The Beginner's Guide to Starting a UK Business can help you decide if you have what it takes to be your own boss.
Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is a cross-border exchange programme which gives new or aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to learn from experienced entrepreneurs running small businesses in other countries.
Enternships provides job and internship opportunities in start-ups in UK and across Europe.
If you're still searching for a business idea, try these TED talks included in the playlist Where do Ideas Come From?.
Starting your own business
- HMRC's Starting Your Own Business e-learning course covers tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses. This course will build your confidence by guiding you through everything you need to know to get started. There are useful tips from others who have been where you are now and practical case studies to help you along the way.
- A series of 'bite-sized' videos on self employment are available on the HMRC's YouTube channel
- Gov.uk's Working For Yourself talks you through the different options for setting yourself up as a sole trader or limited company, and what you need to know.
- The Ready Reckoner calculator tool is available on Gov.uk's website to work out how much money you need to set aside for National Insurance /Tax.
- The Business & IP Centre run a series of workshop packages on everything you need to know to help you start, launch and grow your business.
- The Santander Universities Enterprise Portal is a site for entrepreneurs and the university, start-up and business communities. Enter the Santander 60 Second Business Pitch competition via the portal and compete to win up to £1,500, and advice and support for your new business.
- How Stuff Works will give you an insight into business.
- Real Business is a website full of useful information and advice for small businesses.
- Santander Business Guides cover everything from tax and finance to HR, Marketing and Strategy to help you start and grow your business.
- Startups is an invaluable resource for up to date articles on entrepreneurship hot topics and news. It also contains 62 detailed guides on how to start a business in popular industries.
- Startup Stash is a curated directory of over 400 tools & resources to help you build your startup.
- If you are considering a Pop Up shop, read this handy guide to Setting up a Retail Pop-Up in London.
Business plan templates
- Business Plan Template part 1 is a simple business plan to get you started.
- Business Plan template part 2 expands part 1 and allows you to add more detailed information such as a marketing plan, financials and operational detail.
- Enterprise Nation offers a free digital download covering 50 Ways to Find Funding for Your Business.
- GrantTree offers a guide to StartUp Funding covering various options including investors, crowdfunding, grants and even tax breaks.
Marketing and branding
- Enterprise Nation offers a free digital download on 5 Steps to Building a Business Brand.
- 99 Design Small Business Resource Centre provides information and tips about branding and entrepreneurship.
Legal and accountancy
RHW Solicitors is offering University of Surrey students exclusive one-to-one legal advice sessions once a month at their offices in central Guildford. To book your place, please complete the Legal Advice Application Form and return it via email to find out when the next available session is.
RHW Solicitors have provided some helpsheets on the following areas:
- Are you considering starting a business someone else? Read about the pros and cons of starting a business partnership.
- Having a clear social media policy for your business is important.
Companies House incorporates and dissolves limited companies, registers the information companies are legally required to supply, and makes that information available to the public.
The Law Society's Lawyers For Your Business (LFYB) scheme is aimed a people setting up or running a small or medium sized business, and provides an initial free session to help you to understand the basics or help with a particular task. These could include:
- Setting up your new company or partnership, or advising you on taking up a franchise;
- Buying, selling or renting premises;
- Collecting debts;
- Drawing up a standard employment contract for your employees;
- Drawing up standard terms of trade, or a specific contract for a major piece of work;
- Advising you on protecting your rights to new ideas and designs;
- Acting for you in a legal dispute, and if you have to go to court;
The initial free session will also give you an idea of whether you need any extra legal help and how much it would cost. Make sure you prepare in advance for subsequent meetings; draw up a written agenda and give your solicitors clear instructions about what you want done.
Getting an accountant to help with the accounting, tax and finance issues should be able to save a start-up business more time and money than the cost of the accountancy fees. HSBC offers a guide to choosing an accountant and what an accountant can do for you.
- The Gov.uk Intellectual Property Office offers a guide and e-learning tool on intellectual property and how to create a viable business opportunity from your idea.
- The IP Tools for Universities on the Gov.uk website is an accredited e-learning tool to help students and lecturers understand intellectual property rights.
- Read through the Gov.uk guides to registering, protecting and applying for patents, trademarks and copyrights.
- Venner Shipley LLP has a detailed resources page with information and advice on IP.
- Gov.uk has a guide on setting up a social enterprise.
- The Can network offers advice and office space.
- i-Genius is a worldwide network for social entrepreneurs providing training, services and news.
- School of Social Entrepreneurs offers courses to help individuals start, sustain and scale social enterprises, charities and community projects.
- UnLtd is a charity that supports social entrepreneurs on their journey.
- The Social Good Guides are a collection of subject specific guides created for 'startup changemakers' and authored by experts.
Becoming a Freelancer/Contractor during or after university
- This Ultimate Guide to Setting Up As a Freelancer at University covers the main areas and links to useful websites from setting up as a sole trader or limited company to managing client relationships.
- Contractor UK is an IT contractor community with advice and information about starting out as a contractor.
- This article offers advice about how to become a freelance audio engineer, written by a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer.
- CareerLancer offers advice on how to become a freelancer in a range of areas such as Music Production, Journalism, IT Programming, Web Development, Engineering & Manufacturing, Graphic Design & Multimedia, and many more.
Students holding Tier 4 General Student visas are not permitted to be self-employed; however all students can attend our Enterprise Skills Ladder Workshops and take part in any of our Programmes.
The UKBA has introduced a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) route for graduates who do not have a job offer from an employer, but instead have outstanding business ideas that they wish to put into practice. The Business Enterprise Graduate Scheme (BEGS) offers international students the opportunity to apply for University Endorsement of their business proposal which would lead to the granting of a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa for a period of 12 months in the first instance. For more information on criteria and rules, please see the guidance document below.
The International Office has detailed information on their page about the scheme, what is offered and who is eligible.
For other opportunities to develop your employability and explore careers and placements with established companies, see the Careers & Employability website.
Please note: Student Enterprise at University of Surrey does not recommend or endorse any particular loan or service. Please think carefully before deciding to take on a loan or service which would incur a financial commitment or penalty.