Enterprise & entrepreneurship

We place a strong emphasis on entrepreneurialism, creating opportunities for our students to develop their own business ideas and receive tailored support. From student societies to workshops and awards, budding entrepreneurs can benefit from the knowledge and experience of their lecturers and the strong industry links the University has carefully cultivated over the years.

"Winner of the Enterprise and Employability category at the Green Gown Awards (2016)"

Our award-winning Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme (EEP) provides an inspiring and supportive environment in which our students can share, develop and launch their ideas. Guided by lawyers, insurers, marketing professionals and accountants, students from all courses and years have the chance to realise their aspirations in a professional and rewarding environment.

As well as acting as a springboard for the business leaders of tomorrow, our celebrated programme has attracted the support of business leaders and PR sponsors across the UK, enabling us to organise networking events, enterprise workshops, mentoring services, work placements and inspirational talks.

Think it

Do you have the seed of a concept for creating your own business? Even if you don't, but want to develop a business concept, we can help you to crystallise your ideas through our 'Think it' support programme.  

The ‘Think it’ challenge allows students to submit a two-minute filmed business pitch.

Try it

Once you have outlined and researched your business idea you are empowered to 'Try it' and test your concept to prove that it works.  

The First Steps Fund provides students, staff and recent alumni with proof of concept funding of up to £250 to help them test their business idea, as well as a business mentor. Our business mentors provide at least 10 hours support to help you develop your business model including your value proposition as well as supporting your write a business plan.  

Launch it

After you have demonstrated that your idea 'has legs' and are ready to take that final step your business mentor will support you in helping to write and develop your business plan in time for you to 'Launch it'

You will have access to a team of experts including lawyers, accountants, and marketing professionals who are ready to guide and champion you throughout your entrepreneurial journey. The programme's external mentors provide at least 10 hours of support to you and are paired according to their skills, sector and experience.

Each year our entrepreneurial students are invited to enter our Grand Idea Competition and pitch their concept and business plan to our panel of expert judges who have included people such as Levi Roots (Reggae Reggae sauce) and Julian Dunkerton (co-founder SuperDry). Students pitch in the hope of winning at least £2,500 to invest in their business, as well as around £3,000 worth of in-kind business support prizes.

Grow it

Once your business is up and running, we understand that the support you need will be different, so it is at this point that you have the opportunity to receive a tailor-made level of support that we offer you and your business so that you can 'Grow it'. 

You will have access to the on-campus Growth Hub and Farm491 for AgriTech concepts.

Whether that is one-to-one mentoring, expert advice or access to workshops and inspirational guest lecturer, we aim to keep you up-to-date with funding opportunities and potential trading prospects as they arise.

"1 in 10 graduates starts their own business or works for themselves" (DEH 2015/16)

Trent Lodge Enterprise Centre

Hot desks in Trent LodgeThe Trent Lodge Enterprise Centre provides a backdrop of professional hot-desk and meeting space, enabling you to develop your business from the outset.  Desks and a meeting space, as well as a trading address for your business. 

You can also take advantage of the expert meetings and workshops which take place here.

Case studies

Muddy Wellies

"An exceptional range of craft beer and cider from the heart of the Cotswolds."

Muddy Wellies is a drinks brand started by the Enterprise Society at the Royal Agricultural University in 2007 with the prime objective of helping others to start their own businesses. The business has continued to grow and is currently run externally under license. 

A percentage of the revenue from every bottle of Muddy Wellies sold is donated to the RAU's Enterprise Programme in order to help create the next generation of budding entrepreneurs. In short, Muddy Wellies helps entrepreneurial students of today "give it some welly!"



Glitta Glo

Glitta Glo is the business created by postgraduate student Maria Perry. The idea came to her when she was desperately searching for a new and exciting pair of sunglasses both to spice up every day outfits and to add a bit of sparkle when going out.

"The entrepreneurship programme at RAU was one of the deciding factors when choosing universities for my Masters. Weekly sessions with the programme takes participants through all stages of enterprise – from generating ideas, to marketing, to legal and financial guidance.

"Attending these sessions both developed my personal skills and provided an opportunity to hear ideas from my peers. The level of support from the Enterprise Team is invaluable. The close-knit community means that one-on-one contact time is readily available, providing both advice and expert contacts, leading to varied networking opportunities.

"Having arrived at the RAU with a retail business, the Enterprise Team supported me through the initial stages necessary to up-scale the business, before equipping me with an external mentor in industry.

"From funding to promotion, there are so many opportunities to benefit from."

The accolades

  • Shortlisted Guardian University Awards 2018 "Enterprise and Employability"
  • Shortlisted Rural Business Award 2018
  • Shortlisted Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship 2017
  • Runner up, The Guardian University Awards 2016 in the Entrepreneurship category
  • Finalist NACUE Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs)
  • Winner Cirencester Business Awards 2016 - Business Innovation of the Year
  • Winner NUS Green Impact Scheme 2016 - in both the Innovation and Community Engagement categories
  • Finalist Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship at the Lloyds Bank National Awards 2016
  • Winner Green Gown Awards - Entrepreneurship and Employability category

Media featured in:

  • BBC Radio Four Farming Today
  • BBC Countryfile
  • BBC Radio Gloucestershire
  • National and local press

Rebecca Oborne and Susanna Crone

The First Steps fund allowed us to launch our own company. This would not have been possible without the support and funding from the Enterprise Programme.

Rebecca Oborne and Susanna Crone, Quinces and Medlars

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