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Student businesses generate £913m a year

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

UK universities have become hubs for budding entrepreneurs with half a million undergraduates running or planning to run a business while studying, research reveals.

And many of these student enterprises are making money.

Of the 513,000 student entrepreneurs who have already set up their business, the average turnover is £13,213 a year, the equivalent of £913m collectively. That’s almost double the £478m turnover from last year’s results.

The study, conducted by Santander Universities, found the most common type of student venture were technology-based solutions (22%) and arts or crafts (18%), followed by clothing and textiles, tutoring and administration services (all at 8%).

And the most common reason for students to start a business was to pursue a hobby or personal interest (70%), followed by financial motivation (58%) and work experience (26%).

Students are also aiming high with ambitious plans for growth as almost half of all student entrepreneurs (46%) expect their turnover to increase by up to 50% over the next five years, with an additional 10 per cent aiming for a 250% increase in turnover.

Some 26% expect to pursue their business as a career when they graduate.

Matt Hutnell, director of 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% 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. Juggling running a business with studying is not an easy task and the prevalence of these businesses demonstrates skill and initiative from UK students.”