Launch of Springboard Startup Fund for #USWClassof2020

Springboard Graduate Internships 2020-21

As part of the University's Springboard Programme*, we are excited to announce that a new graduate startup seed fund has been established. Specifically for Class of 2020 graduates, the aim of this new fund is to support graduate entrepreneurship and to provide funding for graduates to start up a new business idea.


There will be two application rounds – the first in November 2020 and the second in February 2021. A maximum award up to £4,000 will be available for exceptional applications, with smaller awards likely to be between £1,000 and £2,000. The awards will be presented by Professor Julie Lydon, Vice Chancellor.



  1. You have a viable new business idea
  2. You have graduated from the University in 2020. With formal graduation ceremonies not having taken place, graduation in this context relates to having been awarded your qualification in 2020 at any time
  3. You are either at pre-startup stage or within the first 6 months of trading
  4. Completed at least one of the following enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes:

  • USW Entrepreneurship Summer School
  • All Wales Summer Startup Week
  • USW Freelancer Fast Track or Freelance Academy
  • Other eligible programmes undertaken with Big Ideas Wales, Prince’s Trust, Business Wales, or an equivalent business or startup programme

Assessment Criteria

Priority will be given to applications from graduate startup companies or freelancers that:
  • Demonstrate evidence of an innovative business idea with a proven market/customers
  • Demonstrate the likelihood of growth in the near future to create jobs
  • Are based in the Cardiff Capital Region 
  • Clearly demonstrate evidence of financial need for the award 

Application procedure

Application is online with the submission of an Executive Summary Business Plan (maximum of 3 pages), which should be based on the nine elements of the 'Business Model Canvas', but you are free to write this up in any format. (Guidance is available here)  

We would also welcome any supporting evidence such as a prototype of a product or service e.g. sample of film or video footage or concept designs. 

Shortlisted applications will then take part in a pitching competition during Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-20 Nov 2020). 

Deadline for submission of applications is 1pm on Friday Nov 6 2020.

The judging panel will be chaired by Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise, and will include successful Welsh entrepreneurs and a graduate entrepreneur from USW. 

Prof Jones-Evans said, “We know that despite these difficult times, an increasing number of USW graduates will be thinking of taking the plunge and starting their own business. Whilst we are already supporting graduate businesses through a range of programmes and our dedicated incubator at the Startup Stiwdio, this new fund will help provide some of the seed funding that our graduates will need to move from a business idea into creating a new venture”.


Support and guidance

If you need support or guidance in submitting an application,  please email [email protected]. Shortlisted applications will be supported in developing their pitches through our dedicated online pitching resources.

Ready to proceed?

Apply online today. Please note that the deadline for the first round is submission of applications by 1pm on Friday Nov 6 2020.

Good luck!

*What is the USW 2030: Springboard Programme?

Specifically for Class of 2020 graduates, the Springboard Progamme is an employability initiative devised in direct response to the anticipated and actual challenges experienced by Class of 2020 alumni, as they enter the jobs market during this time of unprecedented change and instability.

An 'umbrella Programme' containing a number of initiates to support positive employability, Class of 2020 graduates can benefit from:

  • Springboard Graduate Internship Scheme, with over £10,000 worth of investment made in each graduate intern. 20 internships available over two cohorts throughout 2020-21. Cohort One interns were welcomed to their new roles on Monday 19 October. Register your interest ahead of Cohort Two vacancies going live.

  • Multiple opportunities and engagements to engage in enterprise education and skills training to support new business start-ups

  • #USWNextSteps campaign to bring together resources and opportunities online for Class of 2020, including assorted careers resources and engagement opportunities

  • 20% alumni discount on postgraduate study. 10% loyalty discount on professional training courses

  • Alumni mentor connectivity (2021)

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