Launching new business ideas into the stratosphere
Despite disruption caused by the coronavirus, the University of Salford business incubator has continued to grow and is now looking for a new intake of students with business ideas.
It has become difficult to start a new business from the ground up this with lockdowns and travel restrictions. Despite this, the Launch @SalfordUni incubator, designed to help students and graduates with their business ideas, has had a successful year, showcased in their annual report, which has just been published. And Building upon the success of this year, Launch is now accepting applications for Cohort 6.
What is Launch @SalfordUni?
Launch was set up in 2018 with the idea of aiding students and alumni in developing their own business. It has just welcomed its fifth cohort budding entrepreneurs. As part of a six-month support programme, users get access to a plethora of support from the team, including training, guidance, office space and financial aid.
The programme, part of the Business School, is sponsored by Santander Universities and includes support from the GC Business Growth Hub, who lead an exclusive training programme for Launch – Spark2Scale. In addition to this, the university’s Careers and Enterprise Team, academic colleagues from the Business School and accomplished entrepreneurs give masterclasses on growing businesses.
Who has Launch helped?
Since opening, Launch has supported over 1,000 students through workshops and business advisor appointments, and they have supported 85 businesses with 42 being launched in the past year. Of these 42 businesses, 37 were awarded funding through Launch and Santander. A total of more than £115,000 in cash grants has been awarded last year, and 95% of users would recommend Launch to their friends.
Little House of Victoria
Victoria Merness is one of this year’s users and launched her business, Little House of Victoria, an embroidery kit business.
Little House of Victoria is just one of the many businesses in the creative sector that Launch have worked with to develop. In total, they have supported businesses across 15 different industry sectors, from vegan food delivery services to design companies, and are able to connect users to highly skilled academics across these sectors.
Another business supported by Launch is Black Impact, an organisation that supports and encourages the success and empowerment of Black students through training in ethical leadership, activism and political representation and engagement. It also focuses on understanding and raising awareness for Black mental health and wellbeing.
Black Impact was founded by CEO Ceewhy Ochoga, the first Black president of the Student Union.
Justyna Turner, Incubation Manager at Launch, said: “We’re very proud of what our entrepreneurs have achieved over the last couple of years. It is especially exciting to see many of the first entrepreneurs we’ve helped giving back and now supporting our new members, creating a community of peer learning.
"It is a privilege to encourage our students’ ambitions and support them to start and grow their businesses. This next cohort will, no doubt, be as exciting as the last and I cannot wait to get started.”