I have a self-employment, freelance and/or business start up idea that I want to pursue

Self-employment, freelancing and running your own business

Relevant programmes and events:

The Cube: business start-up, self-employment, weekly drop-in, workshops, monthly support sessions and more

If you have an idea that you want to pursue, The Cube offers weekly opportunities for students and graduates to access information on a variety of free self-employment and business start-up support all in one place. This includes:

  • bespoke expert-run workshops and events
  • 1:1 business and self-employment support appointments
  • 1:1 business expert appointments on HR, legal, finance, intellectual property and more
  • weekly drop-in sessions
  • support to access Santander funding
  • Professional Entrepreneurial Mentoring Programme
  • business challenges and competitions
  • networking opportunities.
To find out which services may be most appropriate to you, simply email thecube@plymouth.ac.uk

The Cube also delivers an ongoing programme of business start-up and development workshops on a variety of topics which can be very useful. These include:

  • brand workshop
  • consultative selling
  • intellectual property for students and start-ups
  • media workshop
  • sales strategy
  • Santander Scam Avoidance School
  • Run A Monster Business Not A Business Monster.

In addition, you can attend monthly support sessions to access:

  • 1:1s with Thomas Westcott Chartered Accountants
  • 1:1s with PATLIB
  • 1:1s with Student Enterprise Manager
  • business start-up workshops on various topics.
Watch graduate video case studies

The Cube Santander Acceleration Awards 

In collaboration with Santander, The Cube offers quarterly competitive awards to accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses looking to start or scale.

Awards of approximately £1,250 are available to students and recent graduates in order to accelerate the progress of their business. Examples of what awards can be used for include:

  • build/redesign of website
  • 1:1 high-value consultancy
  • implementation of accounting systems
  • implementation of quality management systems
  • procurement of new technology to add value
  • prototyping/3D printing/product development/R&D
  • financial support for office space
  • implementation of marketing/sales strategy
  • business support services to maximise growth.

Santander 1:1 support meetings

If you are a current student or recent graduate wanting to apply for funding then once you have had an initial 1:1 booked via MyCareer, if suitable we can then arrange a 1:1 with Remy Foucher from Santander, which can be very beneficial. Once a month, Remy offers 1:1 appointments for 30 minutes where you can talk though your ideas and ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more and book your initial 1:1 business support appointment

Virtual Internship Scheme 2020–21

The new Virtual Internship Scheme will see graduating students working on short term creative projects to benefit local businesses and improve their employability. Creatives working on projects will be paid at a standard rate of £13/hour, up to a maximum of 38 hours per project (£500), which will be funded by the iMayflower Innovative Placement Scheme. It’s a great opportunity to enhance your business acumen, build your network of potential clients and get real hands on experience of working on as a freelancer. 

To express an interest, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Sarah Holcombe, iMayflower Knowledge Exchange Specialist

Masters R&D Studentship 2020–21

This new initiative will pair highly skilled masters level students from across our Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business with local businesses in order to undertake a defined R&D challenge that will contribute to the development of a new product, process, service or experiential offering for the business and deliver an unprecedented learning experience for our students. It’s a great opportunity to work collaboratively with a local business and gain hands on experience of innovating and implementing new ideas; building your commercial awareness and business acumen.

To express an interest, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact: Sarah Holcombe, iMayflower Knowledge Exchange Specialist sarah.holcombe@plymouth.ac.uk.

Formation Zone Business Incubation Services

Formation Zone Plymouth incubator provides space and support for innovative start-ups in the following sectors: creative industries, hi-tech, marine, environmental, advanced engineering, health and wellbeing. The benefits include: 

  • a workstation in one of their open plan offices. Includes a desk, chair, pedestal storage, IP phone, broadband network and wireless, shared printer / copier / scanner. Small additional charge for extra desks.
  • access to expert advice and peer support sessions.
  • links in to University of Plymouth research expertise, knowledge transfer and innovation opportunities.
  • access to their start-up online resource and network events.
  • access to their professional meeting rooms and a Formation Zone postal address.
  • easy-in, easy-out flexible terms.

iMayflower crowdfunding support

Crowdfunder UK are helping digital creative companies grow through a combination of expert crowdfunding coaching, events and extra funding.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding gives people a digital platform to validate creative ideas, raise awareness of new projects, and build lasting relationships with supporters. And it’s an innovative way to fund your start-up and grow your business!

Find out more about how Crowdfunder can help as part of iMayflower


Available to all, Outset offers a fully funded pre-start to early trading programme of workshops, online resources and advisor support to help you explore whether your idea can grow into a great business and develop your plans.   

If you are a business that has been trading for under two years, they can offer a range of support to ensure your business has strong marketing and financial foundations. They can help you to explore ways to increase your customer base and to increase your working capital in order to achieve sustainable growth. 

Free workshops delivered in Formation Zone’s meeting room include:

  • an Introduction to business planning
  • introduction to business finance and funding
  • introduction to business marketing and social media. 

To find more about their free programme of support visit: https://www.outset.org/start-up-and-grow/.