Image: Wikimedia Image: Wikimedia

A third (30%) of students currently run or plan to run a business whilst still at university, equivalent to 518,372 total students, with these enterprises generating revenues of £913 million per year, according to Santander Universities.

This represents a rise of 38% in comparison to the 375,000 student entrepreneurs recorded in 2015.

The most common reason for students to start a business or joint venture is to pursue a hobby or personal interest (70%). This is followed by financial motivation (58%), and work experience (26%). The most popular type of student venture technology-based solutions (22%) and arts or crafts (18%), followed by clothing and textiles, tutoring and administration services (all at 8%).

The average turnover for those students already in business is £13,213 per annum, collectively equivalent to £913 million annually. This figure is almost double the turnover from the previous year’s research and in line with students’ ambitious plans for growth. Almost half of all student entrepreneurs (46%) expect their turnover to increase by up to 50% over the next five years, with an additional 10% aiming for a 250% increase in turnover.

Matt Hutnell, director of Santander Universities UK, commented: “Student entrepreneurs are an important contributor to the UK economy and it’s great to see an increase of over 30% since last year. It’s also encouraging that many plan to stick with their business as their main career after graduation when their potential to flourish will be vast... Juggling running a business with studying is not an easy task and the prevalence of these businesses demonstrates skill and initiative from UK students.”

Excitingly, these student-started ventures have the prospect of extending well beyond university with over a quarter of students planning to turn their business into a career when they graduate.

Over half (57%) said they would continue the business as a second job or hobby once they finish university and 8% said the business would continue under the guidance of someone else. Just 3% said they would close it down.

Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam, commented: “Starting a business whilst still a student can be a very exciting as well as daunting experience. I would encourage young people to just go for it and to not be afraid of failure. You’ll learn as you go and there is lots of support and information available.”