One student admiring self-employed placements student's startup

Take advantage of our student startup support

Gain the skills to build a business while you study

If you're looking to develop your entrepreneurial skills, get startup advice or build a business, we're here to help.

As one of our students or graduates you'll join an enterprising community – Portsmouth was named the UK's most entrepreneurial city in 2020 (Instant Offices).

You'll have access to student startup advice, as well as student enterprise and startup programmes to help you develop your business skills and understanding. And you'll benefit from our business enterprise support, where you'll get advice from established businesses and experienced entrepreneurs.

We're available to help you while you're at uni and for up to 5 years after you graduate, so if you launch your startup during your studies we'll support you both during and after your degree.

What is a startup? 

Startups are companies that are just starting out or in the early stages of operating. Usually run by an individual or a small group of entrepreneurs, startups are great opportunities for students to make an impact on the industry.

Startups have a business, product or service idea that they want to bring to market. Our free startup support will help put you and your business in the best shape to succeed.  

Student startup support

Our Student StartUp team can give you support including:

  • Advice for startups and businesses
  • Regular appointments for 1-to-1 advice
  • Regular 1-to-1 mentoring sessions
  • Startup programmes and workshops
  • Access to established entrepreneurs through the 'Inspire Me' series and more
  • Free incubation and business hot desks
  • Online toolkits and resources
  • Access to competitions, seed funding opportunities and networking events

Self-employed placement year

On many of our courses, you can use your placement year to set up your own business instead of completing a placement year with a company.

As a student on placement you'll have access to our startup support, including enterprise clinics and weekly appointments to discuss your business idea, and access support both in-person or online. 

Your Faculty's placement office can give you advice, support and information on doing a self-employed placement year and what this means for your degree to help you decide. 

Profile image of Vincent Pericard at Pompey Fratton Park

Some universities might just educate you and send you off into the world, but Portsmouth did so much more for me. Its Innovation Space helped me properly launch the idea, even becoming my first client, rolling the app out to over 700 students before referring me to Cardiff University to roll out there as well.

Vincent Pericard, BA (Hons) Business and Enterprise Development

Student enterprise and startup programmes

We offer free business advice for startups through a range of programmes, whether you're a current student or graduate.

These programmes give you enterprise skills, small business support, networking opportunities, and more — no matter what stage of the business journey you're in. 

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Innovation Connect

Innovation Connect offers business support, guidance and shared office space across the city.

We can also introduce you to new and exciting local companies and startups, as well as to business networks such as the Female Entrepreneurs Network.

Discover Innovation Connect


Entrepreneurs Society

Our Entrepreneurs Society is run by students as part of the Students' Union.

The society is a space to network with like-minded students, listen to business owners’ experiences, or even starting a venture of your own. 

Meet the society

Two students working together in CCI TV Studio Gallery.


Enactus Portsmouth is a non-profit student-led organisation, within the University of Portsmouth and part of the wider community of Enactus UK.

We aim to make a difference within the local community and wider society, by setting up social enterprises which tackle issues in and around Portsmouth.

Find out more more

Two students in Eldon hub.

Business Consultancy Projects

Many courses across our Faculty of Business and Law offer our business consultancy project in your final year, where you'll take part in business consultancy projects for local business and charities.

As part of a small team, you'll investigate specific business challenges or opportunities and produce a report that offers practical solutions to the company.

Find out more

Only accessible for use on the Accelerating Women's Enterprise project, to Courtney Elkins, Zoe Dann and Amy Doyle.

Accelerating Women's Enterprise

This project combines research with training and mentoring for female entrepreneurs. You can join if you have a business idea, or if you've already set up your business.

We're working to address the gender gap in entrepreneurship by helping women overcome the barriers they face when starting and growing businesses.

Explore our courses and projects

Business Simulation Suite

Female Entrepreneurs Network

We support current and aspiring female business owners and welcome all women with an interest in enterprise and entrepreneurship. 

We have an active Facebook group to connect local female-led businesses, and run monthly networking events to practice your networking skills as well as guest talks and mini-training sessions. 

Meet the network

Entrepreneurs in Residence Programme (EiR)

Entrepreneurs in Residence Programme (EiR)

We have over 20 experienced business entrepreneurs on our free EiR programme who can help you develop your business idea.

"I have a business idea, but I was not too sure about it. After this meeting, I felt so encouraged and positive about it! I felt so motivated to pursue my business venture. He gave me real life advice and helped me how to approach my ideas."

Rabab El Habchi Mahir meeting EiR Mark Smith

Student startups

Meet some of our student startups.