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The Deck

We are based at The Deck in the Innovation Centre on Streatham Campus. The Deck is a collaborative workspace for student entrepreneurs to work on their business ideas or to meet a member of our team for 1-2-1 appointments. The space is also used for weekly startup workshops and classes for With Proficiency in Entrepreneurship modules.

SETsquared Exeter

At SETsquared Exeter we help University of Exeter students become successful entrepreneurs through numerous activities and facilitating networking and collaboration opportunities. 
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Core programmes

The Student Startup Team are here to encourage and support your startup ambitions. The team bring valuable skills and experience to our programmes, which are designed to support you from initial idea formation to launch to long-term growth and sustainability. Please find further details below.

The Startup Pre-Incubator Programme is designed to support you in taking those first steps in your entrepreneurial journey. Our 8-week programme includes core foundation workshops, inspirational speaker events and masterclasses. There will be demo events introducing you to the wider Exeter ecosystem. You will have the opportunity to pitch for Market Validation funding of up to £500 to test the viability of your idea.

Who can apply?

This programme is open to all students, from all disciplines. To join the programme you should be able to:

  • Identify why you are interested in exploring an entrepreneurial pathway
  • Articulate either a problem that you wish to solve through an entrepreneurial solution or an idea that you want to explore further.

Dates and deadlines: 

Our Autumn Pre-Incubator Programme, which runs over 8 weeks, will start in October.

Apply here to the Autumn 2021 Pre-Incubator Programme.

Applications close at midnight on 30th September.

For more information, please contact the Student Startups team.

The Startup Incubator programme is an intensive programme, designed to take you from validation to launch and to support you in building a viable and sustainable business. Successful applicants should have completed the Startup Pre-Incubator programme and will be able to clearly demonstrate a viable and sustainable business idea. Participants will have access to professional services, skills development masterclasses and 1-1 mentoring from the Startup Team. There will be demo events introducing participants to the wider Exeter ecosystem and the opportunity to pitch for Startup funding of up to £3500 to launch and develop new ventures.

On the Incubator programme, you will benefit from:

  • Weekly/Fortnightly Masterclasses, to be held on Microsoft Teams
  • Critical Friends Framework enabling peer-to-peer advice & support
  • Monthly 1-2-1 with a designated member of the Startup Team (including Entrepreneurs in Residence)
  • Demo event at end of the programme to pitch for further funding

Who can apply?

The Startup Incubator is open to all students from all disciplines. It’s a competitive process, places are limited and applications will be shortlisted by a panel. To apply to the programme you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate participation in the University’s Startup Pre-Incubator programme (see details above) or be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of core entrepreneurial competencies
  • Demonstrate commitment and entrepreneurial ambition
  • Present a viable business idea/opportunity and be in the process of/have undertaken some initial market research and analysis to demonstrate the viability of your idea/product/service

Dates and deadlines:

Our next Startup Incubator Programme will start in October.

Apply here to the Autumn 2021 Startup Incubator Programme.

Applications close at midnight on 30th September. 

Got an early-stage idea and want some advice?

The Student Startups team host weekly drop-in Q&A sessions via Microsoft Teams for students or graduates to pop in and chat with us about their business idea. Anyone can join a drop-in session, regardless of whether you are currently enrolled on a Student Startups programme.

Drop-ins run every Tuesday from 2-3pm. Please contact the Student Startup team to request a link to access the session. 

The Student Startup Inspiration Talks are curated to bring together a diverse line-up of entrepreneurs from across different sectors and at different stages in their journey. Each event will centre around a specific theme and we will invite guest speakers to give a brief talk about their startup story and then follow-up with a moderated panel-style discussion around the theme of that talk. There will also be opportunity for you to ask questions and dig deeper into individual stories and it’s a great opportunity to be inspired by a wide range of different founders and ventures.

Who can attend?

Inspiration Talks are open to all in the University of Exeter’s community– students, graduates, staff. You don’t have to be in one of our core programmes to join a talk and it’s a great place to dive in and get a flavour of who we are and what we do.

You can sign up to our upcoming events below:


Additional opportunities

Below are details of other opportunities available to you on your Startup journey, through a range of partners we work with.

Hosted by Student Startups and SETsquared Exeter, Demo Lounge gives students and small regional businesses the opportunity to pitch an early stage business idea to receive feedback from a friendly panel of regional business experts. Demo Lounge business idea presentations highlight IP driven, collaborative and scalable ideas and are a pitch for advice, contacts and collaborators.

Who can apply?

Students and graduates with IP driven, scalable business ideas

Dates and deadlines: 

Like our Facebook and/or LinkedIn page to be the first to know about the next Demo Lounge event.

Contact: Frances Tanner

Enactus is Exeter University’s Social Enterprise society; just one of a larger network of student societies spread across Universities all over the world.

Enactus create projects that tackle global issues such as poverty, waste or homelessness. Enactus Local and International projects see a problem, use entrepreneurial action to find a solution and improve the lives of the individuals and communities that we work with.

Enactus society use The Deck space on a weekly basis and have launched numerous sustainable business projects including Urban Mushroom Co, Biosmart and Altr.d clothing.

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Exeter Entrepreneurs is the University of Exeter's society for people that are business minded with an interest in entrepreneurial skills. Events run by the society give you the opportunity to network with top entrepreneurs and employers and develop a startup idea through skills workshops, mentoring, hackathons and pitch events.

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Your participation in Student Startups makes you well suited to apply to take part in the University’s new Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway (IKEEP) programme.

IKEEP is a free ‘intrapreneurial’ (entrepreneurship within an organisation) training programme delivered online that focuses on intrapreneurial skills such as business model development, creative problem solving and team working. 

Upon completion of the innovation training students will receive a digital badge and will have the option to be considered for a fully-funded short project placement (commitment of 70 hours, over 4 weeks) working remotely, for a regional business.

 Why apply to take part in IKEEP?

  • Receive 8-10 hours of free intrapreneurial training, delivered by the SETSquared team, the Global #1 Business Incubator
  • Test and expand your skillset, expanding your graduate opportunities and employability
  • Stipend of £450 per student that completes a project placement
  • Work for a real organisation on a real project brief as part of an interdisciplinary group of 3 students

If you would like to find out more about this opportunity, please contact the IKEEP team.


Natwest have teamed up with Crowdfunder to create a programme for female founder, designed to get your ideas off the ground and help start your business. Back Her Business lets you showcase your business ideas and gives everyone the chance to back women-led businesses through crowdfunded donations. Back Her Business also supports you with coaching, mentoring and collaboration to help you succeed.

Who can apply?

Project owner must identify as a female and must live in the UK. The project must be UK based.

Eligibility Criteria:

Must be either majority (50-100%) owned or controlled by women and/or woman-led (a woman must be responsible for the day-to-day decision making)

Must be a new trading activity i.e. not growing an existing business venture. However, it can be a hobby that has been operating for a period of time but has not yet crossed the annual £1,000 turnover per annum tax threshold at the point of application

If the project is already set up as a registered business or organisation (e.g. limited liability company, charity or social enterprise) then it must not have crossed the annual £1,000 turnover per annum tax threshold at the point of application

Full details and eligibility criteria available here.

Dates and deadlines: