Start your own business
Starting your own business can be an attractive alternative to employment and further study.
On this page you’ll find:
1) Information about support and programmes offered at KBS
2) Support and programmes offered by the University of Kent
Information for international students
3) Other Resources
4) Success stories from University of Kent and KBS alumni
1) The Business Start-Up Journey (run by KBS)
This is a prestigious programme run by KBS for up to 20 students from the University of Kent. KBS’ External Services team have developed a step-by-step extra-curricular programme, designed to encourage, nurture and support the development of student business start-ups whilst equipping student entrepreneurs with skills and advice to avoid any pitfalls when starting your own business.
This programme is generously supported and funded by our sponsors. ALL students from the University of Kent can participate free of charge. For further details about the KBS Business Start-Up Journey go to http://www.kent.ac.uk/kbs/business/start-up/index.html.
‘Starting your own business is something that more and more students from across all disciplines are considering, and we are here to help them all we can. Whether you are just curious, very interested or absolutely determined to develop an idea you may have, then I would urge students to sign up for the Business Start-Up Journey, it is a great way to test and develop your ideas and meet with others interested in starting a business’ (David Williamson, Director of External Services at KBS). To apply for your place on the Business Start Up Journey click on this link: www.kent.ac.uk/kbs/start-up/apply.
2) Support and programmes at the University of Kent
The University of Kent Enterprise and Innovation department runs the Make Your Mark programme, designed to prepare students for employment or self-employment by delivering a package of innovative and creative extra-curricular activities designed to increase your skills, abilities, experience and confidence from first year to Masters level. There are three initiatives:
1) Employability Points Scheme (a unique initiative that has attracted national attention; the scheme awards points for engaging in extracurricular activities, depending on level of engagement and commitment; points lead to prizes ranging from corporate activities to work experience, training and selected internships)
2) HIVE Student Enterprise (consisting of competitions and awards, such as the Enterprise Skills Award, designed to enhance students’ skills and abilities whilst providing them with additional core skills required by a fast-paced employment market)
3) HIVE, Hub for Innovation and Enterprise (the University of Kent’s business incubation and support unit and is devoted to helping student, graduate and staff start-up ventures and early stage companies to increase survival rates. They offer a range of services to help potential entrepreneurs develop and get the most out of their ideas.)
HIVE provides business support services to incubator companies, flexible office space and laboratory accommodation (where available). Companies also get access to University expertise, planning help and networking opportunities with the wider business community. To find out more about the Hub for Innovation and Enterprise at Kent email email@example.com or telephone: +44 (0)1227 824641.
Information for international students from outside the EEA
The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa category provides international students who are graduating from UK universities with the opportunity to extend their stay in the UK after graduation to establish a business. For the purpose of UK Immigration Rules, ‘business’ refers to all enterprises: sole-trader, partnership, or company that is registered in the UK.
Anyone interested in applying for the visa endorsement must first be accepted onto the HIVE Start-Up Scheme, at the University of Kent needs to contact HIVE:
Hub for Innovation and Enterprise (HIVE) Administrator
Kent Innovation & Enterprise
HIVE, Unit 70, Canterbury Innovation Centre, University Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7FG
Telephone: +44(0)1227 824641; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kent.ac.uk/enterprise/hive
3) Other Resources
- The Prince’s Trust (click on heading), for anyone aged 18-30, living in the UK, and unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week. Must have a business idea or some ideas to explore.
- UK Government Information about legalities, tax and anything else you need to know to comply with rules and regulations for setting up a business in the UK.
Other useful sites in alphabetic order:
- BRIGHTSIDE START-UP LOANS
A scheme for anyone aged 18-30 with a business idea. As a partner in the government-backed Start-Up Loans scheme, Brightside offers an experienced business mentor to help develop your business ideas plus a loan of around £2,500 to get going. For information and how to apply for a loan visit the Brightside Start-Up Loans website. If you have any questions, email email@example.com.
- FRANCHISING: Click here for information about franchising and advertised franchising opportunities.
- NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs)
A nationwide network of student societies taking positive action to create an enterprising generation. Founded in 2009, the organisation supports the creation of enterprise societies in education institutions throughout the UK; organises regular events where students can learn from experts and each other, distributes funds to societies, and is a national advocate for students in discussions of employment and education. Job vacancies with NACUE itself can be found at http://nacue.com/jobs/.
- TYBA – a new website for jobs with start-up companies worldwide (including London); can also be searched by industry sector
4) Success stories from University of Kent and KBS alumni
Becky Campbell, MD Reflect Digital and Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA)Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015.
With just a few thousand pounds to start with, Becky started her own PR company five years ago and is now employing 24 staff. Becky advised students at the Business Start Up Day that it is OK to make mistakes, it is all part of starting a business. Becky advised the importance of having a plan and stressed some important attributes such as being a team player and to think of the long game. Becky encouraged students to take advantage of the Business Start-Up Journey and to apply for it.
Michael Muzio, MD of insurance company Now4Cover
Michael’s back ground is in Insurance and has just recently launched a new Rochester-base business Now4Cover which has already attracted new customers.
When it comes to starting a business Michael stressed the importance in having belief in yourself and used some film clippings from Indiana Jones film series and a great speech by Al Pacino to make his point. ‘You’ve just got to do it.’ said Michael.
Bal Sandher, MD, Hectic Lifestyles Ltd
Bal, a Kent alumnus, told students that he broke his leg 5 years ago and had six months unable to move about – but it gave him plenty of thinking time about starting his own businesses. Recognising a gap in the market, Bal launched Hectic lifestyles and is projected to turnover £10m by 2020.
Bal’s advice key message was about innovation and the importance of differentiating your product or service and the great rewards being an entrepreneur can bring. Bal urged all those students at the University to seize a unique chance to apply for later stages of the Business Start Up Journey.
Neil Westwood (1994, Management Science)
Neil is passionate about getting more students involved in business. At university he learnt about marketing, operations research and different management styles and over the last 8 years his team have established Magic Whiteboard as the most successful investment on BBC Dragons’ Den (Theo’s and Deborah’s). They have now sold over £4 million of Magic Whiteboard and export to over 20 countries. Here is their Dragons’ Den clip
Neil invented Magic Whiteboard because he was fed up carrying the flipchart stand around the organisation he worked for (he used to be a trainer for the NHS for 17 years). He needed a portable lightweight solution that was easy to carry.
Magic Whiteboard is a portable whiteboard on a roll that you can use to turn any room into a classroom. Tear off sheet of Magic Whiteboard and place on a wall, window or door. It clings using static and leaves no marks on any surfaces. You write on Magic Whiteboard with any dry marker, wipe clean and reuse. Here is a 1 min video.
If you currently use flipcharts and flipcharts stands Magic Whiteboard – is a lot easier to use and you don’t have to keep moving the flipchart stand. You will also save paper and you won’t damage walls with Bluetack marks.
If you would like some support and advice, just email Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01905 451552.
Neil Westwood, Managing Director, Magic Whiteboard Limited