Freelancers Academy

The USW Freelancers Academy takes students through the steps needed to get their business idea off the ground. The USW Freelancers Academy is an annual event that takes place over 1 week.

If you are considering freelancing or have an idea for a new venture, the Freelancers Academy can provide the expert advice you need to get started. During this 5 day programme you will learn the practical aspects of starting a business (including marketing and finance) as well as developing skills such as pitching and networking.

The workshops will be led by business experts and guest entrepreneurs will be sharing their stories and tips for success throughout the week.

Students need to complete a short application form stating why they want to attend. The week will cover all the basics of business plans, marketing, networking and getting yourself out there, the week is designed to help entrepreneurial students and graduates move into the world of self-employment.

Mentoring will be available to all participants and the week will culminate in the chance to pitch for a share of £1,000 cash.

For further information on this year’s academy please visit:

2016’s USW Freelancers Academy saw 23 students working with entrepreneurs and business experts to develop their business ideas and pitch for their share of £1,500.

Taking place in June each year, The Academy takes students through the steps needed to get their business idea off the ground. The week consisted of variety of interactive sessions delivered by business experts, entrepreneurs, business mentors university staff and the University Enterprise Team with the opportunity to pitch for funding on the final day. Topics ranged from marketing to Intellectual Property through to book keeping to effective networking.

The Academy attracted Creative Industry students as well those from sport, psychology and business. David Cooke who is due to graduate from computer animation in June said “The Freelancers Academy has been absolutely amazing. I have developed my skills and learnt what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. I would recommend this week to anyone who is thinking about working for themselves or starting a business”.

Josh Barnett founder of Treatment Clothing and contestant on the current BBC programme ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ was one of the guest speakers at the event. Josh shared his experiences of starting a business and tailored his workshop around using social media on a shoestring.

The final day involved all students pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges where £1500 was split between six business ideas. All students also took advantage of the 1-2-1 mentoring sessions supported Big Ideas Wales.
Guest entrepreneur and Judge Kevin Mansell-Abel said “It was great to be part of the USW Freelancers Academy once again. The Academy is a fantastic opportunity for students to get ahead, combining their academic learning with practical experience and mentoring from those who have been there, found the problems and overcome with solutions”.

Emma Forouzan, Enterprise Manager at the University and organiser of the Academy said “It was great to see our entrepreneurial students and graduates taking full advantage of the wealth of support available to develop the knowledge, skills, contacts and confidence needed to take their ideas from concept to a viable business in just five days”.

The USW Freelancers Academy is part funded by the Welsh Government to support delivery of the Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) for Wales.

For further information on the Enterprise support available to students and staff please contact the Enterprise Team, part of Careers and Employability by emailing

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