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Santander supports student and alumni businesses with £25K funding

Newcastle University recently received £25,000 towards its student support and START UP initiatives, courtesy of Santander, through Santander Universities.

Santander Universities works in partnership with more than 80 educational institutions across the UK, providing long-term strategic support including financial donations. In partnership with Newcastle University, this initiative has provided START UP funding, International Mobility scholarships and launched the STEMship Programme to support women in STEM fields.

Now, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Santander Universities has supported with an additional £25,000 to Newcastle University. Part of this donation will go towards the Emergency Student Fund, which provides financial aid to the vulnerable and disadvantaged students who are most affected by the impact of COVID-19, and another part will go to our Careers Service to provide emergency grants to new businesses through the START UP programme.

Primarily funded by alumni, the START UP programme supports businesses started by current students and graduates, with eight specific businesses benefiting from the Santander Universities donation so far. The financial relief is allowing these businesses to remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis, adapt to changes in consumer behaviour where necessary, and in some instances to scale up where demand has increased.

START UP supported social venture Planty is using their grant to scale up after a rise in orders for their pre-prepared, eco-friendly plant-based meals. The company was founded in 2019 by alumni Andrea Cavallo and Ali Sheehan-Dare, in collaboration with talented chef Joe Lovell, and is on track to succeed!

Andrea told us more, explaining how the START UP funding has been used: “The grant has helped us move to a bigger commercial kitchen (5 times bigger than the current one) and will help us to sustain operations and hire more chefs. The move to that bigger commercial facility will allow us to expand our product range and improve our operational efficiency, with more freezer space to anticipate even further.”

“We have found a model that resonates very well with people across the UK and are now ready to take Planty to the next level. We want to build Planty as a brand for change, rallying people to drive action, alongside solidifying Planty’s position in the UK.” 

Likewise, alumnus James Cobbledick is using his donation to sustain his START UP supported business Bind CRM, which creates integrated software to assist small businesses with operations, marketing and customer management.

“I'd like to thank Santander Universities and Newcastle University for the opportunities and support they have given me through the recent grant,” said James. “The grant will go a long way in supporting Bind CRM during the covid-19 pandemic and enable us to achieve market penetration, while continuing to expand the features that we can offer.”

The other businesses START UP has been able to support thanks to the donation, include: The Palette, SG Jewellery Designs, Club House Gyms, Grab the Brand, Newcastle School of Drums and fashion company Lolza. This donation forms a part of a wider set of UK-wide initiatives from Santander Universities UK in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities, said: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK, so we’re pleased that our funding is able to be redirected to where it is most needed at this critical time. Universities are doing some fantastic work to contribute to the UK’s effort to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, so we’re delighted to collaborate with our university partners in a way which increases their response effort and look forward to continuing to work with them on supporting both students and the broader higher education community with further initiatives over the coming months.”

Find out more about our partnership with Santander Universities and the opportunities it provides to our students and graduates.

START UP Planty team
The Planty Team – Ali Sheehan-Dare (left), Joe Lovell (middle) and Andrea Cavallo (right)

published on: 18 June 2020