Find out how to access support and develop your entrepreneurial skills.
How can we support you
We can support you from the early stages of developing an idea for a business or social enterprise, all the way through to launching and scaling your venture.
We also provide workshops and services for those who simply want to gain skills that employers look for, like problem-solving, team-work, creative thinking and pitching ideas.
You can book a one-to-one appointment with a member of the Entrepreneurship team to meet online or face-to-face.
In your one-to-one you can:
- discuss ideas, plan next steps and learn how to develop a business
- get specialist advice on everything from funding and finance to marketing and intellectual property protection
- access mentors and experienced founders who can help you grow
- receive coaching and feedback to keep you on target and on point
- learn about other opportunities available through the university network.
Other support available
You can also:
- attend regular workshops and events featuring expert speakers and alumni founders
- sign up to our weekly newsletter to stay updated on what’s coming up and new opportunities
- access the Entrepreneurship Canvas site, which includes recordings from some of workshops, short courses and useful resources
- join Sussex Connect which is a good place to network, find others to collaborate with and seek advice from former students who are working in industry.
Important: If you are an international student you cannot engage in business activity while on a student visa. You can still talk to us for advice about your ideas and options and take part in workshops and events, as well as some competitions. Find out more about what you can do after graduation in the UK.
How to get started as an entrepreneur
To get started as an entrepreneur it might also help if you:
Talk to other entrepreneurs
Learn about the industry from people who are already working in it. They can share their stories about how they developed their start-up ideas and give you tips. You can then work out if you think this is the career for you. Find out how to network.
You can also join Sussex Connect which is a good place to network, or speak to people from our entrepreneurship group, Enactus Sussex.
Develop your idea or product and understand your customer
If you already have an idea, think about how you can develop it, market it, and most importantly sell it. If you don’t have an idea, it’s time to get creative. Remember the best ideas are sometimes the most simple. You might find inspiration by interviewing people (users) and getting an idea of the kind of problems people face in daily life. Once you have identified this, you can try and design a solution. You may then need to get out again and interview users and understand how they would use your product and what price they would pay for it.
Research is essential to find out if your idea has a potential market and to find out about your competitors. It’s important to be objective about your idea, as pursuing the wrong idea can be a costly mistake.
Write a business plan
When you have done your research, you need to set out a business plan. A plan will help you clarify your ideas, your goals and objectives, and should draw on the research you have done into the market and competitors. Also, consider how much it will cost to make your product, how much to advertise it, and employee salaries. You may then need to work out your forecasted profit after you have considered your costs. You can then work out how much money you will need from investors to help get your company off the ground.
You can get more advice on writing business plans from:
You may need funding to make your product, and market it. It might be a good idea to start your company with two or three other people who you trust, such as family and friends. They may also be the most likely to invest in you and your product.
At Sussex, we have several funding initiatives to help you start your business.
Look for office space
You may also want to look for your own work space. To keep costs down you may want to consider working from home at the beginning of your venture.
Build your product and start pitching
Now it’s time to build your product. If you have the skills this might be something you do yourself. If you don’t you might want to recruit people to help you do this. Depending on the product/service you are developing, consider asking friends who have the relevant skills to help you, or offering internship opportunities to students who may want to get some experience on their CVs.
When your first prototype is ready, you may want to get out there and pitch it to companies that may stock it in their stores. When you have your first order you can monitor how the product/service does while continuing to secure more orders.
Important: If you set up a`business you may need to register as self-employed with the Government to pay tax. Find out more about self-assessment tax returns.
How to get experience in entrepreneurship
To get experience it might be worth applying for placements at business firms or working as a volunteer. You might also benefit from work shadowing an entrepreneur.
You may also want to look for internship opportunities at start-up companies so that you can get an idea about how the industry works, and/or join a mentoring scheme.
You could be one of the new graduates or placement year students taken on by the Sussex Innovation Centre each year as part of its Catalyst scheme.
Based on campus, the centre recruits between 10 and 15 people (from any of our schools) to work in its support team. You get to work on a variety of different projects across a range of industries, solving real business problems. The role gives you time to figure out what kind of career you want to pursue. It also gives you valuable business experience if you choose to blaze your own path later on.
Take a look at the Catalyst website and contact the team if you’re interested.