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16 August 2021

King's Entrepreneurship Institute launches £300k project with Santander to provide entrepreneurial skills training for low income students

The Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London, in partnership with Santander Universities UK, is launching a new £300k project to support students from low-income backgrounds with entrepreneurial skills development, as well as their propensity to positively impact the world.

Entrepreneurial students

The Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London has partnered with Santander Universities UK to launch an ambitious new programme to support students from low-income backgrounds to enhance their employability and broaden their career ambitions through entrepreneurship.

King’s has delivered some ground-breaking work to widen participation in higher education, specifically relating to student from lower income backgrounds and I want to ensure that this journey and subsequent progress is reflected in my work at King’s. There are undeniable barriers to entrepreneurship that students from higher income households don’t suffer – If you have to work two jobs to pay your way through university, how can you hope to find time to opt into extracurricular opportunities such as developinglearn entrepreneurial skills; How do you call in a favour, seek new knowledge or ask a question if you don’t have the social capital of an an extended family network to ask; How do you take risks when certainty is expected for your future. We are delighted to announce that we will be working on closing this gap and sharing learning so that others can too with Santander Universities UK. Funded by Santander, wWe will be exploring barriers and their removal, support, assets and equitable inclusion for all students, with evidence that our gap has been closed and will remain closed, whilst sharing learning as widely as possible. Our special thanks to the pioneering team at Santander Universities for embarking on this journey together.

ulie Devonshire, Director, Entrepreneurship Institute

This new partnership with Santander will build on the Institute’s previous work identifying and removing barriers for women entrepreneurs, which will now continue as part of the Institute’s regular programming. The work that has been put into the Women Entrepreneurs programme, which launched in 2019, has resulted in sustained gender parity on the King’s20 Accelerator as well a community of over 700 women-identifying entrepreneurs.


Fewer students from low-income backgrounds participate in our programmes – most prominently due to lack of financial, social, and cultural capital – and this is something we want to address urgently. Developing entrepreneurial skills and participating in entrepreneurship programmes whilst at university both enhance a student’s future prospects. These activities allow students to explore their interests, develop new skills and become more entrepreneurial in their mindset

Rachel Stockey, Head of Entrepreneurial Skills

We are proud of what we have achieved in partnership with King’s, in particular with the Entrepreneurship Institute, and their flagship Women Entrepreneurs Programme. We look forward to embarking on this new initiative, and to support even more students to develop entrepreneurial skills in the future.

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities UK

The Institute, a leader in enterprise education in the UK, provides enterprise education and entrepreneurial skills development to all students alongside its dedicated programme for start-ups, the King’s20 Accelerator. Since 2019, the Institute has pioneered its innovative Seven Skills of an Entrepreneurial Mindset as a framework for teaching and evaluating skills. The Skills identified as key traits of successful entrepreneurs that are transferrable and demonstrable for success in any career in any field.

The Institute will work with the university’s in-house What Works team of research and evaluation specialists to use cutting edge data analysis and qualitative research methods to identify and combat issues that students face in accessing and succeeding at university.

The first year of the project will be dedicated to researching the barriers facing disadvantaged groups accessing and participating in entrepreneurial skills development. The research will also consider this problem from the opposite perspective and seek to understand the different components of privilege and how they contribute to co-curricular engagement, entrepreneurship and employability. Based on this research, the Institute will then design a suite of initiatives, programmes and changes to existing programming that directly address the challenges identified.

By the end of the three-year project, the Institute aims to have:

  • increased the proportion of low-income students taking part in their programmes, to reflect the population of low-income students studying at the university overall
  • Demonstrate skill development in relation to The Seven Skills of an Entrepreneurial Mindset, demonstrating enhanced employability.
  • Evidence case studies of how barriers have been removed, from confidence gaps to sub-optimal networks and financial constraints.

The project will commence in August 2021.

In this story

Julie Devonshire

Director, Entrepreneurship Institute

Rachel Stockey

Head of Entrepreneurial Skills