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“As twin sisters, we’ve been drawing on the same large sheet of paper ever since we could pick up a pencil,” says Abigail Baldwin. “It made sense that we would study design together and work together.”

They did. After studying Fine Art and Graphic Communication at Scarborough Sixth Form College, Abigail and sister Chloe enrolled together at Leeds where both gained a degree in Graphic & Communication Design. At the same time as studying, the twins were also funded by a donor to pursue their dreams of establishing a business, supported by the University’s business support service SPARK.

Now their Leeds-based design company Buttercrumble is creating fashionable clothing and fabrics influenced by mid-century design, folk art, Scandinavia, stories and everyday life. “Our ethos is to make people smile through the use of fun and exciting visuals and, through doing this, it makes us smile too,” says Abigail.

The girls acknowledge the role that SPARK played in establishing their business  and developing their confidence: “This scholarship has helped us to build vital skills that will help us in all areas of life. We have had amazing experiences this year through the Enterprise scheme and learnt so much.” In a personal message to their donor, they add: “We cannot thank you enough for your generosity and for all the opportunities you have created for us.”

(Picture courtesy Yorkshire Post Newspapers)

Here, medical student Jenna Weets talks about the support she has received in establishing her design business Minimalist Me.

With the help of people like you, SPARK offers a range of opportunities to inspire students like Chloe and Abigail to think entrepreneurially and develop their business ideas. This support enabled us to establish the Undergraduate Enterprise Scholarship, the first of its kind in the UK.  We also now offer scholarships for undergraduate students to take a year out from their studies to develop their business idea. Our scholarships provide students with a tailored package of support to give their business the very best chance of success, including:

  • One-to-one business advice;
  • Guidance from financial, legal, sales and sector experts;
  • Proof-of-concept funding;
  • A place at an intensive two-day Business Bootcamp where experts help get their ideas into shape;
  • Networking opportunities and support for collaborations between separate student enterprises.

Your support could give a student the chance to develop their business idea, creating employment and prosperity for themselves and for others. Without it, their great idea might never get off the ground.

In September 2014, Harrogate-based technology group InTechnology supported the launch of a new enterprise incubator at the University, giving practical support and financial assistance to current students and recent graduates wishing to set up their own business. Three years on, the incubator has given office space and specialist support to well over 100 student businesses.

This Yorkshire Evening Post story tells how former Enterprise Scholar George Biddle’s app is bridging the gap between employers and graduating scholars.

The Enterprising University


Elliott Herrod-Taylor

Chris Wilson

Harriett Howe

Olabusayo Longe

"Leeds is full of young enthusiastic people."

While studying at Leeds, Olga Kubassova (PhD Computing) began work on commercialising her research and was the first winner of the Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award. Ten years on her Westminster-based business Image Analysis is providing high-quality imaging services for clinical trials around the world. In this video, Olga talks about the encouragement she received in establishing the business.

Supporting Enterprise on Campus

Student entrepreneurs are joined by members of staff to explain the support which is offered to business at the University of Leeds

Greg Preece

SPARK Scholar Greg Preece talks about his business idea - and why he returned to higher education some years after graduation.

'It lets me put something back in.'

Tom Allchurch (Mining Engineering 1985) talks about the financial and practical support he is bringing to a business run by Joe Collier (PhD Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 2017)

Nick Simm

(Management and Marketing 2013)

Nick talks about his experiences winning an enterprise scholarship at Leeds – and the benefits this brought to developing his business idea:

Sophie Tregellis

(Philosophy 2013)

Sophie talks about how she turned her hobby of making natural dog treats, into her thriving Top Collar business - with the support of Leeds alumni and SPARK

More stories of our enterprising students

2017 Business Bootcamp

Emma Sheldon

Nick Howard
Limehouse Films

James Wilkinson
One Event Services

How you can help

Your gift could be the vital boost which helps a student business to get off the ground. And because the University of Leeds is a charity, UK taxpayers can make their gifts go further. Gift Aid enables the University to reclaim the basic rate of tax on the value of the donation, while donors can reclaim the difference between the basic rate and the higher rate of tax.

Your support will give a bright and motivated student the tools they need to make their business happen, forging for themselves and for others the start of a bright and prosperous future.

If you pay tax at 40%If you pay tax at 45%
Full value of gift£5,000£5,000
You give£4,000£4,000
The University claims Gift Aid (1)£1,000£1,000
You claim tax relief£1,000 (2)£1,250 (3)
Net cost to you£3,000£2,750
  1. Added at the basic rate of tax.
  1. Higher rate relief is the difference between basic rate and higher rate tax.
  1. Additional rate relief is the difference between basic rate and additional rate tax.

For further information on tax-effective giving, click here.


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