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Student Startups launch COVID-19 Startup Support Fund

Student Startups launch COVID-19 Startup Support Fund

Thanks to the support of Santander UK and Research England, the Student Startup team at the University of Exeter have recently launched the COVID-19 Startup Support Fund.

We are currently in a time of serious economic crisis and we know that this is an incredibly challenging time for many of our graduate startups. We have therefore launched an initiative called COVID-19 Startup Support Fund, with the generous support of Santander UK and Research England. We are offering Graduate startups the opportunity to apply for a Grant of £2k, to undertake specific projects and initiatives that respond to the current situation. These could include innovating their current business model, developing new products or supporting initiatives to reach out and engage with new audiences.

We are delighted to announce that we have already awarded three Grants to PaddleBoat Theatre CIC, Jubel, Sancho’s and Paddle Logger.

Exeter-based PaddleBoat Theatre CIC was founded 2014 by 4 drama students. They are an award-winning theatre company committed to delivering high-quality inclusive productions and exciting workshops to children and families in Devon and across the South-West. Using their British Sign Language (BSL) skills and 5 years’ experience of working with Exeter Deaf Academy, the team will co-create an inclusive programme of creative activities for deaf children and their parents that will culminate with a professional show in Exeter. Deaf children often feel isolated in a hearing world. During the Covid-19 pandemic, deaf children may feel even more isolated and these accessible activities will inspire and motivate deaf children’s creativity and give children a space to explore challenging themes more openly, allow them to use their ‘voice’ and open up their imagination.

Through our Student Startup programme at the University of Exeter, we provide a safe and supported space in which entrepreneurial students can explore and test their ideas, build a solid foundation of skills and experience and most importantly, try and fail and try again.  We are very proud of our community and the success’ that many of our graduate entrepreneurs and startups have gone on to. In fact, there is currently a 64% survival rate of startups founded by UoE graduates who received support and funding through our programme; well above the national average startup survival rate. We hope that these Grants, along with ongoing access to advice and support, will help ensure that those business’ can weather this storm and continue on their entrepreneurial journey.

For more information about the COVID-19 Startup Support Fund and details on how to apply, please contact Emily Davies (SETsquared Exeter Student Startup Manager).

For the latest news and updates on COVID-19 Startup Support Fund recipients visit

To see an example of PaddleBoat’s work for deaf children, click here and to find out more about the work of the companies mentioned above, visit,,

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