Supporting student business start-ups

  • Date

    Wed 14 Aug 19

Andy Mew

Our new head of Start-Up Support knows a thing or two about business – he managed a campus nightclub while still at university, went on to set up his own company and has since overseen a £5.5 million business contract.

Now Andy Mew has been tasked with providing advice and support to our budding student entrepreneurs in Studio X, the space in the Innovation Centre dedicated to helping students and recent graduates turn their big ideas for business into reality. 

Andy proved his own business acumen while studying for his Masters at Portsmouth - in just two years he worked his way up from supervisor to being deputy manager of the campus nightclub, with responsibility for all aspects of the business, from staff management to marketing. 

After graduating in 2009, he stayed on at the university in a number of roles, including helping student start-ups. There followed a year in New Zealand, where he combined travel with setting up his own copywriting company, which he continues to run, before he returned to Portsmouth to oversee a major training contract between the RAF and the University. 

Now he has joined the University of Essex to share his business experience with our students. As he explained: “I know how exciting setting up your own company can be, but also how nerve-wracking. I know the mistakes people can make, and think I can help students avoid the regular pitfalls.  Studio X is a fantastic home for students - we are here for any student, on any course, with any business idea.” 

Essex has been providing support to student start-ups for several years – over 50 students have been helped, including app developers, a wedding videography business and a company selling African clothing. 

The new home in the Innovation Centre, provides extra space, where students can develop their ideas and benefit from advice and support from each other, University experts, Essex graduates and the local business community. 

Studio X  is equipped with high-specification PCs and Macs, as well as cutting edge equipment for digital and creative businesses, including Virtual Reality headsets and a 360 degree projection room. 

From the autumn there will be a full programme of free workshops, which students can dip in and out of, covering everything from pitching an idea to investors, through accounting and marketing to registering a company. These will be available to students in Southend through webinars. One-to-one personalised support will also be available and there is the potential for students to get funding through the annual Big Pitch – a Dragons’ Den-style competition for very embryonic businesses and the Seed Corn Fund, which provides grants to take an idea to the next level by, for example, building a prototype or developing software.