Over half-a-million university students want to start their own business

10th August 2016

More than half-a-million (518,372) university students are either running or plan to run their own business alongside their courses, according to research from Santander Universities.

That’s a 38 per cent increase on the 375,000 students that were involved in entrepreneurship at some stage of their university degrees in 2015. Meanwhile, the combined turnover of university businesses has also soared from £478m to £913m in the last 12 months, amounting to £13,213 a year per business.

Technology (22 per cent) and arts and crafts (18 per cent) businesses are the most popular type set up by university students; closely followed by clothing, textiles, tutoring and administration services.

Almost three-quarters (70 per cent) of students surveyed said the main driver behind setting up a business was a desire to pursue a hobby or interest, followed by financial motivation (58 per cent) and valuable work experience (26 per cent).

More than a quarter (26 per cent) stated they were keen to carry on with their business as a full-time career upon graduation, while half of those surveyed said they would keep it going as a hobby or second income.

Matt Hutnell, director, Santander Universities UK, said: “Student entrepreneurs are an important contributor to the UK economy and it’s great to see an increase of over 30 per cent since last year.

“It’s also encouraging that many plan to stick with their business as their main career after graduation when their potential to flourish will be vast.”

Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam and Startups’ 2009 Young Gun, said that setting up in business whilst at university can be “a very exciting as well as daunting experience”.

“I would encourage young people to just go for it, and not to be afraid of failure. You’ll learn as you go and there is lots of support and information available.”

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