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Funding your start-up

What's on offer

Solent has funds available to support those who are serious about freelancing or setting up their own business. Whatever your business idea, to apply, you need to develop a strong business case and demonstrate that the funding would make all the difference to help take your business to the next step. The scheme offers up to £3,000 of funding for genuine and credible ideas for starting a business or developing a freelance career.

Some funds are also available for innovative/high growth ideas that are driven by research and market testing, prior to developing a deliverable Business Plan/Cashflow Forecast. The viability of the idea to attract external funding and move into incubator support will be taken into consideration before funding is offered.


To apply for funding, you must be a current Solent student studying as an undergraduate or masters, or an alumnus who graduated less than three years ago.*

*Please note the eligibility criteria will be changing for the 23/24 academic year to alumni who graduated less than two years ago.

Terms and conditions

  • You must provide all the information required (see application process below) by the first Monday of every month for review that month. If successful, you will be invited to panel. Please note there are no panels over the summer period.
  • The money is a grant so you will not need to repay it. There are however some restrictions on what you are expected to spend the money on (see 'allowable expenses') The University requires the right to ask for receipts of proof of spending.
  • As a Civic University that supports Southampton and the Central South’s economic and cultural development, we have aligned this grant to fulfil the commitments set out within our Civic Charter ( Grants of up to £3,000 are available to businesses that benefit communities across Southampton and the wider region. Grants of up to £1,000 are available to businesses who primarily focus on global communities.
  • If you are successful in receiving the funding, we will be asking for your consent for the university to contact you for up to two years after you have received the funding, to discuss the progress of your business. 

Application process

When you are ready to apply for funding, we strongly recommend you book an appointment with our business adviser, so that you can talk everything through and get help with developing your business plan. This will save you time down the line.

To book a campus or online Teams appointment with a business adviser email

 To apply, and to be considered for funding/invited to panel, you will need to:

  • Submit a business plan, including a cash flow forecast.
  • Prepare and submit a 10-minute presentation.
  • Complete and submit a Supplementary Information Form to show how much funding you are applying for, and a proposal of what the funding will be used for.

If your application is approved you will be invited to present your presentation to a panel followed by a question-and-answer session from the panel.

 Support with your application

In addition to booking with our business adviser, please see our useful information below to help you with preparing your application, including templates that you can use if you would like to. We also run a series of workshops on business start-up throughout the year, so make sure you check these out on the events portal page. 

How will my submission be assessed before my panel date?

The panel members will review your application and 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?

At your panel session, you will be asked questions relating to your business and your submission. After your panel session, you will be notified of the result within one week of your panel via email. If you are successful, you should receive your funding grant within 15 working days.

If I am not successful at panel on first attempt, can I reapply?

 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!

What you will need to complete to apply for funding

Other useful information

Action plan template

Business plan checklist

Marketing plan checklist

Allowable expenses

Other funding sources

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. 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

Also check out our student opportunities page  for any competitions that may involve the chance to win some funding for your business.

Any questions, we are always happy to help, please email