BUDDING entrepreneurs could get their hands on cash to get their business off the ground as part of a banking giant’s scheme.

Santander Universities gives students and graduates from the University of Brighton help to achieve their dreams.

The bank signed a deal with the university 12 years ago to give cash grants.

Now bosses at the university say the partnership is set to continue after a deal was agreed to extend it for another three years.

It has seen more than 1,400 youngsters and graduates given funds to kick-start their business ideas.

Santander Universities will continue to hand over £71,000 each year to some of Brighton’s most promising and enterprising people.

It follows more than £1.3 million already given over the past 12 years of the partnership.

Students and graduates who apply could get between £500 and £1,000.

At a difficult time for graduates, the cash boost could be vital in getting a business off the ground.

University of Brighton vice chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Santander Universities, which has provided many students with vital funding to achieve their dreams.

“Whether it’s a business start-up grant or a piece of equipment to enable studies, the funding is invaluable to those who receive it.

“We look forward to working with Santander for at least the next three years.”

Among those who have already benefited are engineering students who took part in Fly Your Thesis, taking their research into space.

Meanwhile product design students have launched businesses, including Tom Meades who has used recycled plastic to create a sustainable digital speaker brand called Gomi.

Previous funding has been put towards awards, prizes, scholarships, entrepreneurship training, business grants, funded internships, international experiences, research and community activities.

Santander Universities has also repurposed some of the funds that could not be used as planned to provide an emergency Covid-19 Student Support Fund.

It added another £25,000 towards business start-up grants for recent Brighton graduates. As a result, 434 students were helped to purchase laptops, data and learning resources, and support for NHS keyworkers since the pandemic began.

The bank said 30 graduate businesses have received funding

These most recent donations have given practical and immediate help where it was most needed.

Aleksandra Teper, one of the recipients of the Covid-19 fund, said: “I would like to express my gratitude for the funding.

“It means that I can afford to buy chemicals and supplies that will allow me to transform my

bathroom into a working darkroom space.

“It also lifts a lot of worry off my shoulders about the continuity of my studies this year.”

Chloe Morel, one of the recipients of the International Experience fund, added: “No words can

describe how grateful I am for this funding.

“This amount of money will help me more than I imagined.

“To afford my international experience, I calculated I needed to have worked 30-plus hours on top of my studying and now I don’t need to work those hours and I’ll be able to use the international experience to develop my skills further.”

Santander Universities director Matt Hutnell said: “We are committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK.

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with the University of Brighton for a further three years to ensure we can work together in providing even more opportunities which will benefit both students and the local community, particularly during this challenging time.”