3 min read

Student & Graduate Entrepreneurs Adapt Amid Covid-19 Challenges #StartedAtNCL

Student & Graduate Entrepreneurs Adapt Amid Covid-19 Challenges #StartedAtNCL

by Newcastle University

There are 203 businesses currently trading that have been supported by our START UP offer, a part of our Careers Service

We're continually impressed by stories from our community, who are utilising their entrepreneurial mindset to adapt and innovate in spite of the many challenges brought on by Covid-19.

To think like an entrepreneur is to solve problems creatively, in new and different ways. To be one is to be driven to create an impact and to work hard to make your vision a reality. Here are just some of the ways our young START UP entrepreneurs have stepped up amid the current crisis...

Making a Difference


Masitano (centre) Newcastle University Business School graduate & Spareable founder

The socially enterprising app Spareable, which allows charitable individuals to donate to local food banks remotely, are continuing their fight against food poverty by doing all they can to keep food banks across the UK stocked with the items they need most. Due to Covid-19 disruptions to supply chains, they have introduced vouchers so that donations can be spent even more wisely. Download the Sparable app.

Lukas and Vincent, NovelTea Founders

Lukas and Vincent, Newcastle University alumni & NovelTea co-founders

Alcoholic tea inventors NovelTea are doing their bit by donating £1 to the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 research fund from every bottle of their popular product sold during the pandemic. In the last two weeks of March they raised £600. Purchase a bottle of NovelTea brew.


Ali (left) and Andrea (right), Newcastle University alumni & Planty co-founders

As many traditional food delivery services become overwhelmed, vegan meal social venture Planty has been working overtime to support a surge in demand whilst also offering all NHS workers 40% off, and all other new subscribers 20% off for goodwill. Sign up for Planty meals.

Helping Everyone Stay Home


Not-for-profit The Palette, which usually provides in-person community arts workshops for disadvantaged groups funded by cake sales, has begun delivering art and craft boxes to children (cupcake included) and leading online sessions to help them express themselves whilst staying at home. Keep the kids you know creative with The Palette.

women writes

Sophie, Newcastle University alumna & Women’s Writes founder

New Feminist bookclub Women’s Writes, who support female authors, independent bookstores and feminist issues, have moved their events online and are seeing a growth in participation as many look to keep themselves connected and entertained indoors. Join the Women’s Writes club.

Inspired by Isolation


Siena-based service Si Mangia, was born out of the crisis to help small restaurants deliver made-to-order menus to their local communities with a no-food-waste approach. Their support has brought some luxury to lockdown, assisted job retention and in some cases created new jobs. Over Easter weekend they also partnered with a local supermarket to fund and deliver 850 euros in food vouchers to low income homes. Find out more about Si Mangia. 


Matt (left) and Jordan (right), Newcastle University alumni & Lixir co-founders

The North East’s biggest taxi firm Blueline Taxis* have launched new service Grab, which gives businesses the option to provide essentials, groceries, hot meals and more - including luxury tonic waters by START UP supported business Lixir Drinks founded by our accomplished alumni Jordan and Matt - to those who are self-isolating. They’ve also shown their gratitude to key workers by donating £25,000 worth of vouchers and 500 gift boxes to the NHS. Download the Grab app.

*Blueline is not a START UP supported business but it is Finance Director Tom Shanks’ family business, who is a Newcastle University graduate and has received START UP support. 

Encouraging Entrepreneurship


Our START UP offer is open to all Newcastle University students and graduates of up to 3 years. It provides one-to-one coaching, training, events, peer-support, equity-free funding and more to anyone in pursuit of a self-employed career or new business, whatever stage they are at. Find out more about START UP.

Join our START UP community online at START UP Connect on Wed 29 April via Zoom, an informal, student-led networking and Q&A space with guest speakers Sophie of Women’s Writes, Tom of Blueline/Grab and a START UP/TEDCO Business Adviser who supports many businesses across the region.

Follow START UP on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to find out more & register for our START UP Connect event.

Learn more about how our community has been coming together to combat Covid-19 or how our Faculty of Medical Sciences has been joining forces with the NHS.


Read Our Latest Covid-19 Updates