Open Category


What is as an 'open category' social enterprise?

If you're interested in setting up a student-led food enterprise that isn't a farmers' market, food co-op or food preserving enteprise then apply for our open category!
A social enterprise is a business which trades with the purpose of tackling social issues; whether that is a community, individual or environmental problem. These enterprises make their money from selling goods or services, but here’s the clever bit, they reinvest their profits back into the local community, their social group (i.e. a club/society) or the enterprise itself. This means that when the enterprise succeeds people & communities benefit as well. For more information visit

Why set up a food based enterprise?

Good for you, good for your institution, good for your community.

  • Fresh affordable food for students, staff and members of the public.
  • Provides real-life experience of setting up and running a business.
  • An opportunity to see your ideas come to life.
  • Enhances employability skills – leadership, teamwork, planning etc.
  • A great way for emerging student enterprises and societies to market their products.
  • Potential income generation for your students’ union or society.
  • A chance to raise awareness about the importance of buying sustainable food.
  • Supports the local economy and community partnerships.

How we can help you

Mentoring & training from the NUS Student Eats team

Free Resources to support you to set up and run a successful food enterprise

Start up costs of up to £1000, with the opportunity for 7 enterprises to scale up their businesses (up to an additional £17,000), for more information visit our scale-up section. 

Thinking of applying?

Join our pre-application support webinars:

Download our guidance document and view our example answer.

The deadline for Round 5 is 23rd June 2017. We may have some questions about your enterprise as we expect each application to be quite varied. As such we advise you to keep the following dates free in case we need to call you for more details: Tuesday 11th July 2017 and Wednesday 12th July 2017.

All applicants will be notified of their result by 31st July 2017.

Regional training events for successful applicants in all categories will take place on:

  • Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th September 2017
  • Wednesday 11th, Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th, Friday 20th, Tuesday 24th, Wednesday, 25th, Thursday 26th and Friday 27th October 2017