Starting a small business at university: Tips and tricks for success

Starting a small business at university: Tips and tricks for success

Posted: Wed 27th Sep 2023

Students with big dreams and even bigger work ethics have founded some of the most successful companies in the world. But do you have to be a dropout genius with a revolutionary idea to give it a try? Absolutely not.

There are many advantages to starting a business at university. You’re surrounded by ambitious and intelligent people, have access to cutting-edge guidance and technology, have spare time and instant access to a market – your university.

According to research by Santander, 27% of students currently run or plan to run a business while at university. The study also found that 17% plan to turn their business into a full-time career when they graduate.

Although our free guide, How to start to a business while studying, is geared towards university students, its advice is highly relevant to entrepreneurial school pupils and college students too. Read it now to learn all there is to know about getting a business venture off the ground while studying.


Download more free StartUp UK guides and learn how to start a business today!

Other free guides in the series

Start a fashion business / Start a food business / Start a beauty business / Start a TikTok business / Start an Instagram business / Start an Etsy business / Start a side hustle


To give you further encouragement, here are some top tips from Richard Hurtley, founder of Rampant Sporting. Richard set up his business while still at university, turning down a 21st birthday present and asking for £1,000 in seed capital instead.

He spent his degree printing invoices in the library while building a successful fashion brand around the one thing he was an expert at – being a student.

Top tips for students considering starting up their own business

Your aims

Think about what you want to get out of university. It's important to bear in mind where the business will sit in your priorities. Are you driven enough to be filling out tax returns and completing orders while your friends are out partying?

Your idea

Make sure your business idea is good. If it isn't a strong idea to begin with, however brilliant you are at executing it won't matter – it won't be a viable business.

Your financing

Only put in money that you're prepared to lose. I didn't see it as much of a risk – I was prepared to lose my initial £1,000, and for me it was just an investment.

Some students spend thousands of pounds on a business degree, but in actual fact you might be better off spending that same amount of money on your business and getting valuable hands-on experience.

Your studies

Consider what you're going to study and how you can apply it to business. I did a general degree, History and Politics, but I never felt that I lacked business knowledge.

You don't need to be a business strategist to have a successful business. And even if you do need the more specific business knowledge, it's easy enough to bring people in. It's all about complementing your own skillset.

Your university

Get your university to support you. Universities are a great place to go if you're after grants. Being a student provides you with access to a whole range of grants, which you can use to help fund the capital for your business venture.


Download your free StartUp UK guide now

Big dreams of launching a business while studying?

Valuable insights, tips and resources to help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship during life as a student. Get your free business guide now

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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