Santander Universities - Entrepreneurship
Launch @ Salford was created to provide students and graduates with the skills they need to help launch and develop a start-up business.
Launch @ Salford
Thanks to our partnership with Santander Universities and the Business Growth Hub, Launch is able to provide a space for budding entrepreneurs to learn and collaborate with like-minded people, and the opportunity to secure a range of grants through a variety of programmes.
Despite having to deliver their service remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020/21 academic year has been their best yet as they've supported 480 students with enterprise training and 51 student businesses, awarded £96,000 in cash grants, provided 70 businesses with funding, and ran 86 events!
Launch are committed to providing an inclusive student experience and have a strong commitment to international students, BAME entrepreneurs, and female founders.
- During 2021, they supported 64 international students and created a bespoke programme for Launch Global to engage with their international entrepreneurs, covering everything from finance to tech solutions to marketing. Over 16 sessions, students developed their business models with eight securing up to £2,000 in funding!
- For the year, 56% of event attendees were from a minority ethnic background, and 25 students from across the University participated in Santander's Black Inclusion programme, with one securing a £1,500 grant.
- 45% of their business owners were female and six of them secured grants of £2,000 - £3,000 thanks to Santander Universities funding.
Festival of Entrepreneurship & Innovation
In 2021, Launch held their first Festival of Entrepreneurship & Innovation to inspire students and alumni in their endeavours.
The Festival ran over five weeks and welcomed 1,500 current students, alumni and external business members for a range of masterclasses, keynote speakers, and competitions which focused on key entrepreneurship themes: local, global, creative, and innovation.
During the Festival, Launch welcomed Alumni keynote speakers such as John Roberts (CEO of AO), Vikas Shah MBE (CEO of Swiscot Group and author of Thought Economics), and Cesar Melo (CEO of VidMob and Honorary Fellow of Salford Business School|).
We are also delighted to announce that £26,500 was awarded in grant funding during the Festival through the Launch Business Challenge, Launch Newcomer's & Showcase competition, and the Creative Competition.
Launch Business Challenge
Launch encourages their students to give back to the local community and ensure that their business ideas are sustainable and ethical.
As part of the very first Launch Business Challenge, five student teams collaborated with a local charity, Salford Foundation, to help them connect with their beneficiaries and create solutions for their challenges.
Salford Foundation set two challenges for the teams to choose from:
- Learning City: Develop a digital solution to capture the skills and experiences of the women at the Women's Centre in Eccles to help recognise and accredit their existing life experiences to increase their confidence in accessing education and employment opportunities.
- Digital Buddies: Create a central system to manage the interactions between young people and older beneficiaries.
All five teams then pitched live in the final for a chance to win part of the £5,000 funding pot (sponsored by Santander Universities) and a place on the Launch programme.
Grand prizes of £1,875 were awarded to two winning teams, with £100 awarded to the other teams that made it to the final.
Wonder Women's solution for the Learning City challenge was a user-generated digital platform where charities can work with disadvantaged individuals to gain accredited skills for employment.
Generation Digital's winning idea for Digital Buddies encompassed a call-to-text interface, with an innovative app that connected elderly participants with their buddy and collate all the conversations on a database.
Launch Showcase Competition
The 2021 Launch Showcase Competition ran as part of the Festival of Entrepreneurship & Innovation to award £3,000 of Santander Universities funding to the most progressed business of Launch Cohorts 1-6.
Thanks to Santander Universities' generosity, we were able to award four winners with £3,000 and two runners up with £1,000 each!
Azeem Amir created Learn with ESS, an initiative that uses Education, Sport and Speaking (ESS) based activities to provide a unique and interactive team cohesion experience whilst addressing stigmatized issues surrounding disability.
Azeem, who has been blind since birth, developed the company with the aim of changing individual perceptions within society.
Azeem has secured several grants from Santander Universities, including the Judge's Choice Award in their Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme and Launch Showcase Competition, helping him to develop the company significantly to provide a variety of educational, sports-based, and speaking services.
After graduating from her Master's in Music: Composition, Adina joined Launch to develop her business as a composer. She has since skyrocketed into the male-dominated world of music and composition, working on a multitude of projects such as a commission from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to compose music inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic which has since been extended into an ambient EP titled The Heavy Now.
Adina was also the sole representative of the North West as part of the BFI Network x BAFTA Crew 2021, an initiative designed to encourage exceptional individuals in TV, film, and video games.
Ceewhy Ochoga secured a Start Up Visa with the Enterprise team as a graduate and created Black Impact as a response to the systematic racism and racial biases in education and employment.
Black Impact supports students in achieving greatness during their studies and in future employment, and Ceewhy has successfully held multiple seminars and ceremonies to celebrate Black success.
Victoria Merness started the Little House of Victoria to promote wellness and mindfulness through embroidery, and sells beautiful, nature-inspired embroidery and bespoke kits.
Victoria is a regular guest on The Craft Store, selling her kits and providing tutorials.
Launch Newcomer & Creative Competition
The Launch Newcomer Competition was open to students and alumni from across the University to win a £1,000 start-up grant and a place on the Launch programme; Launch also held the Creative Competition to encourage entrepreneurship within our School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.
Five students won the £1,000 Newcomer award, one won the £1,000 Creative award, and three runner-ups secured £500 each!