Start-ups and Established Businesses2021-07-20T13:05:48+01:00

Start-ups and established businesses

Once you’ve registered your business, we know your priorities change.

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Business Growth Workshop Series

The Business Growth Series of workshops is aimed at established businesses who want to grow. Led by independent experts, each session looks at a topic our members have told us they’d like to address.

a mentor meeting

1-1 Guidance

Once you’ve started your business, we can offer a further 12 hours of support from our mentors. Although they can’t make decisions for you, they can provide information and point you in the right direction.

Available to current students, staff and recent graduates (up to 3 years after graduation). If you are eligible for the U Start programme, then you can also benefit from our external mentors.

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The Propeller Hub

The Hub comprises of 16 hot desk spaces and 24 dedicated rental desks, and there is also limited availability of additional business units. There is also an open space with a projector for use by Hub members as a meeting space, or by lecturers for class work.

How much it costs depends on whether you hot desk or choose a dedicated rental desk. For a full list of services included, visit the Propeller Hub page.

social media for business workshop in the propeller hub

Bite-sized Briefings

Our bite-sized briefings are shorter workshops that focus on one topic. These topics are chosen by you through our feedback forms, and are likely to change on a regular basis. We do record these sessions and upload them to Flightpath, if you miss one. Suitable for both pre-start and post-start businesses.

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UCLan Talent

UCLan Talent is a platform for students and recent graduates (2 years) to showcase their portfolio and find work as freelancers. As a business, you can also use the platform to commission someone for a job.

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Propeller Enterpise Award

The Propeller Enterprise Award gives winning applicants up to £1,000 to help get their businesses going. Run twice a year, it is open to current students and recent graduates (1 year after graduation).

The Propeller Enterprise Award is not currently open.

Established businesses can also make use of a host of different projects and programmes throughout UCLan.

To keep up to date with all the latest opportunities, join the Centre for SME Development.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to start a business?2021-06-23T14:24:59+01:00

We understand it can be useful to have a guideline for how long it takes to start a business, but it varies from person to person. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

In the past 5 years, we’ve seen a trend in Propeller members, meaning that each year they are taking less time to start a business. Whereas this was once 4 years, the typical member registered now (2020-21) we would expect 50% to work on their business for 12-18 months. Of course, there are those that will take less time, and those that will take more.

Some things that might effect your own timeline are understanding of the sector you’re moving into, length of time for paperwork to be processed, qualifications or assessments needed, time needed to bridge any skills gaps, and other lifestyle commitments.

What’s the difference between freelancing, owning a business and self-employment?2021-06-17T11:48:20+01:00

What’s the difference between freelancing, owning a business and self-employment?

Self-employment means working for yourself, rather than being employed by a company or other person. If you’re self-employed, you have to submit your own tax returns and don’t automatically receive benefits such as sick pay or maternity pay. Owning a business and freelancing are both types of self-employment.


If you work ad-hoc for other people or companies then you are probably a freelancer. For instance, if an accountant needs a website but does not need to employ a permanent web-designer, then they may choose to hire a freelancer for a set project. As a freelancer, you will typically be known as a ‘sole-trader’. Our platform Flightpath is designed for freelancers, so if this option is for you, give it a go.

Owning a Business

Owning a business is different, as it typically involves hiring other people or working with co-owners. You could set up a LTD company, incorporation, community interest group or be a sole-trader. For more information about different business types, it’s best to attend our workshop Structuring Your Business. You can also ask a mentor.

What is the difference between Propeller and the Careers service?2020-09-28T09:36:42+01:00

What is the difference between Propeller and the Careers service?

The UCLan Careers service offers advice and support surrounding employability and career paths. On CareersEDGE, they have many resources to understand your skill set, as well as advertising job opportunities with businesses. They also help UCLan students and graduates to write CV’s, prepare for interview, understand industries, and much more.

Typically, if you need self-employment support, that is when you come to Propeller.  We can help you draw up a business plan, start freelancing, set up a business, work on finance and practice pitching.

For more information about what we offer, come to a drop-in session. See our ‘What’s On‘ page for details.

Do I have to pay anything?2020-07-20T11:32:49+01:00

Do I have to pay anything?

Propeller offers free business support to students and alumni of UCLan. This includes all of our workshops, 1-1 mentor advice, networking events and online professional development.

Renting a desk or hot-desking from the Propeller Hub can incur a charge; however, hot-desking is free for current students.

We are able to offer our services for free as part of UCLan and also because we receive partial funding from the ERDF U Start Programme.

How can you help me if I already work for myself?2020-09-28T09:38:16+01:00

How can you help me if I already work for myself?

Our mentors can offer you 1-1 advice to help you grow your business, as well as help with tax returns. We also have external mentors that can help you in specialised areas. If you are weak in some skill areas, our workshops can help you level up, too. We can also offer you a place to work from in the Propeller Hub, secure work through UCLan Talent and connect you with other business support.

Can I use the Propeller Hub?2020-09-28T10:00:34+01:00

Can I use the Propeller Hub?

The Propeller Hub is usually open to students, alumni and external businesses for a charge.

Some businesses have returned post-lockdown, but we are still operating at a limited capacity. To find out about rates, send us an email and we can give you a bit more information.

Why should I choose Propeller?2020-07-20T11:24:08+01:00

Why should I choose Propeller?

We act as a single point of access to a range of business support, specialist facilities and networks at UCLan. Contact us today if you would like further info on

Is any funding available?2020-09-28T09:55:43+01:00

Is any funding available?

We usually run the Propeller Enterprise Award twice a year for current students and recent graduates (graduated in the last 12 months). This gives each winning project up to £1,000 to work on their start-up.

Throughout the year we also keep you up-to-date with external funding opportunities and can help you apply for these.

Our business mentors can also help you identify appropriate sources of funding, too. Contact us today if you would like to find out about funding

How do I register?2020-09-28T09:53:04+01:00

How do I register?

You can book onto workshops online, or request a 1-1 through email. The first time we see you, we’ll give you a form to fill in.

Who is eligible to use the service?2020-07-20T11:22:47+01:00

Who is eligible to use the service?

We primarily serve students, staff members and alumni of UCLan. If you are a business, you can still access our support if you’re a member of the Centre for SME Development. If you are uncertain if this applies to you, please contact us.

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