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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Important information and guidance

Would you prefer to work for yourself instead of working for someone else? Or maybe you are considering a portfolio career combining self-employment and employed work/endeavours?

Your enterprise journey is unique to you and the University of Cumbria offer a range of options and information to help you as you consider your route forward. 

Student Enterprise offer marketing support should you start your own business/go freelance, using university channels.  This is often done in the form of a case study/interview with the entrepreneur that is published via the website, alumni magazine and social media, championing your achievement, awareness raising and helping to drive customers to you. Please e-mail if you are interested in this.

This section of My Cumbria provides a range of tools that can help you on your entrepreneurial journey, whether you are looking to start a business or just develop enterprise skills to support you on your journey to graduate employability.



2020 AWARD OPEN: Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Entrepreneurs

Wanted: Creative Social Entrepreneurs!

£50,000 prize fund. £100,000 worth of business support. 5 winners.

DBACE is seeking 18 to 30-year-old creative entrepreneurs who are driven by a mission to build and sustain social value through their enterprise. All business stages are eligible. Creative industries specific. Submissions deadline: 31 March 2020.

Application tips & resources can be found via and information sessions will be held across the UK. Running for 26 years, Deutsche Bank has partnered with MeWe360 since 2019 to deliver the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs.

Change makers, are you in? 



  • Thinking about starting a business/going freelance?

    University of Cumbria and Enterprise Nation

    Currently the University of Cumbria in partnership with Enterprise Nation is able to offer our student and graduate entrepreneurs, who are considering starting a business or going freelance, the opportunity to apply for a 12 month free licence to access this platform.

    Benefits include:

    • Weekly online master classes on business essentials.
    • Access to online and downloadable resources to boost your business including free eBooks and a library or recorded webinars.
    • Corporate online via member-only forums and meet in person at regional member meet-ups.
    • Opportunity to be featured on Enterprise Nation blog and Enterprise Nation TV.
    • 3 x 30 minute expert consultation calls.
    • Discounts on and priority access to 200+ Enterprise Nation events each year.
    • Save over £1,000 with exclusive offers and discounts on small business essentials.
    • Take part in events such as ‘Get Noticed’ – live pitch to journalists, funders and buyers to promote your business.

    To apply for your free place, please complete the Enterprise Nation application form and retun it via email to

    University of Cumbria's Business Start-up Support Programme

    The University of Cumbria in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce provide a range of workshops that will help you to develop the skills you need to enable you to consider starting a business in the future.

    Interested in attending workshops in your area? Email with the type of workshop you are interested in and we will get back to you with your nearest opportunity.

    To see some of our resources which you may find useful click the next box below. 

  • Useful web resources

    When you are considering starting a business there are lots of tools to help you, here is a selection of web resources that may be of interest:

    The Prince’s Trust provide a useful business plan template that you can find here.  Whilst the Prince’s Trust target people aged 11 to 30, they have a good range of useful resources available to everyone, and are well worth checking out. Visit their website at

    Lots of useful information on business planning can be found on the UK Government's website ( and at Shell Live Wire.

    The Federation of Small Business provides information on everything from deciding on your business to protecting your intellectual property.

    The Intellectual Property Office provide help and support so that you can protect your business with regards to areas such as, Trade Marks, Patents, Design, IP Crime and Infringement, Copyright and so much more.

    Nesta have produced the Creative Enterprise Toolkit, a good read for those looking to set up a creative business. 

    Creative Boom provide some interesting insights on portfolio careers. 

    The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs provides support for female entrepreneurs and Flourish CIC offer a range of workshops and information targeted specifically at female social entrepreneurs.

    If you are thinking about setting your business up as a Limited Company, Companies House provides an in-depth range of information to help and support you.

    Other information can be found at Tech Nation, the digital business academy. 

    If you are considering a social enterprise there is lots of useful information via Social Enterprise UK

    UnLtd offer a range of help and support including business tools to help you if you are considering starting a social enterprise or if you are looking to scale up your current social enterprise.

    Startups provides a good range of case studies and resources which you might find of interest, there are other resources available so please take time to have a look around. 

    Start-up Donut also provide a range of information and could be worth checking out. 

    The Plunkett Foundation provides information targeted at social enterprise supporting local communities, they produce a regular newsletter to keep you informed.

    It is important to check information and use it as guide. Case studies about how people have developed their business can be useful to bring inspiration at those times when the going is tough.

    Information about setting up a business can be found on the UK Government website as well as information about business tax if you are self-employed. You can download a pdf of ‘Thinking of working for yourself’. For more information about what you need to do click here.

    If you are considering setting up or buying into a franchise you will find information at the British Franchise Association website.

  • Useful templates

    Business planning

    Download our basic Business Plan template to help you consider the viability of your business. You can also email us if you would like a cashflow forecast template at


    Marketing template

    Use our Marketing Strategy template to help you to plan your marketing activities. Remember to make sure that the information aligns with the rest of your business plan and cashflow forecast.


    Personal Survival Budget

    When starting your own business you need to understand how much the business needs to generate for you so that you can draw wages and cover your living expenses as a minimum.  Our Personal Survival Budget will help you to do this.


    SWOT Analysis

    Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is important as well as understanding what times actions you need to put in place, use our SWOT Analysis template to support you with this activity.


    PESTLE Analysis 

    Many businesses also find completing a PESTLE analysis useful, download one of our template to support you with this activity: PESTLE template 1; PESTLE template 2.


