Students Staff

Funding opportunities

EIRA Microfunding

EIRA stands for “Enabling Innovation: Research to Application”. EIRA is aiming to support the development of businesses in the East of England.

Artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and digital creative are the key focus for EIRA with the network allowing businesses to access both expertise and specialist facilities.

Our group of EIRA network institutions include: University of Essex, University of Kent, University of East Anglia, University of Suffolk, Norwich University of the Arts, Writtle University College and Harlow College.

The University of Essex is looking for student and graduate businesses to take on this EIRA opportunity.

Do you have a business idea? Are you a current student or a graduate within the last 3 years?

Do you think you have a business idea that could help solve a problem for your consumer, or that adds value to people’s lives?

What you could win
EIRA are helping to support innovative early-stage ventures. This is your chance to receive up to £3,000 of funding for your start-up business or organisation.

What you need to do

The first round

To apply you must complete a pre-qualifying form on Careerhub.

All pre-qualifying submissions will be invited for a short face-to-face meeting with the Essex Startups team to assess your business idea, if successful you will progress to the second round.

The second round

You will need to complete a written application and a 3 minute video.

The written application is to include:

  • Your Business, its aims and objectives
  • What problem are you solving?
  • How much EIRA microfinance funding do you need?
  • What will you use the funding for?
  • What do you expect to happen as a result of the funding?
  • Why is this important for your business?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who else is involved in your work?
  • What other help might you need?
  • How will you grow your business further

You will also need to produce a 3-minute video giving an introduction to your business/idea, and explaining what the funding will allow you to do.

The final round

A face-to-face pitch presentation in front of a review panel, which comprises of different institutions from the EIRA network.


To help support completing your entry we will be holding a workshop in May 2019 - all details TBC.

Eligibility criteria

  • All applicants must be students or alumni who have officially graduated within 3 years of the date of submission from an EIRA institution.
  • Applicants can be individuals or groups.
  • Throughout the process applicants must be legally residing in the UK.
  • Applicants must have the right to work and conduct business activity in the UK at the time the funding is paid and for at least 7 months after the funding has been paid. Tier 4 students are not eligible.
  • All businesses need to be registered with a business bank account by the time of funding pay out.
  • Artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and digital creative will be the main areas of focus in case of large application volumes; however any industries are welcome to apply.
  • Pre-qualifying applications must be submitted by Midnight on Sunday 16th June 2019

If you have any questions regarding your application, please feel free to contact us at