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Updated return to campus 2021

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. 

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.

  • Useful links and 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:

    TEG Kickstart - Business Accelerator The Online Accelerator course from The Enterprise Group will help you decide if starting and running a business is for you. Let’s face it - business ownership isn’t for everyone. It can be a hard and stressful road to tread, but if you are someone who is driven to succeed, it’s the most rewarding job in the world. There are 6 modules to complete at your own pace, including finance, marketing and leadership. Students and graduates have access to this FREE resource. Use this link to register: and use the code UoC-Students

    Important: You will need to make sure you set your location as 'cumbria' (even if you are based elsewhere in the country) and enter the code UoC-Students (this is case sensitive) in the 'Coupon Code' box. If you have any problems getting set up, you can email for help. There's also a video you can watch to help you complete the form - watch video.


    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 at 

    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. 


    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

    Enterprise events on My Career Enriched

    Upcoming events related to student enterprise or self-employment and freelancing will be posted on My Career Enriched, your career hub. 


    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 or search for 'Growth Hub + your location' on Google: 

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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 let us know. There are also thousands of videos on LinkedIn Learning related to starting your own business, leadership, finance, and more! Get started with LinkedIn Learning here:


    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’ 

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