ESU Archive

Kick Starter Accelerator - Summer School
Are you a student with an innovative idea for a business, enterprise or not-for-profit? Then, the Queen's University Kick Start Accelerator could be for you. The Kick Start Accelerator Programme is a course designed to support all students to grow business ideas and test the viability of turning them into an enterprise.

Applications are now closed.

INVENT challenges inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists and startups with proof-of-concepts and prototypes in science & technology to discover their idea's commercial potential. Compete to win a share of a £33k prize fund, access to a global network and a place on a NI Tech Mission to California.

Applications have now closed.

Get the chance to pitch your business idea at St. James's Palace.

Pitch@Palace offers the chance to get your Tech business idea in front of a global audience of influencers who can catapult it to the next level. Focusing on Human Tech it and will explore the potential impact of technology in our everyday lives.

Mass Challenge UK

This program connects high-impact, early stage startups with mentors, partners and investors.

Plus it provides the most high-impact support during a 4-month accelerator programme in London.

Enterprise Workshops
We run a range of workshops throughout the year to help you develop your enterprise skills whether you are only starting to think about a business idea or you are already up and running. We have something for everyone so check out what's on offer now.


Internship Opportunities - Enterprise SU

Would you like to gain valuable experience and develop your skills and knowledge in marketing, communication and project coordination?

Ever thought about working with us in Student Development?

STEM Awards
Make a difference in the world. The Telegraph UK STEM Awards is a unique opportunity for the UK’s most talented and motivated undergraduates to present their world-changing ideas to industry movers and shakers – and potentially win £25,000 and a bespoke mentoring programme.

Applications are now closed.

Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition
The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition offers early stage technology entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their business idea.

Plus they get to pitch for a place on one of NDRC's investment programmes and win cash prizes of up to €16,000 and other support.

                                     Applications are now closed.

Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards
The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards is an annual business pitching competition for student and graduate entrepreneurs. There's over £90,000 worth of equity free seed funding available, mentoring & support from business experts and exclusive access to an acceleration week. 

Applications are now closed.

Student Summit - Pitch Competition
Attention all Student Start Ups! Fancy winning €3,000?

The Student Summit are hoting a regional student pitch competition and are looking for the next great start up!

Could it be you?

Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Support
The Santander Universities Global Division is committed to supporting entrepreneurs through various awards and initiatives including internships, competitions and collaborative tools.

Help yourself to their online tools and support!

Farset Labs
Farset Labs is a hackerspace that provides a hub of creativity, technological experimentation and entrepreneurship for local professionals, students and interested hobbyists in the heart of Belfast. We facilitate technology initiatives and encourage hands-on learning by maintaining an open workshop and creative space that is available to all.

Catalyst Inc
Catalyst Inc is a not-for-profit organisation that invests the surplus generated from our agile workspace and facilities, providing the underwriting necessary for the community-led development of our entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. Key to their model is the co-location of major technology corporations, world-class research and startups.


Hey there, future Oprahs, Mr Zuckerbergs and Ms Rowlings!

Our business one-to-ones can help you, whether you are just beginning to think about ideas for a shiny, sparkly new business or you have already started up and are trading and making money, take advantage of the expert advice we can give you.

We can help you:

Brainstorm ideas
Whether or not you already have a business idea, we can help. We will work with you to help you to develop an idea or talk through your own, if you already have one in mind.

Learn new skills
We can look at the business skills you have and point you in the direction of different programmes which will teach you new ones, making sure you have all the know-how, experience, and contacts you need down the line.

Source support
We can pinpoint other organisations that can help you with your specific needs. Maybe you want some help researching your preferred industry, competitors or target audience. If you are further along you might want to find out how you can get a prototype of your product created - we’ll tell you where to go. We can also fill you in on all the grants and funding you are eligible for and even help you to make sense of those pesky applications.

Write a knock-out business plan
A business plan sounds a bit scary, but when it comes down to it it’s basically just telling the story of your business. It helps you to organise your thoughts and shows any problems that could pop up. Remember, you'll need it if you want to get finance from a bank or investor. It’s best to tackle it at the very start. Even if your business is already up and running it can help you make it even better! We can make it easy for you – we can give you all the guidance you need to write your business plan to make sure that you cover all the right areas.

