The Scholarship Hub, is a social enterprise which provides a unique resource to help students find additional funding sources for their studies.
Six years ago, my eldest son was applying for university, but it was only after he had his offers that we started to receive information about scholarships. We had previously been unaware of their existence. When we started to do some research, we found that there were hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of scholarships available and no single centralised location for UK students to find this information.
Corporate Social Responsibility
I come from a marketing background. I had worked previously in the area of corporate social responsibility, so I saw an opportunity not only to help students find additional funding but also to generate new sources of funding from companies. Creating scholarships can be an effective way to get your company/brand in front of students and create good will. They can also be used as a pipeline for graduate recruitment.
Innovative Scheme, Funds4Uni
The website provides detailed information on scholarships, grants, bursaries and additional ways to fund your degree such as degree apprenticeships. I have also created an innovative scheme, Funds4Uni, which allows students to fundraise for their studies by generating donations from retailers, when their family and friends shop online.
It has been a continuous challenge growing the business. Although I have had the advantage of being the only business like it in the UK, this can also be a disadvantage. You have no competitors to learn from and you cannot benefit from their awareness raising activities. It has been a challenge to make people aware of the funding that is available and to establish The Scholarship Hub as a credible, trustworthy resource that universities, schools and careers advisors are willing to share with their students.
It has been really useful to me being a part of the University Incubator. Being able to discuss your challenges with other people has been really helpful, as working on your own can be quite isolating. It is also very difficult to take a completely objective view on what you are doing as it all becomes very personal.
Karen’s Business Tip
To anyone else thinking of starting their own business, I would say don’t try to do it alone. Make sure you have some good advisors around you, who understand your business and who are willing to go on the journey with you. Working in isolation can be very disheartening and often quite unproductive.
The Scholarship Hub