    Effective Networking

    Effective networking is a skill in itself, and the first time you attend an event by yourself can be quite daunting, use our Networking Checklist  to help you to plan ahead and get the most from your time at events.

  • Exporting

    If you are considering exporting then there is a wealth of knowledge to be found at the UK Government's website ( This includes:

    The UK Government also run the Tradeshow Access Programme, this can help with associated costs.

    A quick search will find other areas of help and support, including one to one support with a Department for International Trade adviser

    The Department for International Trade also provide statistics, which you may find useful when undertaking your planning.

  • Enterprise Events

    Digital Networking Club

    From October 2018 join our new Digital Networking Club running on a Wednesday afternoon. Whilst based at our Brampton Road campus, you can arrange to join us via Skype; contact for further details.

    Upcoming Digital Networking Club events can be found on My Career Enriched, your career hub. Recent events have included an informal networking event and a guest speaker who talked about what it's like to work for Google, developing a portfolio career, and community projects. 


    British Chamber of Commerce 

    The British Chamber of Commerce provides a wide range of help and support, whether you are looking to start a business or looking to build and grow your business. Depending on your location there is different support available:


    Growth Hubs

    Growth Hubs provide business support programmes to help businesses start and grow. Find your local hub below: 

  • Potential sources of funding

    Before applying for funding you need to be clear how much you are looking to raise, the period of the funding, what the funding will be used for and what type of funding  you are looking to raise.  Be realistic and make sure you have the data to back up any claims made in your business plan and cashflow.

    When looking at funding decide are you going to apply for grants or loans? Or a mixture of both? What will this look like?Consider the payment terms and make sure you included this within your financial forecasting.

    If you have decided to apply for a potential grant, make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria before applying. If you don’t meet the criteria, don’t waste your time developing an application! Use the time to help generate income in other ways or by applying for funding that you do meet the eligibility for.

    Funding streams change quickly, so the links below may lead to funding that has finished, whilst other funders will not have been listed. Remember to do your own further research.

    Hadfield Trust Creative Travel Award - The Hadfield Trust have generously provided support to fund up to six Creative Travel Awards to enable IoA students to undertake a period to travel that will enhance their learning opportunities as they prepare for their final year of study and beyond.  Applications are invited for single awards up to £500 each to fund (or part-fund) activities. Download the Hadfield Trust Creative Travel Award Application Form.

    UnLtd look to support social enterprises and have different streams that you can consider.

    The Co-operative and Community Finance have loans to help support the social enterprise sector.

    The Key Fund has a central mission to provide finance - flexible loans and grant/loan packages targeted towards community and social enterprise. 

    Power to Change offer help, support and funding to community groups to help them to develop community business ideas.

    If you are a voluntary organisation or social enterprise you can also look for funding via Funding Central. There is a subscription fee to be paid in order to access any of the information.

    Arts Council England has a range of funding programmes as well as lots of useful information to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.

    The National Lottery have a range of grants as well as information on eligibility and how to apply.

    The Henry Smith Charity offer grants to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK to support projects which help improve the lives of people.

    The Tutor Trust supports voluntary and community groups to make a positive change in communities.

    Paul Hamlyn Foundation supports children and young people to experience a better quality of life.

    Nesta provide a range of information and funding.

    John Moores Foundation provide grants towards organisations that support communities, for full details see their website.

    Esmee Foundation funds work that focuses on social change, the arts, children & young people, food and environment.

    Sport England focus on small grants that will help to get people active.

    Groundwork UK focus on helping to transform the lives in disadvantaged communities.

    Cumbria LEP aim to create one of the fastest growing economies in the UK. Find details of forward plans as well as funding information.

    Cumbria County Council have community grants that can demonstrate lasting community benefits.

    Rural Tourism Infrastructure support the development of tourism infrastructure throughout rural Cumbria.

    Rural Business Development have funding to assist rural business development with grants to enable farm diversification or business growth and innovation.

    Food Processing grants to support food processing businesses.

    Solway Border & Eden Leader Funding is currently closed for expressions of interest but it is worth revisiting this website again in the future. 

    Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund Loan funding to support for start-up and growth plan.


    Growth Hubs provide business support programmes to help business start and grow. Find your local hub below:

  • Interesting Videos

    There are so many videos that are available to help develop skills, understanding and knowledge, here are a small selection of what is available.  Undertake your own research to find others, if you come across others which you feel are really good, please share them with us and we will add them to the list.  Please e-mail details to


    See Simon Sinek present a thought provoking TED talk on ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’.

    The spirit of a leader – Inspirational video featuring Myles Munroe

    Motivational video featuring wildlife

    Are you a leader?



    Looking to present your business idea to potential investors, see top tips by Karren Brady.

    Levi Roots had a different approaching to pitching his business and getting the interest of the Dragons. He was not very good with his numbers but has charisma and passion which got him through! (From Dragon's Den)

    Here are the top 3 pitches from MIT Global Start-up Workshops 2011. See what you think, they are all quite different.

    Josh Light’s coffee cup pitch is well worth watching.  Their brand in your hand!



    Good teamwork and bad teamwork

    Rowing and Teamwork 

    The power of Teamwork

    Teamwork – fun but not sure you should try this one!


    Business Planning

    Watch this video from the Young Entrepreneurs Forum on ‘How to Write a Business Plan to Start Your Own Business’ 

If you would like any further information or support please email

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