We are based at The Deck in the Innovation Centre on Streatham Campus. The Deck is a collaborative workspace for student entrepreneurs to work on their business ideas or to meet a member of our team for 1-2-1 appointments. The space is also used for weekly startup workshops and classes for modules.
At SETsquared Exeter we help University of Exeter students become successful entrepreneurs through numerous activities and facilitating networking and collaboration opportunities.
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Student Startups Programmes
Whether you have the seed of an idea and don't know where to start, or you have an established business model and are ready to start trading, the Student Startups team are here to support your entrepreneurial ambitions.
Our entry-level Pre-Incubator programme and follow-on Incubator programme run in Terms 1 and 2, and are designed to support you from the business idea stage through to launch, through workshops, peer-to-peer network building, 1:1 advice, and access to early-stage funding.
Outside of our core programmes, we hold regular drop-in sessions, workshops and events, that are open to all in the University community.
Whether you want to launch a new app, start a social enterprise, develop an innovative new product or simply flex those entrepreneurial muscles to see how it feels, the Student Startups team would love for you to get involved.
Please find further details of our programmes below.
The Startup Pre-Incubator Programme is the first stage in building the foundations of an established business idea. Our 8-week programme includes core foundation workshops, inspirational speaker events and masterclasses. There will be demo events introducing you to the wider Exeter ecosystem. You will have the opportunity to pitch for Market Validation funding of up to £500 to test the viability of your idea.
Who can apply?
This programme is open to all students, from all disciplines, and recent graduates (up to 2 years). To join the programme you should be able to:
- Identify why you are interested in exploring an entrepreneurial pathway
- Articulate either a problem that you wish to solve through an entrepreneurial solution or an idea that you want to explore further.
Dates and deadlines:
Pre-Incubator sessions run on Wednesday afternoons 3-4.30pm in-person in Exeter and Penryn.
The Autumn programme runs Wednesday 18th October-Wednesday 8th December. Applications have now closed, please register your interest for our next programme in the Spring term.
The Startup Incubator programme is an intensive programme, designed to take you from validation to launch and to support you in building a viable and sustainable business. Successful applicants should have completed the Startup Pre-Incubator programme and will be able to clearly demonstrate a viable and sustainable business idea. Participants will have access to professional services, skills development masterclasses and 1-1 mentoring from the Startup Team. There will be demo events introducing participants to the wider Exeter ecosystem and the opportunity to pitch for Startup funding of up to £3500 to launch and develop new ventures.
On the Incubator programme, you will benefit from:
- Weekly/Fortnightly Masterclasses, to be held on Microsoft Teams
- Critical Friends Framework enabling peer-to-peer advice & support
- Monthly 1-2-1 with a designated member of the Startup Team (including Entrepreneurs in Residence)
- Demo event at end of the programme to pitch for further funding
Who can apply?
The Startup Incubator is open to all students from all disciplines, and recent graduates (up to 2 years out of university). It’s a competitive process, places are limited and applications will be shortlisted by a panel. To apply to the programme you should be able to:
- Demonstrate participation in the University’s Startup Pre-Incubator programme (see details above) or be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of core entrepreneurial competencies
- Demonstrate commitment and entrepreneurial ambition
- Present a viable business idea/opportunity and be in the process of/have undertaken some initial market research and analysis to demonstrate the viability of your idea/product/service
Dates and deadlines:
Incubator sessions run online on Friday mornings 10-11.30am.
The Autumn programme runs Friday 13th October-Friday 15th December. Applications have now closed, please register your interest for our next programme in the Spring term.
Interested in the Student Startups programmes but don't have a business idea? Introducing Idea Generation Workshops!
Join us to explore practical, creative ways to generate new start-up ideas and to meet other innovators and change-makers.
Our idea generation workshop is designed to help students explore problems and challenges they are passionate about, and devise an entrepreneurial solution to positively impact the world around them.
- Meet the Student Startups team
- Explore our startup co-working space, The Deck
- Develop a new purpose-driven idea or venture
- Become a change-maker!
Our idea generation workshops will be held fortnightly throughout term. Please find Autumn workshop dates below:
Got an early-stage idea and want some advice?
The Student Startups team host weekly drop-in Q&A sessions via Microsoft Teams for students or graduates to pop in and chat with us about their business idea. Anyone can join a drop-in session, regardless of whether you are currently enrolled on a Student Startups programme.
Drop-ins run every Tuesday from 2-3pm. Please contact the Student Startup team to request a link to access the session.
The Student Startup Inspiration Talks are curated to bring together a diverse line-up of entrepreneurs from across different sectors and at different stages in their journey. Each event will centre around a specific theme and we will invite guest speakers to give a brief talk about their startup story and then follow-up with a moderated panel-style discussion around the theme of that talk. There will also be opportunity for you to ask questions and dig deeper into individual stories and it’s a great opportunity to be inspired by a wide range of different founders and ventures.
Who can attend?
Inspiration Talks are open to all in the University of Exeter’s community– students, graduates, staff. You don’t have to be in one of our core programmes to join a talk and it’s a great place to dive in and get a flavour of who we are and what we do.
The Summer Startup Bootcamp is designed to support you in taking the next steps in your entrepreneurial journey.
