Students Staff

Essex Startups

We can help to support you in starting your own business. No matter where you are in your startup journey, we are here to help you with advice, workshops and tips. We have resources for when:

Follow Essex Startups on Facebook and Pinterest to keep up to date with events and get information you need to start your own business.

Essex’s enterprise team offers loads of start-up activities to get you business ready. Find them all on CareerHub. Search ‘Essex Startups’ in events and take your pick. You could be the next big entrepreneur or freelancer or even own your own business and work for yourself. Any questions, drop Essex Startups team a line on

Book an appointment

Our Essex Startups team are currently offering an online only service and will be carrying out all of our appointments via Zoom. To book a 1:1 session or discuss one you have booked, please email us at

Tier 4 students

Please be aware that for the duration of your Tier 4 visa you must ensure you do not breach your working conditions by doing work you are not allowed to do or by exceeding the number of hours you can work in any individual week (Monday to Sunday). Breaching your working conditions is an offence and can lead to prosecution and removal from the UK; it can also effect the University’s Tier 4 sponsor status.

Along with several other types of work, you cannot be self-employed or engage in business activity. Therefore you can learn about setting up a business but must not actually set up a business in the UK whilst you are a Tier 4 migrant. Read the Home Office Tier 4 Policy Guidance for further information about working in the UK including definitions, and our immigration webpages for additional guidance including how to seek further advice.

Mini Bootcamps

Get ready! All our 4-hour Mini Bootcamps are bitesize and fun and you can join as many as you want:

  • Ideas creation and validation – Get real! See if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Start generating ideas and see if they actually work.
  • Modelling and planning – The nitty gritty! Develop what it is that your business stands for and define your ideal customer.
  • Refining – Get out there! Work on your communication skills, understand branding and marketing. Get creative with visionboarding.
  • Business ready – Convey your story, get funding and improve your presentation skills.

All bookable on CareerHub – search for ‘Essex Startups’.

Essex Startups Mini Bootcamps – 4 Mini Bootcamps to help you move forward with your business idea from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Success stories

  • Luke's story


    Tell us a little bit about yourself
    My name's Luke and I live in Royston, Hertfordshire. I completed my BA in Film Studies and English at The University of Essex in 2014 and am currently self-employed.

    What is your business?
    I run a video production business which specialises in providing video content for small businesses and musicians. We mainly produce promotional videos, coverage of events and music videos.

    What made you start your own business?
    In 2013 I was approached by a small-business owner who, for the life of him, couldn't find someone to make a small video for him. On the one hand there were the established video companies who, even for a fairly basic video, were charging upwards of £1000. The other option was making the video himself, which he did try (although with predictable results). So he decided to approach a student with filming experience. And that's where I came in.
    His situation was similar to a lot of small business owners, who did not have an affordable or reliable option when they wanted videos. I saw the opportunity, and I took it!

    In relation to your business - What do you enjoy, what do you find challenging?
    The most enjoyable thing about doing the business is producing the videos themselves. There is so much satisfaction in creating something for you and being good at it (although there are always things to improve!).
    The most challenging aspect of the business is being consistent. Regularly updating social media, thinking of new ways to engage your audience. It sounds pretty simple, but these things will really help in building your audience and help with finding potential clients.

    How did the University help you with starting your own business?
    The University was indispensable with helping me start the business. Christine (the University’s Enterprise Officer) is, without a doubt, the number one reason the business had a chance of getting started. Just having the idea for a business isn't enough, but Christine and the University helped me understand the mechanics of running and building a business.
    I participated in the Big Pitch in 2014, a boot camp/competition giving students a small grant to help them start their business. The process allowed your business plan to be put under intense scrutiny by people who had generated their own successful ventures. This experience was invaluable in that it tested the viability of your business idea and helped predict any future success it may have.

    Why did you sign up to the PG Certificate?
    I signed up to the PG Certificate while my business was still in its infancy and I was not yet busy enough that I couldn't take some time to do the course. I thought that the PG Certificate would allow the business an even better chance of succeeding (and thankfully it did!).

    What are the top things you got out of attending the PG Certificate?
    The main thing I got out of the course was the mind-set. The course empowers you by instilling in you an entrepreneurial mind-set that will not only help you with the business you are creating right now, but helps you look forward to the future and potential future ventures, as well as helping you finding opportunities.
    The other thing I got out of the course was the comradery with the other people on the course, some of whom I'm still in contact with. Since it is such a tight-knit group (there were only 9 of us), it is very easy to build ongoing relationships. This is compounded by the fact that you see them nearly every day for a month. You can bounce ideas off of each other, and help build your businesses together.
    Although I already had a business in the works, some of the group had yet to decide on what idea they would build up into a business. So for them I would say that the top thing they got from the course is having their idea turned into a viable business concept.

    Would you recommend the PG Certificate and why?
    I would recommend the PG Certificate to anyone who is looking to start their business within the near future. The course is not just a theoretical exercise, but looks to actively help in building your unique business idea and help get it off the ground.

    What is your advice to students that want to start their own business?
    My main piece of advice for someone looking to start their own business is knowing your target audience. If you know you target audience well enough, understanding their needs and wants, then you have already done a lot of the work.

Essex Startups Bootcamp

Essex Startups runs an annual 2-day Bootcamp to help you moving your business idea forward. Mentors help you throughout the day to get the most out of it. The Essex Startups Bootcamp is the first step to be then able to attend the Big Pitch event. 

Essex Startups Bootcamp – The biggest competition for start-ups on campus from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Big Pitch

Win investment for your startup

Essex Startups runs an annual competition in which you can win investment for your startup – no matter if it is just an idea or you have already started. Check out this video of the Big Pitch 2015.

Essex Startup Big Pitch Success Stories, 2015 from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Essex Startup networking evening

Essex Startup runs networking evenings at the University for startup students and external businesses to make real connections. Take a look at this video of the first one run in 2015.

Essex Startups Networking Events at the University of Essex from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Enterprise societies at Essex

  • Essex Enactus lets you put your entrepreneurial skills to the test by helping local and international communities. Join one of five Enactus social enterprise projects. Charity, volunteering and enterprise under one roof!

General external resources