Get free office space to hatch that idea
The Hatch is a dedicated space in the Union that you could be lucky enough to use as your own office space for a year… absolutely free of charge. By using the Hatch you will have regular access to:

  • Help, advice, and support on tap from our expert Advisers
  • Office space along with the use of a computer, a meeting area, and kitchen facilities

What’s more is you will be sharing the space with up to five other new start up student businesses, which is great for making contacts, getting advice, and for bouncing ideas off of others who are in the same position as you!

If you have any questions or would like to meet our Enterprise & Development experts, just get in touch - click the button below. We're happy to help!


Here are some links and documents and to help you on your way to starting your own business.

Useful Websites 

  • nibusinessinfo - Explore the range of free guides, resources and links to news and events happening around Northern Ireland. Sign up to their newsletter to receive all the latest advice and support straight to your inbox. You can access their latest information leaflet here
  • Invest NI is here to help you start, support and even invest in your business. Their website has a wealth of information, links to a wide range of different events and competitions happening across Northern Ireland, and they’ve even got a Business Information Centre in their Belfast Office where you can access specific industry-related reports for your business. You can make an appointment by calling 0800 181 4422
  • Entrepreneur Handbook is packed with articles on topics ranging from marketing to finance all perfect for the entrepreneur starting their business or the experienced businessperson who already has a business up and running. Definitely worth a read!

Marketing Resources

  • Create designs for Web or print with Canva
  • Fiverr is the world's largest marketplace for digital services. Get logo design, marketing services, whiteboards and more, starting from only $5.

Networks to Join

Further Sources of Support

Helpful Documents

Click here to download some additional sources of support

If you're still searching for a business idea, try these TED talks included in the playlist Where do Ideas Come From?

Don’t forget to visit the current opportunities section of our website to find out what’s happening and when.

Need more info? We have access to a wide range of very specific business case studies and if you aren’t able to find what you needed here get in touch with us here and we’ll see what we can do!

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Enterprise SU are working alongside key organisations across Belfast to deliver a schedule of free events to encourage new entrepreneurs and inspire existing businesses to grow.

G.E.W runs from 12 - 18 Nov!

Free student membership of the Institute of Directors 

Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen's University is pleased to announce that is now offering up to 100 Free student memberships of the Institute of Directors (IoD). 

Apply by 1 Dec!

Spark! Contest

This year we are inviting entrants to propose ideas on the theme of: “What would you launch?"The next start-up to disrupt the Franco-British low-carbon energy economy. 

Apply by 2 Dec!

Book a 1-2-1 or ask us a question!

Please complete all fields marked with an asterisk *

  A little bit about you  

Wed 20 Feb - ‘Pitching Skills’ workshop to get you ready
Wed 27 Feb - Deliver a 2 minute 'Quick Pitch' to a panel of judges:

  • Ciaran Higgins - Director, Queen’s Students’ Union
  • Grant Edwards - Associate Director, Tughans
  • Claire Harris - The Graduate School, Queen’s University
  • Ryan Murphy - Relationship Director, Santander
  • Helen Keys - Entrepreneur in Residence, Queen's Students' Union

10 shortlisted for Round 2…

Wed 27 Mar - Pitch to the real Dragons:

  • John Mckee - Linkubator
  • David Bradshaw - Invest NI
  • Catherine Martin - CavanaghKelly
  • Denise Murtagh - Dungannon Enterprise Centre
  • Andrew Kirke - Tughans
  • Ian Brankin - Danske Bank

TBC Mar - Winners announced at The SU Awards

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw - Client Executive, Invest NI

David Bradshaw is graduate in Business and Finance. His career started in DuPont UK manufacturing their ‘Lycra’ product. In 1993 David began work in economic development and has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with business start-ups in a variety of sectors. David’s primary areas of expertise include business planning and finance. David is currently employed by Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s Government agency responsible for economic development where his role primarily involves development of entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. 