The Summer Startup Bootcamp is an intensive 3 days, packed with valuable workshops, activities and opportunities for networking and collaboration. We will work with you to further explore and develop your entrepreneurial ideas and equip you with the skills and resources required to go from idea to launch and to build a viable and sustainable new business’. There will be opportunity to work with other like-minded people, to explore topics such as customer discovery and market validation; to discuss the pros and cons of different business models and to develop valuable pitching and presentation skills. You will end the Bootcamp more confident in being able to articulate your start-up idea to others, equipped with new skills and experience and with a clear plan of next steps on your start-up journey.
This Bootcamp is open to all students, from all disciplines and recent graduates of up to 3 years. We welcome all ideas and experience and can’t wait to work with you and help you bring your ventures to life.
Dates and deadlines:
Applications are now closed. To get involved with our next programme, register your interest for the Autumn Pre-Incubator.
Below are details of other opportunities available to you on your Startup journey, through a range of partners we work with.
Applications for the ELEVATE Engineers In Business Competition 2023/2024 are now open!
Have an idea for a new innovation or technology? Or already working on a project which could have positive impact on the world and generate revenue? This competition is designed for you!
Pitch your business idea to our expert panel at the start of March for a share of a £3000 prize, plus the opportunity to pitch at the national Engineers in Business Competition (£11,000 in prizes) in Autumn 2024.
How it works:
- Applicants are accepted into the competition, then work to develop and refine their business ideas.
- They prepare a 6-minute pitch communicating their idea and how they would use funding to take their ideas forward.
- Teams rehearse and refine their pitches and then pitch their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneurial judges.
- Prizes up to £3,000
- Idea development and pitch training included
- Minimum of 1 UoE Engineering or Computing/Computer Science student per team or solo pitch application.
- Idea Development Pitch Training and application Q and A session - Wednesday 7 February 13:00 -14:00 at The Deck, Innovation Centre
- Application Deadline: Apply to join the competition by Midnight, Sunday 11 February 2024
- Mandatory pitch rehearsals 27-29 February 2024
The ELEVATE Competition pitches will take place between the 5th and 7th of March 2024.
Apply here to take part in the Engineers In Business Competition.
If you have any queries regarding the competition, please contact EntrepreneurialEngineers@exeter.ac.uk
Enactus is Exeter University’s Social Enterprise society; just one of a larger network of student societies spread across Universities all over the world.
Enactus create projects that tackle global issues such as poverty, waste or homelessness. Enactus Local and International projects see a problem, use entrepreneurial action to find a solution and improve the lives of the individuals and communities that we work with.
Enactus society use The Deck space on a weekly basis and have launched numerous sustainable business projects including Urban Mushroom Co, Biosmart and Altr.d clothing.
Exeter Entrepreneurs is the University of Exeter's society for people that are business minded with an interest in entrepreneurial skills. Events run by the society give you the opportunity to network with top entrepreneurs and employers and develop a startup idea through skills workshops, mentoring, hackathons and pitch events.
Technology Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 17-21 June 2024
Exeter's international Technology Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (TEB 2024) provides an opportunity for innovators and creative thinkers to experience developing & launching a business.
In 5 days you’ll form a team, develop, launch and pitch your start up to real investors, alongside Exeter’s leading engineers, entrepreneurs and technologists!
Learn from Gigi Wang, UC Berkeley Industry Fellow, the Silicon Valley expert who mentored Uber!
Technology Innovation Bootcamp (TEB 2024) fee for students joining from other Universities: £2,700
Ticket subsidies available for current University of Exeter students - current subsidised price: £85
Once your application has been submitted and approved, you will receive an email directing you to securely pay to reserve your place.
Applications close at midnight on Sunday 28th of April 2024.
Calling all first and second year Engineers!
- Would you like to upgrade your CV for a dream internship or job?
- Do you have an innovative startup idea but don’t know where to start?
- Want to make friends with people from all over the world?
If any of these are in your 2024 bucket list, then have a look at the European Innovation Academy (EIA) programme!
Open to undergraduate students in their first or second year, studying an Engineering discipline degree programme at the University of Exeter (any campus).
An immersive program where you will build the foundation for your own startup in only 15 days; along with 500 students from all over the world in the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal.
You’ll start by creating your own multidisciplinary and multicultural team of students from around the world. If you don’t have an idea on your own, you will be able to interview for a position on a team with an idea you are passionate about. With them, you’ll go through a journey of:
- Developing a product or a service from scratch,
- Understanding your clients’ needs and desires,
- Learning how to create a disruptive business model and
- How to pitch it in front of investors.
Your team will be mentored by successful entrepreneurs and employees from renowned startups and companies, such as Spotify, Amazon, TikTok, Alchemist Accelerator, Google, and 500 Startups. You will work closely with at least 8 area professionals: business, marketing, tech, design, life and pitch coaches, IP lawyers, and investors.
University of Exeter students need to complete this short competition application form detailing why you should be chosen to represent the University of Exeter at this prestigious, international and intensive competition, run in partnership with Google.
Through this competition, the EIA programme fees will be paid for 5 current UoE Engineering students. Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own travel, insurance, (visas if necessary), accommodation and meals.
Any student wishing to attend EIA 2024 and who is not awarded one of the University of Exeter Boyden Engineering funded places at the EIA, is welcome to self-fund and will need to apply/book with the European Innovation Academy (EIA) directly.
- Competition Deadline: midnight Sunday 24 March 2024 – Apply here
- Dates of the European Innovation Academy 2024: 14 July through 2 August 2024
Please email EntrepreneurialEngineers@exeter.ac.uk to learn more.