Over a quarter of students start their own businesses while at university

Jenny Evans, Founder of Jenny Evans Designs and winner of last year's competition Photo credit: Santander Universities
Jenny Evans, Founder of Jenny Evans Designs.jpg
Jenny Evans, Founder of Jenny Evans Designs and winner of last year's competition Photo credit: Santander Universities

By Emma Videan

According to new research 26% of students currently run or are planning to run a business during their time studying at university, according to new research from Santander Universities.

Those up and coming student entrepreneurs who have already launched their businesses have an average turnover of £11,408 per annum, a collective of £1 billion. These numbers have risen by 32% since the £913 million turnover recorded in 2016.

The most popular business ventures are technology-based solutions (27%) and arts or crafts (17%), followed by clothing and textiles (9%), administration and business services (9%), tutoring (8%) and charity, voluntary or social work (7%).

This research was done to support Santander Universities’ ‘Entrepreneurship Awards’, which aims to recognise and support entrepreneurs from across the UK. Other findings revealed that the most common reason that entrepreneurs started businesses was due to financial motivation, closely followed by the desire to pursue a hobby or interest while others hoped to gain work experience.

One in four students decided to start their own business because of the need to pay off their student loan. This incentive has influenced students to aim high, having ambitious plans for business growth. 18% of students expected their turnover to increase by 68% in the next 5-year period.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said; “Student entrepreneurs play a key role in shaping the UK economy now and will continue to do so in the future. It is encouraging to see that so many students are inspired to start a business whilst at university from developing software to designing and selling clothing.”

These businesses are not planned to be short lived, as 33% of respondents expected to pursue it as a career when they graduate, with 52% saying that they would continue the business as a second job or hobby once graduating. Only 4% said that they intended to close the business post-graduation.

Last year, Jenny Evans, student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, won a top prize of £25,000 after founding her fashion-textile business, ‘Jenny Evans Designs’. Miss Evans said; “It took a leap of faith to start my own business whilst at university, but I am so glad that I did it. Being the owner of your own business can be difficult but extremely rewarding at the same time. I’ve gained some incredible experience and the encouragement provided by Santander throughout the competition and since the Awards win has been truly invaluable to my business.”