University launches fund to accelerate business growth

A North East university has launched a £100k fund to accelerate the plans of enterprising students and graduates with the ambition to grow their business and create jobs in the region.

Students and graduates who have spent 12 months developing their business idea at the University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place can apply for up to £16,500, distributed over three years, to take their business to the next level.

The University has a long history of supporting its entrepreneurial students and graduates, and in 2012 established the Enterprise Place. This space is dedicated to supporting students and graduates to take their business ideas and plans from concept to creation and to start their own company.

In 2015 the Enterprise Place successfully completed delivery of a three-year European Regional Development Fund supported project. With its track record for delivery the facility is now delivering the Enterprise strand of the University’s Internships & Enterprise project, which has been successful in securing a further two years of ERDF funding.

The University of Sunderland’s Enterprise Place Manager, Laura Foster, said, “By working with a charitable trust, the Enterprise Place has secured £100,000 of accelerator funding.

“This flexible Accelerator Fund is a great opportunity for our enterprising students and graduates who we’ve seen work really hard to establish and grow their businesses at the Enterprise Place.

Successful applicants will receive a cash award and business mentoring – the positive outcomes we’re aiming for are sustainable businesses, winning new contracts, widening services and creating jobs for the region.”

Applicants to the Accelerator Fund must be a current or alumni member of The Enterprise Place and have spent a minimum of 12 months working on their business idea.

International graduates are eligible to apply if they have moved onto the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and are developing a North East based business. Applicants do not need to be trading in order to apply for the fund, however, the assessment panel will expect to see a compelling business plan detailing viable routes to market within 6-12 months of the grant being awarded. 

Further details about the fund are available via: