Small Business Workforce Fund

This temporary Fund is now closed.

The University of Plymouth’s STEM Graduates into Business project was proud to provide the Small Business Workforce Fund to support eligible small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Devon with the recruitment of STEM graduates. To provide flexibility to businesses facing changing market demands, this temporary Fund, which was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), allowed graduates to be employed as a paid-intern for three months to fill any existing skills gaps during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Incentive payments to cover up to 50 per cent of employee wages

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognised that financially it was and is a difficult time for all businesses. Therefore, the Small Business Workforce Fund provided incentive payments to cover up to 50 per cent of the graduate employee salary – up to £200 per week, or £2,400 over three months.*

By working with STEM Graduates into Business, this also removed any upfront recruitment costs and included support throughout the application process, allowing businesses to focus on key business priorities.

*Please note, graduates must be paid a minimum of £400 a week for businesses to qualify for this support.

Helping your business to be flexible, responsive and adapt

STEM Graduates into Business provides access to adaptable graduates, with the relevant skills and abilities to support your business. A graduate can bring state-of-the-art skills that can support new product development – the perfect candidates to help your business to respond to market changes.

STEM Graduates into Business

This Fund was designed to support SMEs with recruitment and skills needs during the pandemic and is now closed. However, the STEM Graduates into Business project is still operating – please visit the project page for further information.

Kristien Oliver-Purdye, Vualto's new Graduate Developer

Recruiting during a pandemic

"Working directly with the University of Plymouth made complete sense to us, as we could tap into their recent graduate market easily. They took care of the advertising process and were able to present us with a number of potential candidates that all had the skillset we were looking for. With the added bonus of a financial incentive...it really was a win-win situation for us.” Victoria Davies, HR Manager, Vualto

Learn more about the experience of Plymouth company, Vualto.


Not in a position to recruit?  

Access expert advice on recruiting graduates in the future and receive further business support from the University’s Careers Service to help you through this time. 

Stay in contact with the graduate market for the future and quickly access potential future recruits when the time is right for you. Complete the expression of interest form and be top of the list to receive recruitment support in the future.


Project funding

STEM Graduates into Business is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Utilising this funding, the project aims to:

  • address SME innovation challenges through graduate internships focused on transformational business projects
  • raise leadership and management capability levels in SMEs, particularly regarding recruitment and employment
  • create a growing network of graduate employing SMEs across the area, leading to longer-term opportunities for graduates and their retention in the local economy.

The funding for this project is secure until 30 March 2021, regardless of the outcome of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

More information about University of Plymouth projects funded by the European Development Fund

Contact STEM Graduates into Business

Room 209, 3 Endsleigh Place, University of Plymouth, Drake's Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA