the University requires receipts as proof of spending.

Solent Futures has a limited amount of funding - to be successful, you will need to develop a strong business case. If you need help with preparing your Business Plan or want to learn more about pitching for the funding email

Business plans should be submitted by the first Monday of the month for review in that month. There are no panels over the summer period. 

Improve your business knowledge - attend some training

To prepare for applying and pitching your idea, Solent Futures recommends you consider attending some of the live online training sessions or use our online resource you will learn about company formation, writing a business plan, managing finances, marketing and pitching for funding.      

Access the online resource on Solent Online Learning. The password is 'startup'. You will also find some videos from our previous online courses. 

Submit a business plan      

You will need to prepare and submit a business plan (with cash flow forecast) after discussion with an adviser and before the panel. After you submit it to the Solent Futures enterprise team, your business plan will be reviewed to ensure it meets certain criteria. We strongly recommend you meet with a Solent Futures adviser before submitting your plan.

Business plan templates and other useful forms can be found below.

How will my application be assessed?

The panel will consider the following:

  • Is the funding going to make a difference – would you be able to get started in business without it?
  • Is your business plan detailed enough to support the level of funding and business support you are applying for?

Think before you make your application - is the funding you are applying for absolutely necessary? If you apply for capital equipment, do you already own it and are just looking for an upgrade or perhaps require business services that are readily available within the University? Making an unnecessary request for funding will have a detrimental effect on your application. The decision of the panel is final.

Pitch your idea

The next step, once your business plan meets the criteria, is to pitch your idea to a panel.

If invited to pitch to the panel you will be asked to upload the following documents to this link

  • Business plan and cashflow forecast
  • Copy of your PowerPoint presentation
  • 10 minute video of you presenting your PowerPoint presentation (see below seed funding presentation to the panel).

The panel will review your submission and invite you to an online question and answer session. You will be notified of the result within one week of your panel. If you are successful, you should receive your funding grant within 15 working days.

If I do not pass the panel, can I have another go?

Of course! In many instances the panel turns out to be a learning process. If there are any aspects of your business proposition that the panel feel need more consideration, we will give you the appropriate feedback and, if possible, the support to rectify it.

From here, you can have another attempt at a panel. Determination and the willingness to respond to a challenge are two key ingredients of any successful entrepreneur!

Useful forms

Business plan template

Action plan template

Business plan checklist

Marketing plan checklist

Cashflow template

Supplementary information form

Allowable expenses

Seed funding presentation to panel

Other funding for your business

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Crowdfunding is a form of crowd sourcing and of alternative finance. In 2015, it was estimated that worldwide over US$34 billion was raised this way. This can be a useful way to secure additional funds for your business start-up. Additionally, you can also look into start-up loans on