What student companies can sell

Many YE student companies find the initial task of settling on an agreed product or service idea as their first big challenge.

To help students with the process of deciding what to sell we’ve put together some There are some tools to help with this process on YE Online in Milestone Three – Generating the Idea.

We recommend that you review these ahead of facilitating the process.

> Common challenges
> Initial questions that can help the process

Customer groups and sales channels

It’s natural for students to be product-led in their early discussions but good business practice tells us that they must consider the who and the how as well as the what, ideally in parallel. Some consideration of customers and sales channels can help to unlock the debate around the core product/service.

The table below shows some common types of customer group and sales channels for YE student companies:

Customer Groups


  • The ‘general public’
  • Fellow students
  • Teaching staff
  • Parents, family and friends
  • Pupils of local or ‘feeder’ primary schools (via their teachers)
  • Members of local clubs and societies (e.g. sports clubs)
  • Patients of local hospitals, care homes
  • Other community or social groups
  • ‘Special needs’ groups
  • Employees of local businesses


Physical channels

  • in school/college via stalls, assemblies, form groups, posters, etc
  • in public, via markets, YE Trade Fairs, other events,
  • via mailshots to parents, friends, family
  • in third party retail premises (from local independents to large chains)

Electronic channels

  • via own website, fulfilled online or offline via cash/cheque and delivery mechanism
  • via own website
  • via third party websites (retailers, auction sites)
  • via social media
  • via intranets (school or local businesses)

When targeting some of these customer groups, ensure that the relevant permissions are sought and the appropriate parties understand the student company’s purpose and goals. For instance, some companies target a product or service to pupils at their former primary schools and there are various protocols to be followed via the appropriate school management.

Some companies are creative in devising sales opportunities and may get local independent shops to stock their product (perhaps for a small commission) or take advantage of opportunities to trade on the premises of larger local businesses (who may be YE business partners or supporters).

The students are likely to be under the age of 18 so there are strict rules about selling online.  The only approved way for YE Student companies to sell online and to be covered by Young Enterprise’s £10m insurance is through YE Market Place.

YE student companies are not permitted to use alternative electronic payment such as PayPal, CashFlows or a card machine. YE student companies are not permitted to use any other online sales platforms including eBay or Amazon that require individuals to be aged over 18 to register.

If an individual over the age of 18 sets up an alternative sales platform or payment provision on behalf of the YE Student Company, then this person must be aware they will not be covered by YE insurance and that they are doing so independently from YE and that they accept the obligations that they are undertaking as individuals for any online sales or payment activity undertaken by the YE Student Company. They must be aware that YE will not take responsibility for using alternative payment providers. YE must be advised by the individual over the age of 18 that they are accepting the obligations by emailing info@y-e.org.uk 

If setting up a web-site, customers must be directed to the Student Company profile so that the payment transaction is completed via YE Market Place. 

> Funding the purchase of materials
> Legal considerations
> Advice from previous BA's