Bright Ideas Den 💡

BID (Bright Ideas Den) is your chance to pitch for up to £1,000 to kick-start your bright idea.

So, if you have an early-stage business or freelance idea you would like to try out whilst you study or have decided to set up a business or go freelance after graduating, BID funding and the friendly expert panel feedback could be just what you need.

BID runs once per term and it’s your chance to introduce yourself, your idea and what you need to get going, whether that is training, equipment, materials or buying in skills.  The funding is available to current University of South Wales students and graduates.

What will I need to do?

BID takes place in November, March and July each year – Register your interest to be kept informed of latest dates.  Then when applications open, (a few weeks prior) complete the short application to be in with a chance of being shortlisted.


If you are successful you will be given a 20 minute time slot – 10 minutes to tell the panel about your idea and 10 minutes for questions. If you are shortlisted you will be given further instruction on the set up for the day, and a series of tips and considerations. 

The panel want to know about you and your idea – you can do that however you want, whether that’s by pulling up a chair - or delivering a short pitch using PowerPoint.  We encourage you to share samples, photos, videos etc that will help explain and bring your idea to life. The best pitches are visual and informative!

  • A member of the USW Enterprise Team
  • Local entrepreneur(s)
  • A business mentor

We encourage all students and graduates who are applying to connect with the USW Enterprise Team so we can answer any questions and help prepare you, your application and pitch.

Rhiannon Pallister.jpg

"This funding is allowing me to take the City & Guilds 2382-18 course which is a requirement to be a qualified spark. 

I am so grateful as I couldn't have afforded the course and training without it. I really appreciate the feedback on my pitch and confidence in me that was shown by the judges."

Rhiannon Pallister, BA Film

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"This funding will allow me to replace my two outdated and inconvenient cameras and lenses for a high-end fit for purpose silent mirrorless camera and a brilliant versatile lens, with room to expand on this system in the future with upgrades and lenses. 

I would like to say thank you to the judges for awarding the Bright Ideas Den fund, and to Jonny from Student Enterprise for helping me with my application and advice for my freelance career." 

- Thomas Geoffroy, BA (Hons) Photography

Kate Davey.jpg

"We applied for this funding for qualifications in HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and Food Safety. This is a massive hurdle for us to overcome and will mean that our business is one step closer towards launching in 2021!

We would both like to thank the Enterprise team for the support during lockdown, including the Freelance Fast Track course, and encouragement to apply for the BID grant." 

Kate Davey, BA Fashion Marketing & Retail Design

Test Trade Fund

Have a BIG or Small idea you would like to explore and test?  For a limited time only, we have test trade funding pots of £250 to help you get going.

• Students undertaking an Enterprise Placement

• Students and graduates who have attended a Student Enterprise 1-2-1 appointment

• Students and graduates who have attended a Summer Start-up Week, Freelance Fast Track or How to Freelance workshop.

• Enactus USW current or past team member

• Marketing costs

• Trading and material costs

• Equipment

• Software/Media costs

How to apply?

Complete the application form here explaining your business idea and how you propose to spend the funding.  

Springboard Start-up Fund

As part of the University of South Wales (USW) Springboard Programme - to support graduate enterprise and employability - Round 3 of funding for our Graduate Startup Fund launches today, as part of our Global Entrepreneurship Week activities.

The Fund has now be expanded to include any graduates from 2019, 2020 and 2021, with the aim of the Fund to support graduate entrepreneurship and to provide financial support for graduates to develop and grow a new business idea.

The maximum award has also changed for this round and has been increased to £5,000 for exceptional applications, with smaller awards likely to be between £1,000 and £3,000.

You have a viable new business idea that is ready to start trading within six months of receiving funding. Alternatively, you are within the first six months of first starting to trade.

Priority will be given to applications from graduate startup companies or freelancers that:

·        Demonstrate evidence of an innovative business idea with a proven market/customers

·        Demonstrate the likelihood of growth in the near future to create jobs

·        Live in Newport or the Gwent Valleys and/or are seeking to be based in the new Startup Stiwdio in our Newport City campus.

·        Clearly demonstrate evidence of financial need for the award

Submission of an Executive Summary Business Plan (maximum of 3 pages), which should be based on the '9 elements of the Business Model Canvas’, but you are free to write this up in any format. (See guidance here)

We would also welcome any supporting evidence, such as a prototype of a product or service e.g. sample of film or video footage or concept designs.

Shortlisted applications will then take part in a pitching competition. This is likely to be a live pitching competition in Cardiff. Applicants need to be able to attend this day if shortlisted.

The judging panel will be chaired by Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise at USW, and will include successful Welsh entrepreneurs and a graduate entrepreneur from USW. 

External Funding Sources

There are a number of ways you can secure funding for your business idea including loans, investors, pitching competitions and crowdfunding.

Business Wales has a comprehensive list of funding options available to those starting a business in Wales including the Development Bank of Wales, the types of funding available and a Finance Locator tool. 

There are also a number of competitions available where £1,000 to £15,000 is up for grabs.

Links below: