Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Self employment

Self employed woman working from home packaging parcels to ship

If you want to set up your own business you'll need an original idea, hard work, determination and expert advice.

The University has a history of enterprising students and alumni developing successful businesses in a variety of sectors. Find out what support is available to you and get started. 

James Doherty-Ingenuity-headshot

The surgeries and seminar series – providing advice from people who have been there and done that – are great and having a base at the Ingenuity Centre has given the business a level of legitimacy that we wouldn’t otherwise have got. But the main benefit isn’t the physical space as much as the people around us that really makes the difference.

James Doherty, BA (Hons) Philosophy, 2017 


What support can I get as a Nottingham student?

Ingenuity lab

The University of Nottingham's Ingenuity Lab, part of the The Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HGI), helps undergraduates and postgraduates learn about enterprise and build their entrepreneurial skills.

If you have an interest in business, whether it’s a commercial venture or a social enterprise, the Ingenuity Lab there to support you to create products and services that are not only fit for purpose, but also offer a different perspective and approach.

Visit the Ingenuity Lab website

Ingenuity 20

For 2020, Ingenuity is looking for bold new ideas that can address four key Challenges: Build Better Communities, Tackle Climate Change, Improve Health and Create Prosperity.

How can I take part?

There are three pathways you can choose to be part of Ingenuity, which are open to students, staff, graduates and researchers of the University of Nottingham:

  • Future Founders: if you want to find an idea and set-up your own impact-driven enterprise
  • Regional Pioneers: if you want to find out more about social innovation

Why take part?

  • Opportunity to set up your own impact-driven business, and help shape the future of your local area
  • Gain insights from some of the UK’s leading charities and think tanks to help you find and develop your idea
  • Work with mentors and changemakers from your local area to get your idea off the ground and start making impact
  • Access a business development skills programme featuring the best of industry and academic knowledge
  • Pitch for your share of over £400,000 of support to make your idea a reality

Visit for more information about Ingenuity East Midlands

Nottingham Advantage Award

If you have an idea that you would like to turn into a business, you may be interested in taking the Student Venture Challenge, an accredited module.

Visit the Nottingham Advantage Award

On our blog


Where can I find support beyond university?


Where can I find support for my social enterprise idea?

Social enterprises are businesses set up to tackle a social and/or environmental need. The profits are then used to further the social and environmental goals of the business. Social enterprises operate across a wide range of industries and sectors.

For more information and support look at the Social Enterprise Coalition website and read their guides on starting a social enterprise.


Organisations offering advice and support


Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679