• Thomas Shelbourn

WilkinsonFuture Announces Grant Partnership with Loughborough University

£2,500 grants will be offered to promising Loughborough start-ups to help fund development ahead of formal venture fundraising


WilkinsonFuture and Loughborough University have announced a new partnership which will see fresh funding for graduate start-ups with growth potential.


The Wilkinson Future Grant Program will offer £22,500 worth of funding over the next three years. It will be made up of a series of £2,500 awards for graduate businesses on the University’s Studio programme which demonstrate outstanding commitment and progress.




WilkinsonFuture is the venture capital arm of AHWL, which owns a range of investments - including the Wilko retail business. The fund has invested in a wide range of innovative sectors over the last six months, including robotics, consumer technology, and engineering. The team supports pre-seed businesses with resources and mentorship, alongside capital investment of up to £100,000.


Thomas Shelbourn, Investment Manager at WilkinsonFuture, said: “We are delighted to launch the WilkinsonFuture Grant Program in partnership with Loughborough University’s business incubator. This funding will enable entrepreneurs at the pre-seed stage to further develop their ideas into commercial ventures which have the potential to go on to venture capital fundraising."


As part of the programme, WilkinsonFuture will be adding additional resources to their website to help aspiring entrepreneurs get ready for that first fundraise, with topics ranging from pitch deck building to IP strategy.


“We’re making these resources available to all entrepreneurs as part of our mission to support the next generation of UK businesses,” Shelbourn added.


"This funding will enable entrepreneurs at the pre-seed stage to further develop their ideas into commercial ventures which have the potential to go on to venture capital fundraising"

Pete Hitchings, Incubator Manager at Loughborough, said: “Building a new business is hard work; this funding will enable us to identify and reward those entrepreneurs who are demonstrating outstanding commitment to their mission. Our aim is to support new businesses which are helping to solve problems, create value and jobs and change the world for the better. We are really pleased WilkinsonFuture and AHWL have seen the potential in the start-ups we are working with and that they share our passion for helping early-stage founders to reach their full potential.”




Students and recent graduates from both the University’s Loughborough and London campuses can also apply for up to £5,000 towards their business venture as part of the Start-Up Fund, an initiative led by the Loughborough Enterprise Network (LEN). WilkinsonFuture Grants will be open to active Studio members who may have already received funding via the Start-Up Fund and are seeking follow on funds to accelerate their business development.


Be sure to visit The Studio, Loughborough University's start-up incubator to discover funding and resources available to both student and non-student start-ups based in the Midlands.

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