Thanks to the University of Plymouth’s partnership with Santander, student and graduate businesses can now access special funding to help them overcome challenges associated with COVID-19.
Through its Santander Universities arm, the international bank funds scholarships, bursaries and other support for students, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship. The University of Plymouth is one of 85 partner institutions to benefit.
In response to the pandemic and alongside its ongoing support, Santander Universities is making £25,000 available to new businesses run by students or recent graduates, who can now access small grants to help them stay in business in the current difficult climate.
The money, distributed through the University’s award-winning business incubator, Formation Zone, means that up to 30 early-stage businesses could receive a lifeline.
Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said
“Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time.
“Universities are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”
Eleanor Rockett is a University graduate and founder of Rockett fashion, a business agency which uses alternative models and new technology to provide advice for emerging and independent fashion brands. Santander funding that Eleanor received previously has already helped her business to adapt to operating under COVID-19.
“I have been able to hire a paid intern to work closely with me on marketing and creative development. She has helped me to identify target client personas and find key channels for each, as well as create and execute a cross-channel digital marketing strategy to attract target customers.
“Prior to this funding the acquisition of new clients took up significant time, which I could have been spending with clients on strategy development. My new marketing strategy will allow me to level out the recruitment of new clients and gain a constant stream of new potential work through social media.
“As I am unable to offer in-person events at present, the Santander funding has also allowed me to launch a new webinar series to expand my digital offerings.”
Grants are available for University undergraduates and graduates from 2018 and 2019, including those undertaking or awarded a University degree from a Partner College, who have a business up and running or about to start trading with a solid business plan and customer pipeline. The investments of £800 are intended to help businesses overcome barriers to their growth as a result of COVID-19 by, for example, increasing production, sales and market awareness or accelerating the development of a prototype.