Information for graduate entrepreneurs

If you’ve graduated from any UK university in the last five years and have a business idea you would like to put into action, Launch Space can help you do just that. We’ll give you free desk space and business support for 12 months so you can focus on achieving great things.

Why choose Launch Space?

  • Grow your ideas with the support of like-minded graduates – Launch Space is home to existing graduate-led businesses at various stages on the start-up journey, so you'll be working alongside others who have a common goal of making their vision a success.
  • Develop your ideas – Turn your pre-commercial ideas into successful business enterprises.
  • Dedicate time to your business – Spend 12 months developing your idea, either physically at Launch Space or by being a virtual resident*.
  • Immerse yourself in a caring and supportive environment – Be part of an entrepreneurial community well connected to the wider University, with support on hand when you need it.
  • Access great minds and facilities – Build relationships with academics and make use of our fantastic campus facilities.
  • Help to raise funds – Develop your pitching skills, pitch deck and your go to market strategy.

Am I eligble?

Launch Space is open to anyone who has graduated from a UK (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) university in the last five years and wants to use the space for 12 months to establish a high-tech, innovative business with a focus on undertaking research and development.

We use the date on your graduation certificate to determine your eligibility. This date must be within five years of the date on which your Launch Space residency is due to begin. For example, if you become a resident in June 2020, your graduation certificate will need to carry a date on or after June 2015.

Spaces are allocated to individuals but business partners, and team members, may be able to access Launch Space if workspaces are available.

Support at Launch Space

Physical and virtual* options are available, with access to:

  • innovation support
  • technical support
  • workshops.

* Virtual residents don’t use our dedicated workspaces in the University Enterprise Zone, but have access to the same package as the rest of our residents including innovation and technical support, workshops and events.

Santander Start-Up Ambassador bursaries (SSAs)

The new SSA bursary aims to remove the financial disadvantage to pursuing the entrepreneurial career path.

Three recipients will each receive a £6,000 bursary (payable in six monthly amounts of £1,000) to help kick-start their career as an entrepreneur.

Graduates qualifying for the SSA awards will be selected on the basis that they:

  • have no identifiable means of income to fund their entrepreneurial journey
  • have a business idea deemed worthy of support and with high-growth potential.

The SSAs will:

  • be expected to commit to working full time on their business within Launch Space for a minimum of six months
  • be encouraged to engage with Bristol’s Santander Business team
  • provide students with valuable insight, guidance and support
  • engage widely with the University in its drive to support entrepreneurship.

Further information about using Launch Space

Does my business need to be registered?

To access Launch Space, you need to either register a company (in order to get a company number) or register as a sole trader with HMRC.

We recognise that you may have a business idea without having got to the stage of formally setting up the business itself. We can support you through the process of setting up a business, so please email the Launch Space team at launchspace@uwe.ac.uk.

What are the implications for my intellectual property (IP)?

Launch Space and, by association, the University of the West of England does not take an ownership stake in any companies, and similarly does not have a stake in intellectual property you generate before, during, or after your residency.

What do you mean by Research and Development (R&D)?

Research and development (R&D) is activity aimed at achieving a new advance of some kind (technological, scientific or otherwise) in an industry or within the business itself. It usually draws on existing knowledge – gained from practical experience, previous research, knowledge of competitors or just a great new idea – that is directed at producing new or improved products, technologies, devices, materials, processes, systems or services. Basically, it’s work you undertake to create something completely new, or that is better than what has come before it.

What if I have an idea but not a formal business yet?

We recognise that you may have a business idea without having got to the stage of formally setting up the business itself. We can support you through the process of setting up a business, so for more information please contact the Launch Space team.