Aston awarded £50,000 to inspire student enterprise

student entrepreneurs

13 June 2018

  • Aston University awarded grant to fund activities including Hackathon and accelerator programme
  • Aim is to inspire more student entrepreneurs and support students in developing business skills

Aston University has been awarded a grant of £50,000 as part of the Santander Universities Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund.

The university will use the money to achieve three key objectives: inspire potential entrepreneurs to delve into the world of entrepreneurship; create practical challenge-based events enabling students to engage with real-world issues; and provide a platform to upskill the next generation workforce with skills and confidence to enter an ever-changing workplace.

The university is one of 15 institutions across the UK to receive a grant from the fund, which was launched to celebrate Santander Universities’ 10th anniversary in the UK.

To deliver this programme Aston University will be partnering with Edvent, an education start-up it has worked closely with previously. The first element in the project will be an immersive 50-person Hackathon focused on one of the key challenges facing the region as identified in the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Urban Challenge.

Hackathons are one of the most effective tools to engage students from a range of disciplines, to develop real-world skills, work on a live case study and create a tangible product or service.

This will be followed by a six-week mini-accelerator, run for two cohorts, totalling 60 students, who want to explore running their own start-up. This programme is designed for budding entrepreneurs who will create cross-disciplinary teams with like-minded people and learn from industry leaders and entrepreneurs.

Santander Universities Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Fund is a £1 million fund designed to support universities in delivering large-scale projects benefiting over 5,000 people directly and driving economic benefits across the UK.

The key objectives of the fund include helping to start, run or grow a business, developing and promoting entrepreneurial skills, culture and mindsets, championing innovation within businesses and delivering economic, social or employment benefits to both local and national economies.

Matt Hutnell, Director at Santander Universities UK, said: “We are delighted to award this grant to Aston University, which will support such a variety of activities to encourage entrepreneurship and potentially create the new business leaders of the future.”

Professor Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor at Aston University, said: “At Aston University, we are proud to support entrepreneurs including enterprise teaching modules together with extra-curricular initiatives such as our student and graduate business start-up projects and support societies. The project will align with this existing activity and strengthen it by providing new quality opportunities to students at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. We are grateful to Santander Universities for its support.”

Santander Universities was first created in Spain in 1996 by Emilio Botín, who recognised that universities play an important role in society. He believed that Santander should support these institutions through the provision of scholarships, mobility awards, entrepreneurship funding and much more.

Santander Universities now has over 1,200 university partners spanning across 20 countries. In 2007, Santander Universities was launched in the UK and now has partnerships with over 80 universities, providing over £10m of funding in 2017 to support university staff and students.

For more information on Santander Universities please visit:


Notes to the editor

Photos (click links to download)

·         Aston University campus pictures

About Santander

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 March 2018, the bank has c19,500 employees.  It serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 986 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,619 million in 2017, an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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