Whether you want to start a business, change the world or choose who you want to work with as a freelancer, Bell Street Ventures is here to help.
Using different tools and techniques, we will make you think creatively and practically about how best to approach your idea and make it a reality.
We don’t mind if you want to make a million, or make a living – we work with Abertay students and recent graduates to make it happen.
Whilst we're working off-campus, Bell Street Ventures is still available for virtual meetings and calls.
Even though you can't currently walk through the doors in the Old College and have a chat over a coffee, you can still approach us about everything enterprise. We're here to talk over early-stage ideas and provide information about what starting a business or working for yourself could mean for you.
That's what we're here for, so please do book in for a call at a time that suits you best by clicking here.
There are a number of funding opportunities and competitions open to Abertay students and graduates. The main ones are:
Over the last 9 years, Converge has supported some of the best entrepreneurial talent to emerge from Scotland’s Universities and Research Institutes.
From start-ups to spin-outs, Converge winners are represented across a wide range of industries including the life sciences, technology, engineering, renewables, the creative industries and med tech. Some of their ground-breaking innovations include next generation ultrasound sensors, educational robots, wearable medical devices, trailblazing cancer treatments and robotic, grain monitoring probes.There are four, distinct competition categories including:
Converge Challenge: For more established ideas with high commercial potential and scalability
Creative Challenge: For innovative, new projects operating in the creative sector
Impact Challenge: For mission-led businesses looking to deliver a positive social or environmental impact
KickStart Challenge: For early stage, innovative ideas
Find out what competitions are open for entries and more information here.
Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards
Each April, Abertay University nominates an entry from among our student and recent graduates (up to 2 years post-graduation) to win up to £25,000 worth of equity-free seed funding, support from business experts, exclusive access to an acceleration programme and a fully-funded intern from Santander. Speak to BSV for more information on this.
Scottish Institute for Enterprise
The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) creates opportunities for students to be innovative. SIE works nationally to promote and support enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland’s students.
They work closely with local institutions to champion enterprise education and help their students start new innovative businesses and social enterprises. SIE provides free one-to-one advice, enterprise workshops and national competitions.
Find out more about SIE here.
Scottish EDGE is a competition aimed at identifying and supporting Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent.
Funding rounds usually open twice a year, and BSV can support you to develop your application and be inspired by their winners.
Competition cateogires include: Young EDGE, for people aged 18-30 and Wild Card EDGE for pre-trading businesses.
Get further details here.
We have a range of workshops and events specially designed to help you develop your business idea, test your products and services, and take practical steps towards your goal.
We work with individuals and organisations who are well known in the local business community for their exceptional service to start ups and new businesses.
Some examples are:
|Market Development Workshop||Social Stork|
|Digital and Social Media Marketing||Social Stork|
|Rock Your Brand – Part 1||Pixels Ink|
|Rock Your Brand – Part 2||Pixels Ink|
|Intellectual Property 101||C Here - Alan Rae|
|Marketing Foundations||The Story Edge – Kev Anderson|
|Business Storytelling||The Story Edge – Kev Anderson|
|Accounts 101||Ashton McGill|
|Business Model Canvas 101||Ashton McGill|
|EQ for business owners||Claire Standen, Rising Strong|
|Selling Skills||Sandy McCurdy, The Sales Coach|
|Fast Track 5 day programme||CocaCola 5 by 20|
All Bell Street Ventures workshops, sessions and learning opportunities are listed on the Abertay Eventbrite page – click here to see what’s going on http://bellstreetventures.eventbrite.com/
Find us in Old College – through the fancy doors on Bell Street and turn left.
We’ve got a hot-desking space (great if you need to get your head down and get on with writing a business plan or doing a cashflow).
Our collaboration space has furniture that you can move around so it’s easy to work in big or small groups, or on your own if you want a livelier vibe around you.
We have a meeting room which you can book – maybe there are a few of you who need to meet regularly, or you want to speak to a prospective client in a professional setting which reflects well on your business and you as a founder.
And last but not least we have our kitchen – with plenty of seats if you want to take a break, work on your laptop or catch up with the other people starting their businesses with BSV.
And the best bit? Free coffee!
We can help you develop your business and get you started on your (ad)venture.
We really love the Business Model Canvas (BMC) at Bell Street Ventures and think it’s a great tool to start to put down on paper what’s currently circling around your head. This can help to get buy in from others as well as to take feedback from your peers and advisers.
You can download a copy The Business Model Canvas or pick up a big A1 print from Bell Street Ventures. We think the best way to use the BMC is to grab a stack of post its and sharpies and get throwing your ideas down. They can always be taken off or moved around later.
For some more information on the BMC and how to use it, watch the Strategyzer YouTube playlist here.
As always, if you want some help and input whilst populating your BMC then book in a session with our Student Enterprise Officer, Simon Fraser, here.
To help get you started, have a go at answering these simple questions:
When you think you’re ready to create your first attempt of creating a pitch deck (a presentation about your business idea) get some guidance here - https://slidebean.com/blog/startups-pitch-deck-examples and have a go. Don’t worry, it’s just your first draft and you’ll be given advice and feedback on it.
The main person at Bell Street Ventures is Simon Fraser – he’s the Student Enterprise Officer and he LOVES to help people think about their business ideas. He worked with Elevator for more than seven years, helping people from all walks of life to start and grow their companies, and joined Abertay in January 2019.
You might also see Lorna Edwards hanging around. She’s the Head of Business Engagement for Abertay, and has been working on the idea and reality of setting up a support service like BSV for a while. Lorna has worked in and around social enterprise for more than 20 years and has also developed creative entrepreneurs at home and abroad.
BSV is also home to some of Abertay’s Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellows and some of the start up businesses we are supporting. The RSE Enterprise Fellowship is a leading business development and training programme for the Higher Education sector, enabling science and technology researchers to develop into successful and world-class entrepreneurs.
As we develop and grow, we’ll be joined by more home grown startups. And hopefully you!
Fertility Genomics (website coming soon) - Dr Doug Lester and Dr Sean Brown
We have opportunities for bursary funding to help you concentrate on your business ideas, and are often on the lookout for paid interns for BSV or the businesses we support. Look back here regularly for current vacancies and opportunities.
We’ve been able to establish Bell Street Ventures thanks to the generosity of the late Bill Sword, and the Santander Universities network.
Bill Sword set up his first business right on the door step of Bell Street Venture’s’ current home in Old College back in 1949. You can find out more about Bill’s life and legacy here - https://www.abertay.ac.uk/life/alumni-and-supporters/thanks-to-our-donors/william-m-sword-a-lasting-legacy/
Abertay are proud to be part of the Santander Universities network, working together to promote opportunities and support student entrepreneurship. Being part of this network gives Abertay students access to additional resources which they can use to build their skills and make their business more successful. https://www.santander.co.uk/uk/santander-universities