University Programmes



The ultimate opportunity for students in Higher and Further Education to develop their employability skills and prepare for the world of work

  • Age: 17-24 year olds
  • Group size: 2-15 students per company, multiple companies can run from the same education centre
  • Length: Up to one academic year

We believe in learning by doing, which is why our Start-Up programme gives students the opportunity set up and run their own real business for up to 12 months.

Start-Up is the definitive curriculum enrichment programme that supports a wide range of courses from Sports Science to Business or Management Studies. In addition, Start-Up provides an excellent enrichment activity outside the curriculum.

Start-Up has been specifically designed for Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) to enhance educational experience and deepen learning. By participating in the programme students not only understand what skills employers are looking for but they have the opportunity to develop, apply and model these skills in a business environment.

We know that not every student who takes part in the Start-Up programme will want to be an entrepreneur, but in an increasingly competitive job market, where more people than ever before are graduating from university, students increasingly need to find a way of creating their own networks and setting themselves apart from their peers.

The 2014 CBI & Pearson Education and skills survey found that 33% of businesses are not satisfied with the attitudes and skills of school leavers, with skills ranking above formal academic results in terms of recruitment decision factors. Previous Start-Up participants reported that their aspirations increased by 9% and their organisational skills by 8%. There were also significant increases in participants agreeing with the following statement: ‘I know what career I want’ (+14%).

Why take the Start-Up programme?

  • Participants will hone the ability to tell compelling stories to future employers, evidencing their transferable skills
  • Flexible timescale allows the programme to wrap around the curriculum
  • Designed to connect students with progression routes and empower them on their journey towards employment
  • Start-Up companies are mentored by experienced business volunteers providing a vital opportunity for students to network and gain an insight into future careers
  • Opportunities to engage with local businesses and prospective employers through mentoring and workshops
  • Ensures graduates enter the work place job-ready as a result of developing vital employability skills
  • Encourages entrepreneurship – a growing area of opportunity for many recent graduates
  • Opportunity to take part in our competition, with the chance to progress to the National and European Finals

Key features:

  • Sell shares and raise start-up capital and open a business bank account
  • Assign roles and generate an innovative business idea
  • Carry out market research and product development
  • Test their idea in a real sales environment
  • Evaluate their progress and wind up their business
  • Attend local trade fairs where teams sell their products to the public
  • Optional industry workshops are made available to Start-Up companies, which may be delivered in-situ with our industry partners or at the education centre
  • A range of printed and online resources
  • Access to a dedicated website called YE Online where students can obtain resources, guidance and manage the business

Supports the college / university curriculum in the following areas:

  • Supports a range of different college and university courses by providing a practical insight into business and careers
  • Contributes to a stable careers programme. It provides inspiration and raises aspirations through encounters with employers and employees
  • Utilises Young Enterprise’s large established network of business volunteers from a range of industries. Our volunteers are trained to work with young people, support the delivery of our programmes and provide inspirational encounters.
  • Provides a real business opportunity in the form of a business start up to explore a range of career opportunities and / or by expanding the student and University / college’s network
  • Develops key employability skills including: communication, confidence, financial capability, organisation, initiative, problem solving, resilience and teamwork

“This is such an enriching experience and I know I will always look back to the knowledge I gained from Young Enterprise in my future endeavours.” 

“It’s given me better commercial awareness and an insight into what sort of roles I want to apply for after university.”