Enterprise and entrepreneurship skills are increasingly essential, whether you want to develop your own startup, work professionally as a freelancer or develop skills that enable you to lead, stand-out and make a difference in a professional career.
The Creative Enterprise Centre (CEC) delivers a dynamic award-nominated programme of events, workshops, competitions and one-to-one guidance which you can access through the Westminster Student Enterprise Journey.
Westminster Student Enterprise Journey
The Westminster Enterprise Journey application enables all University of Westminster students and recent graduates to access all the wide range of opportunities, services and resources for developing enterprise and entrepreneurship skills, and achieving career goals.
Registering on the Westminster Student Enterprise Journey enables you to identify access, track and manage the precise opportunities, services and support you need to develop your entrepreneurial skills and experience. The application enables you to create your own personalised entrepreneurial workflow, guiding you through the key stages of: identifying your professional interests, exploring opportunities and networks, developing ideas and skills; building experience and accelerating business ideas and careers.
As you progress through the Westminster Enterprise Journey you will have access to the following services and much more.
Skill labs: Workshops and talks
Book your place on our award-nominated programme of workshops and events led by inspiring entrepreneurs, freelancers and industry experts, covering topics such as the Business Model and Lean Canvas, Customer Discovery and Acquisition, Intellectual Property, Pitching, Leadership, Bookkeeping, Investment Readiness and Branding. The events are designed to help you to develop transferable enterprise and employability skills, and gain practical and first-hand insights on what it’s like to run your own business and or work as a freelancer.
CEC Highlights newsletter
Subscribe to the CEC Highlights Newsletter to keep up to date on paid work, enterprise opportunities, skills programmes, events, news and competitions.
One-to-one advice appointments
As you progress through the Enterprise Journey you can book one-to-one appointments with an advisor to get guidance on developing your ideas into a business or a professional freelancing career. You can discuss topics such as getting paid freelance projects, applying for business competitions, and learn how to access further support and opportunities.
Once you have committed to developing an idea or freelance project, you can book to attend a monthly Idea Clinic event – a group session where you can share and talk about your ideas, freelancing or business with peers and advisors for valuable guidance, alternative perspectives and feedback.
Talent agency: Paid freelance work opportunities
Apply for and get matched to paid freelance projects commissioned by industry clients while building your CV and portfolio. Register with CEC’s Freelance Agency on the Enterprise Journey, for weekly bulletins on paid commissions, competitions and freelance opportunities sourced by the CEC and our industry partners.
NB: If you are an international student on a Student Visa, you cannot apply for paid freelance work or projects; UK government laws restrict Student Visa holders from being self-employed or undertaking any self-employed work.
Industry networking events
Westminster Inclusive Enterprise Festival
The Westminster Inclusive Festival is an annual event with talks and panel discussions hosted by inspirational and diverse entrepreneurs and innovators that are driving change or exemplify diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship across all industries and sectors.
Career Futures Festivals (Creative Talent Festival)
The Career Futures Festival is an alternative and immersive careers fair offering students opportunities to interact directly with employers and be inspired by multi-disciplinary industry leaders.
London Venture Crawl
The London Venture Crawl is an annual immersive experience that takes Westminster Students and recent graduates on a 12-hour expedition around London’s pioneering startup, innovation, co-working and maker spaces. You can meet and network with industry innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders and gain industry insights and advice. The day culminates with a pitching competition amongst student entrepreneurs across over thirteen London Universities.
Graduate Venture Accelerator Programme
If you are a recent graduate or are about to graduate and are in the early or mid-stages of developing a business idea, the Graduate Venture Accelerator programme can support you to:
- develop and validate your business model
- define your customer development strategy
- launch and operate
- provide guidance on bootstrapping or as you source initial investment.
GVA is a 12 to 24-month structured and intensive programme of dedicated business support most suitable for graduates who are almost ready to register and start operating their businesses and or progress into committed professional freelancing. The programme also offers free access to a dedicated co-working space and exclusive community of peers, mentors and advisors.
Joining the Graduate Venture Accelerator Programme is a competitive process. Applications for the Programme open once a year in April; to apply you must have progressed to Stage 5 of the Enterprise Journey to ensure that you have a well-researched, viable, scalable and innovative business idea. Applications for the 2020-21 Venture Accelerator Programme open on 1 April 2020.
Start-Up Visa Endorsement (International Students and Graduates)
Although UK government laws prohibit international students or graduates (holding Student visas) to register or operate businesses (and all other self-employment activities) the University of Westminster offers a limited number of Start-Up Visa Endorsements to recent non-European Economic Area graduates.
Applicants for Start-Up Visa Endorsement must apply for and be successfully selected onto the Graduate Venture Accelerator Programme. To apply, you need to:
- be a recent graduate (or be about to graduate) and have completed your studies on an undergraduate or postgraduate course at the University of Westminster
- ensure you meet government Home Office and Visa Eligibility requirements
- to have progressed to Stage 4 of the Westminster Enterprise Journey
- ensure that you have a well-researched, viable, scalable and innovative business idea.
Applications for the Venture Accelerator Programme and Start-Up Visa endorsement open on Wednesday 1 April 2020. For further information on the Start-Up visa endorsement email [email protected]
Competitions and funding opportunities
As you progress through the Enterprise Journey, you will become eligible to access support to apply for relevant competitions organised by the University and our industry partners, such as: NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition, Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Competition and the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition. As well as potentially winning prizes to help progress your start-up or freelance career, competitions are a great opportunity to showcase your ideas and skills, build networks and gain access to further opportunities.
Westminster Big Idea Competition
The Westminster Big Idea Competition is an annual University-wide student and graduate business idea and innovation competition, sponsored by Santander Universities UK, which encourages students and graduates to showcase and develop their entrepreneurial and innovation skills. Winners will receive grants, from a £20,000 prize fund, to develop their businesses and ideas, and or work experience with a small or start-up business through the innovation challenge stream.
Westminster Pop Up
Westminster Pop Up is an annual enterprise experiential learning competition and project to showcase and support the University’s emerging makers, designers, crafters and creators. Successful applicants are offered funding, extensive business support and first-hand experience of organising and hosting a retail Pop Up Shop and showroom in Central London for one to two weeks.
Westminster ON-TRAK Fellowship
The Westminster ON-TRAK fellowship is an annual competition run in partnership with RAK Studios which awards a University graduate or alumni with a viable and operating business, with one year’s free working space at the world re-unowned RAK studios, as well as enrolment into the Venture Accelerator Programme, and £1000 of funding.
To access the resources and opportunities outlines above, register and start your enterprise journey.