Are you a budding entrepreneur? 

Aston Enterprise and the Careers and Placements team have teamed up to offer you the opportunity to set up and run a business for your placement year, in the penultimate year of your undergraduate degree here at Aston. It’s a great opportunity to develop your entrepreneurial skills, and learn what it takes to run a successful business. 

You don’t have to be studying a business degree to do an enterprise placement, you could be studying English literature, chemical engineering, human resources – you name it. All that matters is that you have a great idea for a business, the motivation to run it yourself, and the commitment to make it a success. 

Support

You could be eligible for support from BSEEN, the team that helps Aston students kick-start new ventures in Birmingham. This support includes a five-day intensive boot camp, mentoring, co-working space near campus, a £500 grant, a supportive community of young entrepreneurs, online community, and monthly meet-ups. Even if you don’t qualify for the full BSEEN support, the team will happily provide you with guidance and advice if you need it. For tips on applying for BSEEN, have a look here.

Application process

Applications for 2022/23 are now open! 

Your application will be assessed against three criteria – whether it’s viable, scalable and innovative. You’ll need to show that this is a business that you will be able to launch and begin growing during your placement year, and that you’ll have a valuable learning experience from it.

Once you’ve submitted your application to the Aston Enterprise team, you’ll be required to attend an interview and deliver a 6-minute presentation about your business.

 If successful, you’ll be given the opportunity to start your placement in June or September. To start in June, you will need to have submitted your application by midnight on Sunday 15th May 2022. To begin in September, you will need to have submitted your application by midnight on Sunday 14th August 2022. 

You can submit an application here

FAQs

Can I apply with a business I am already running?

Yes! We will accept applications from students who are already running businesses, as long as they demonstrate how they plan to develop beyond what they are already doing during the placement year. Or, you can be starting a new business from scratch.

Where will I work from?

You will be able to access the BSEEN co-working space, which is located next to Aston University's campus. You can work from home, or wherever else you choose (or a mixture).

Do I have to have reached certain targets/milestones with my business to pass the year?

We will encourage you to set yourself goals in order to progress with your business, but your placement year assessment is not directly linked to the success of your business.

Can I connect with other entrepreneurial students during the year?

Definitely. We run regular networking events as well as a Whatsapp group that will connect you with the other enterprise placement students.

How is the enterprise placement year assessed?

This will vary by College, so you should check this with your Placement Coordinator. As well as formal assessment work (in which you will draw on your entrepreneurial experiences), you will also be expected to submit a short monthly report on the progress of your business.

Do I have to be working on my business full-time?

We understand that it is very difficult to make an income from a new business straightaway, so you might need to have a part-time job alongside this placement year. However, you are expected to be spending a significant amount of time working on your business (21 hours minimum per week).

Business inspiration

Last year we interviewed Lucy Holder, our very own Deputy Head of Placements, for our From Campus to Careers podcast. Some of you may know Lucy already, but if you don’t, you may not know that Lucy also runs her own business selling delicious baked goods. Lucy chats to Abby about her journey from casual baker at university to building her own business and brand through social media. We talk about her favourite bakes, including a hot take on her very own cookie recipe. We also chat about the many challenges she's faced over the years and what she's done to overcome them. If you're interested in learning about running your own business, this is a must-listen!

We’ve seen some great businesses develop from Aston students doing enterprise placements. 

  • Joseph Poxon set up Rugged Nature, a company creating eco-friendly and sensitive-skin-friendly male hair and beard products.
  • George Greenhill set up Protein Package, a company that enables you to pick and mix protein products to be delivered to your door.
  • Lotanna Amazu set up By Lotanna, a black-owned company selling luxury hair and HD lace.
  • Ismail Ali started Titan Media, a company providing equipment to videographers and photographers.

You can meet more of our entrepreneurs here

Get in touch

If you’d like to speak to a Placement Coordinator, you can find the contact details here. If you’d like to speak to someone in the Aston Enterprise team, you can email enterprise@aston.ac.uk