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Transforming Education

Realising the Impact of Entrepreneurial Ambition

The roots of many iconic brands and companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla are known to be humble, with little more than a coffee-stained idea and rudimentary prototypes produced in a spare room or garage. At the University of Exeter, we are committed to supporting our students in these formative stages and nurture their entrepreneurial spirit throughout their education via the SETsquared Student Startup Team.

We see the promise of the next generation on a daily basis and we know that given the proper backing, inspiration and encouragement, this entrepreneurial potential can be realised in a creative and impactful way. We provide support, training and opportunities for funding and collaboration with like-minded peers to help them to shape their own future.

We begin with Inspiration. What better way to motivate our community, than to see the real-world benefits, hurdles and journeys of the entrepreneurs who have gone before them?

Our Student Startup Inspiration Talks are curated around themes and bring students, graduates and staff together to hear from guest speakers from different sectors at varying stages of their respective startup journey. Not only that, our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) are on hand to offer advice, guidance and encouragement.

For those who feel ready to take the bold first steps in their startup journey, we offer the Student Startup Pre-Incubator Programme; 8 weeks of events, workshops and masterclasses.

Open to all students from any degree level or discipline, our entrepreneurs can present their ambitious ideas to be further explored, tested and validated. The 8 weeks conclude with a demo event that challenges the applicant to pitch their idea, with the potential to secure Market Validation funding.

Upon completion of the Pre-Incubator stage, the successful applicants have the opportunity to progress their viable and sustainable business idea through the Student Startup Incubator Programme.

With this intensive programme, we take participants from validation to launch, with access to professional services, skills development masterclasses and one-to-one mentoring from the Startup team. Demo Events provide participants with an introduction to the wider Exeter business ecosystem and a further pitching opportunity for startup funding to propel the idea to reality.

Our business network is made that much stronger by the ongoing relationships with our alumni, many of whom continue to run successful ventures post-graduation.

Recent graduate startups that have come through the programme include;

  • Bazoo (founded by San-Marie Grobler & Thomas Trow) is the world’s first and only carbon-negative toilet paper company; off-setting 200% of the carbon emissions produced in making and shipping their product.
  • Just Surf (founded by Max Harrington) employs an innovative business model to bring a much-needed update to the surf-hire industry.
  • Querty Beer Box (founded by Quinn Leatherbarrow-Stokes & Niki Porsche) enables people to experience local craft beers from small independent breweries around the UK through carefully curated beer box selections.

In the 2020/21 academic year, 300+ students enrolled in the startup programmes offered by the team and over £37,500 of grants were awarded to support the launch of new ventures by students and recent graduates.

The passion that our team have for the work we do will enable our ambition for this programme, and others, to manifest in brilliant, breakthrough ways for years to come.