Careers and employability

Entrepreneurs and start-ups

Woman presenting slideshow

Start your own business

Essex Startups offers wide range of training, support and funding opportunities to our community of budding entrepreneurs. Whether you already have a business idea, or are simply interested in the possibility of working for yourself in the future, we can provide the guidance and support to help make your dreams a reality.

Studio X is located at our Colchester Campus and offers students and graduates who are interested in starting their own business support throughout their entrepreneurial journey. It doesn't matter what course you're on, or what your idea is. As a student at Essex you can learn the skills needed to be successful in business and use Studio X as a base to help your start-up to grow.

What can Essex Startups offer you?

1:1 support

Our team are on hand to offer free one to one business advice sessions to students, staff and graduates of the University. Our in-house experts offer guidance and practical information to help you develop your ideas and structure your start-up to help you succeed. 


Our fun filled and action-packed weekenders are a great way to focus on your business.

Whether you are still formulating ideas or are ready to thrash out your marketing strategy, we cover a host of different topics to help you make the best of your start-up while working with other students and graduates who share your interest in becoming future business owners. 

Business Skills workshops

Our Business Skills workshops are bursting with advice and guidance and are focused on helping you approach various aspects of your start-up. These sessions are open to all our Essex students and Graduates, and we encourage you to attend as many as you can!

Here's just some of what we have to offer: 

  • Market Research - Learn great techniques to analyse and understand your market to see where you and your business fit in.
  • Sales and Pricing - Make sure you get your figures right to take the best first step into the world of small business. Getting those initial numbers in place could make the difference to your start-up journey. 
  • Marketing Strategy - Every good idea needs a good story to sell it. You may know your product or service inside out, but how do you get everyone on board? Learn about useful techniques to spread the good word of your start-up.
  • Social Media Strategy - Social media is pretty big news these days, make sure you know how to use it to help your business and connect you to your customers. 
  • Finance and Accounting - An essential part of any start-up, keeping great records and forecasting for the future can help take your start-up to the next level.

Search Careerhub for Essex Startups to find out more about our upcoming events.

Make Me An Entrepreneur series

The Make Me An Entrepreneur series consists of four six-week programmes, each focusing on enhancing the opportunities for underrepresented groups within our entrepreneurial community.

Each week a guest speaker will share their own start-up journey experiences and provide expert industry insights into the opportunities and challenges they have encountered.

Upon completion, participants have the opportunity to pitch for funding to develop the business idea.

Starting in January 2024, the programmes on offer are:

The big Idea

Join our intensive, two-day Bootcamp to move your business forward with the help of a host of entrepreneurs, business experts and Essex Startups mentors.

Focussed on developing your business plan by using techniques such as the Business Model Canvas, Empathy Mapping and Customer Avatar creation, in order to get you ready for The Big Idea process. Over the summer you will submit sections of your business plan for expert feedback, resulting in the change to pitch for funding for your business! 

evolve programme

evolve is our pre-accelerator programme for current students, staff and recent alumni, supporting the 15 most ambitious and promising ideas from the University’s start-up ecosystem. Run annually, we accept applications from ventures at any stage of development, ranging from an idea with demonstrable market research behind it, basic/early-stage prototypes, already-launched product/services with customers, and those ventures generating revenue.

evolve starts with a three-month programme of weekly expert forums and workshops, giving you the chance to hear from leaders in the key topics and themes of building and launching new ventures. Following this you will undertake a six-month period of self-working, with additional support and mentoring, culminating in a demo day where you will pitch for funding.

Funding opportunities

Essex Startups offer various ways to develop your business ideas and your entrepreneurial skills, including competitions to win cash prizes.

From the Big Idea to Dragons Den, we host funding opportunities throughout the year to help aid your startup.


Intensive workshops, online webinars and iTeams 

Intensive workshops

We have a jam-packed monthly schedule of 60-90 minute workshops to help you with your start-up. From marketing strategies to legal structures, to bookkeeping; we have tons of helpful sessions to help you prepare for your start-up journey 


This 8-10 week programme offers students from any academic discipline the opportunity to work on tangible, real-world challenges faced by external organisations.

Through a combination of workshops, mentoring, self-directed work, and teamwork, groups are posed a question by the ‘challenge-host’ and asked to create a report and presentation that should help the organisation understand the problem to a higher level, with suggested solutions worth exploring.

Students will benefit from exposure to real-world business challenges while organisations will get access to our talented community who approach problems with fresh insights.

Further study options