Enterprise support

The Final! Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


he UK’s most entrepreneurial students include Oxford Brookes student Iris Umiten and co-founder Memet Edikci from fashion tech start-up, Rent on Trend, who represented the University in the national finals of the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards, held in London recently.

This is the UK’s largest entrepreneurial business pitching competition for students and recent graduates, in which teams compete for capital investments, mentoring and start-up support.

Rent on Trend is an online community that connects individuals to rent and lend designer fashion items from each other, introducing the sharing economy to fashion, reducing consumer expenditure and environmental damage. As winners of the People’s Choice category in the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards regional semi-finals, Rent on Trend pitched at the finals for their chance to win £7,500 seed funding and a fully-funded Santander intern, to launch and market the business. The prize was allocated in a People’s Vote and won by start-up Bet on Me, from the University of Sheffield, who are developing a cutting-edge app aimed at tackling the UK’s gambling problem, using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). 

Rent on Trend co-founder, Iris Umiten, who was widely-recognised as the most fashionable of the night by those who attended, commented, “We received strong positive feedback about our presentation and business at the awards, and so many people were supportive. The opportunity was really encouraging for us to continue on our journey and we had an opportunity to present and practice pitching in front of a large audience, which was something new. This really helps build confidence.”

The awards finalists were all supported by Santander in the run-up to the finals. This took the form of an intensive, week long accelerator programme, a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers. The programme was designed to help the finalists refine those areas of their business in need of more development and progress on areas fit for expansion.

Brookes Enterprise Support Manager, Lydiah Igweh, was delighted with the achievements of Rent on Trend, “The Santander Entrepreneurship Awards honour exemplary entrepreneurs who have the mettle, passion and zeal to pursue their dreams! It’s the premier platform for the best of the best in terms of University start-ups and we were delighted that Rent on Trend did us proud at the finals – and we are so excited for their journey ahead!”

The next step for Rent on Trend is to launch the platform to selected users and test users in the next few weeks, before launching their marketing campaign across Oxford and London as well as online. You can visit and sign up to be given early access on www.rentontrend.co.uk

Since the awards were launched in 2011, Santander Universities has awarded more than £420,000 in support of budding student entrepreneurs, and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the UK. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship across its 86 UK university partners. In total, businesses supported by the awards since 2011 which have grown successfully have generated revenues in excess of £7million.

Research conducted by Santander Universities found that 26% of students currently run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university. Amongst those up and coming student entrepreneurs who have already launched a business, the average turnover is £11,408 per annum, equivalent to a collective £1bn.