Founderships 2024

We are pleased to announce the return of our annual Founderships programme this year. Back with a bang for 2024, this year’s programme has received generous backing from the University of Surrey’s Forever Surrey Fund, with a tremendous £30,000 award adding to the programme to support students from under-represented groups to access an entrepreneurial opportunity this year.

Research shows that entrepreneurs and businesses from many under-represented groups face barriers in gaining financial support and building their business. We want to challenge these inequalities faced by under-represented founders to create a more inclusive business community on campus and for the future.

Winners will be announced at the Student Enterprise Awards and candidates will be invited to attend the online celebratory event on Thursday 23rd May 2-3pm with all students and staff welcome to join the celebration.

Those whose pitches impressed the judges most will secure a place on the Founderships programme this summer and along with their cash prize will benefit from:

  • A dedicated mentor from one of the 20 business experts in our Student Enterprise network
  • Bespoke programme including workshops on Start Up Finances, Business Law Introduction for Start Ups provided by TWM Solicitors and initial Accountancy advice by Azets.
  • Opportunity to win a funded year of membership to SETsquared Surrey, our business incubator at the Surrey Research Park.

The workshops, which incorporate a theme of diversity and inclusivity are aimed at helping you develop as a business person and entrepreneur.


Q. Who is suitable for a Foundership?

This programme is suited to anyone with a tested business idea who has a clear roadmap to success and are committed to developing their idea this summer. You do not need to be involved in Student Enterprise already, however you will need to engage with us going forward if you are successful and we expect winners to attend the programme sessions and keep us up to date with their progress.

The competition is open to students and recent graduates from all backgrounds, however we are proud to say that over 80% of opportunities are targeted towards those from under-represented groups as defined by the University’s Widening Participation criteria.

All applicants must be committed to attending the programme sessions throughout the summer months as part of having been funded by us to work on their business.

Q. If I win, what can I spend the money on?

The Foundership is a prize awarded to enable you to focus on your business development instead of needing to secure full-time work. It is like undertaking an internship, for yourself. You do not need to purchase services, kit or supplies with the money as the award is to cover your living costs. Students/recent graduates are expected not to work a full-time job alongside their Foundership. You do not need to stipulate your “spend” in your application, rather the value that you can add to the business during the period of the Founderships.

Q. How can I apply?

– Submit your initial application below by 11pm on Wednesday 15th May. Details in the link below, but a video application is required.
– Winners will be announced at our Student Enterprise Awards 2-3pm on Thursday 23rd May online – please pencil this in your calendar now as all will be expected to attend!

If you have any questions please email Student Enterprise Manager Kate Bray