Graduate start-ups are major contributors to UK plc

New research has found that almost 14,000 student start-ups and social enterprises generated £821 million in turnover in 2018.

According to the research, the estimated total turnover of the graduate start-ups was more than HelloFresh at £802 million and BooHoo Group at £603 million, highlighting the significant contribution that student entrepreneurs make to the wider UK economy.

Interestingly, four per cent of graduates helped fund their studies by running their own business, earning an average of £253 per month.

The research also indicated that when it comes to the number of businesses set up per university, institutions that have an artistic or more vocational focus take a more active role in equipping graduates with the skills, confidence and support to set-up their own companies.

The Royal College of Art was top of the list, with 251 new businesses or social enterprises started by alumni in 2017-18, followed by the University of the Arts with 240 and Kingston University with 229. These were far higher than the University of Cambridge, which only spawned 11 new concerns the same year and did not even make the top 10.

As one of the report’s authors commented, the challenges faced by any graduate who has started a business over the past few years are significant and those who manage to make the grade should be proud of everything they have achieved.

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