 John McKee

John McKee - Chief Executive, Linkubator

John McKee is Chief Executive of business consultancy firm Linkubator, which focuses on supporting small businesses in Northern Ireland to establish, develop, grow, and make a mark internationally. He began his career as a sales executive in the medical device industry, a sector where he progressed through sales management, new product development, and export sales development. John is also an acclaimed author, having written 'STAR Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth'.

Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin - Partner, CavanaghKelly

Catherine Martin joined the practice in 2005, promoted to Director of Corporate Finance in 2007 and joined the Partnership in 2016. She has taken a strong lead in developing our Accounts and Audit as well as our Advisory function and has a key role in leading teams on the provision of audit and accounting services to clients ranging from SME’s to large corporations, charities, not-for-profit, professional services firms and high net worth individuals. Within Advisory, she has successfully led teams in providing a range of services including management consultancy, business plans, financing applications and business structure.

Denise Murtagh

Denise Murtagh - Business Development Manager

Denise Murtagh is Business Development Manager at Dungannon Enterprise Centre and its consultancy wing Purple Dot, having previously been Student Development Manager at Queen’s University.  She has been training, coaching, mentoring and delivering workshops to entrepreneurs for almost 15 years. Having ran her own e-commerce business she has first-hand experience of starting a new venture and is committed to supporting new and established business to start up and grow.


Ian Brankin - Danske Bank

Ian is the Senior Manager within Danske Bank’s Corporate Strategy team responsible for shaping the future direction of Northern Ireland’s leading bank. Ian has extensive financial services experience in the retail banking and insurance sectors. His career, spanning c. 20 years, has covered both corporate and consultancy roles across UK, European and Emerging markets, with notable areas of delivery experience including: strategic and financial evaluation of existing businesses & new opportunities; business acquisitions and disposals; establishing B2B partnerships; delivery of new propositions and management of customer remediation. He’s lived in Northern Ireland for the last 8 years with his wife (a Queens Uni. alumni) and two children, and is also a keen triathlete.

Andrew Kirke

Andrew Kirke - Associate Director, Tughans

Andrew is an associate director in the Contracts and Technology team at Tughans, and works with clients across a full range of commercial contract matters, with a particular focus on working with early stage start-ups. Andrew is qualified as a solicitor in NI, England and Wales and the ROI. Andrew joined Tughans in July 2013, having completed his training contract with another leading Belfast firm. After qualifying Andrew worked offshore as a corporate finance lawyer, before returning to Northern Ireland. 

Andrew has been involved in Queen’s Dragons Den for the past 3 years, and also works with local start-up companies providing free mentoring support and legal advice through programmes such as Invest NI’s Propel and Accelerator programmes, Belfast Enterprise Academy and Catalyst Inc’s enterprise programmes.

Tughans is one of Northern Ireland's largest commercial law firms, and provides legal advice to businesses throughout the UK and Ireland, advising on nearly a quarter of deals here last year, and working on 34% of all investments into local companies.


Have you ever wondered where a business idea comes from? Does the idea of starting your own business appeal to you? Then why not come along to GENERATE.

Sign up now!


Do you have a business idea but don’t know where to go with it? Why not come along to SPARK and learn about the wider support network available to help you achieve your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

Sign up now!

Network with the Stars

Come and take part in this fantastic opportunity to ‘network with the stars’. Hear from others who have been there, done that and meet likeminded students who are interested in getting involved in the ‘startup scene’.

Sign up now!

Innovateher Class of 2017-2018

Robyn Wilson
Enterpri‌se Intern

Make it Happen Fund

Are you currently working on a business idea? Apply to the Make it Happen Fund and get up to £500 to launch, grow or expand your business! 

Apply now!

Techstart NI Proof of Concept Grants

Have an innovative idea but need some funding to explore it's viability? You could receive a grant of up to £10k or £25k through Concept Plus towards exploring the viability and commercial potential of an innovation concept. 

Apply by 9 Jan!

enterprise su logo

Judith Maguire
Enterpri‌se SU Manager

Kat Maguire
Enterpri‌se Development Officer

Victoria Coulter
Enterpri‌se Support Officer

You can contact us on:

phone icon 028 9097 1286
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address icon SU, Second Floor