SPEED Plus - Be your own boss

 ‌‌speed plus logo


Have you got a business idea or a hobby that you’d like to turn into a business
but need help and support to get it going?

If the answer is yes, then apply now for our business start-up project
SPEED Plus and be your own boss!


What is SPEED Plus?

SPEED Plus is a 6 month, part-time business start up project which offers Keele students, graduates, alumni and staff, plus other graduates returning to the West Midlands region, the opportunity to develop their idea or hobby into a business.

SPEED Plus is a £4.2m project which is run at Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Staffordshire University, Wolverhampton University, and here at Keele University. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.  The project started in July 2012 and aims to create 600 new businesses in the West Midlands by 2015. 

What does it offer?

If you are offered a place on the prestigious SPEED Plus project, you will receive:

  • 8 Practical business development workshops
  • Up to 10 hours of one-to-one business consultancy sessions with a business expert/specialist
  • The opportunity to bid for up to £1,500 of grant funding (as its a grant you do not pay it back)
  • The opportunity to have a business address on Keele Science & Business Park for up to one year
  • The opportunity to have access to a hot-desk in the Nova Centre incubator on Keele Science & Business Park for 6 months
  • Networking and additional business development and funding opportunities
  • Access to a large network of support and assistance to guide you along the way 

When does it start & finish?

Cohort 4: There will be a 2-day Induction, Tuesday 17th AND Wednesday 18th June 2014.  Then there will be a break until the workshops commence on Wednesday 8 October 2014. You will officially complete the SPEED programme on 31 March 2015.

How much time will I have to commit?

You will be required to attend a 2-day induction event (venue to be confirmed), a 2-day weekend residential (off-campus) plus 8 afternoon workshops, and 2 review meetings (to be arranged).  

Attendance RequiredCohort 4
Induction Day 1 (all day) Tuesday 17 June 2014
Induction Day 2 (all day) Wednesday 18 June 2014
Weekend Residential 4/5 Oct 2014 OR 11/12 Oct 2014
Workshop 1: Branding, PR, Logos and Straplines Wed 08 Oct 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 2: Market Research & Marketing Wed 15 Oct 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 3: Planning, Business Finance & Record Keeping Wed 22 Oct 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 4: Developing a Business Plan Wed 29 Oct 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 5: Legal Contracts Wed 05 Nov 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 6: E-commerce Wed 12 Nov 2014, 2pm-5pm
Workshop 7: Cloud Services for Business Wed 19 Nov 2014, 2pm-5pm  
Workshop 8: Insurance & Networking Wed 26 Nov 2014, 2pm-5pm   


After your final workshop, you only need to attend for your two, 30 minute review meetings. 

What will be expected of me?

In addition to attending the above events, you will be required attend 2 review meetings, draft an Action Plan, submit 2 Progress Reports, and an End of Project Review.  You will be issued with the deadline dates for these during your induction. You will also be required to complete and sign certain documents as directed by the SPEED Plus Project Team.

You are required to register as self employed with HMRC or Incorporate with Companies House on Day 2 of your Induction.  

Failure to attend all workshops, registering your business on time or providing the required documents may result in your funding being reduced or even you being withdrawn from the programme and any funding already spent being paid back.

Who can apply?

The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and so is only available to EU and EEA Citizens and those with Indefinite Leave to Remain in UK status

You should preferably live in the West Midlands and MUST register your business with a West Midlands. Please speak to a member of the Student Enterprise Team if you have an issue with this.

You may apply if you comply with the above and are one of the following:

  • an undergraduate of Keele University
  • a postgraduate student
  • a member of staff
  • an alumnus of Keele University
  • a graduate of another university who are living in the West Midlands
  • someone with a connection to Keele University

Please note: We cannot accept applications from anyone who has already incorporated their company, registered with HMRC or is already trading. 

How do I apply for SPEED Plus?

We are now closed for application to the SPEED Plus project.  


Is there a deadline for applications?

The deadline date has now passed. 

What happens next?

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to present your business idea to a panel of friendly judges on Tuesday 10 June, Wednesday 11 June or Thursday 12 June 2014. Times and venues will be arranged nearer the time. You should indicate your preferred date(s) on your Application Form.  You will be required to bring 2 passport photos with you, with your name clearly printed on the reverse. You may also wish to bring samples or visuals to show to the panel. 

Those who are selected by the judges to participate in SPEED Plus will be notified in writing, confirming the details for the 2-day Induction event.

How do I access the funding?

If you are successful, this will be discussed in detail during induction.  The funding can only be used to pay for goods/services to help you start your business.  You apply before you make any purchase, then, once approval has been given, you buy the goods yourself and after we receive your receipts we reimburse you - usually within 2 weeks of receiving your completed claim.  No expenditure prior to being accepted onto SPEED Plus or without the approval of an Application for Funding Form will be reimbursed.


If you need any further information, please take a look at the official SPEED Plus website or email speedplus@keele.ac.uk 

If you wish to speak to a member of the team about your application, please can you email the team to make an appointment rather than calling into the office, as we are not always available to speak to you there and then.


European Regional Development Fund