Funding the next generation of businesses

Welcome to Cranfield University Seed Fund!

This is a philanthropic investment fund that provides early-stage capital to promising businesses. This opportunity is designed to support and encourage entrepreneurial initiatives among our students, alumni, staff, and business connected to Cranfield University. The seed fund is made possible by the generous donations of Cranfield alumni who believe in giving back to their alma mater and supporting the next generation of innovative thinkers.

Starting a new business can be challenging, and the initial investment required can be a significant barrier. This fund offers financial support to eligible businesses, enabling them to pursue innovative business idea. Eligible business may apply to receive financial support of up to £25,000 in convertible loan (or up to £50,000 for sustainability-related businesses).

The fund has a strong track record of supporting successful businesses. The fund builds on a small successful pilot set up in 2016, which gave grants to very early-stage businesses started within the University or by alumni. This has accelerated the growth of several businesses to date, including CorrosionRadar, Herotech8, and Citispotter. Several of the original seed fund recipients have won numerous industry awards and have raised further funding subsequently.

Cranfield University Seed Fund

Martin Rigby, Managing Director of ET Capital Ltd, who has been involved in founding the fund, and supported it financially as an MBA alumnus, said:

“I'm delighted that the Seed Fund has been launched. It will not only provide much needed growth capital for promising young businesses but give their founders the benefit of insight and wisdom from the Bettany Centre and Cranfield's vibrant and diverse entrepreneurship community.”

Funding details

The Cranfield University Seed Fund will provide financial support to selected applicants to help them take their business ideas forward. The amount of funding will depend on the nature and scope of the proposed business idea. The maximum amount is £25,000 (or up to £50,000 for sustainability-related businesses).

In addition to the financial support, the seed fund will also provide networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and investors in the Cranfield University ecosystem.

Eligibility criteria

  • business registered in the United Kingdom
  • at the pre-seed or seed stage of development
  • business idea must be innovative, scalable, and have the potential for raising funding
  • a well-defined business plan that outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies of the business

Please note that international students with Student visa immigration permission are not permitted to engage in business activity in the UK whilst they are studying on a Student Visa. Please see the relevant guidance on the government website.


Application process

  • Register your interest by filling your details in the form below
  • You will receive an application form that you would need to complete and return
  • Selected applicants will be invited to present their business idea to a panel of judges
  • Successful applicants will receive funding and mentoring support

Thank you for your interest in the Cranfield University Seed Fund. We can't wait to see the innovative ideas and businesses that will come out of this exciting opportunity.

If you have any questions about the seed fund or the application process, please contact us at

Apply now

Other funding opportunities

Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL) Fund
Innovators and entrepreneurs can apply for several funding streams via the Green Future Investments Ltd (GFIL) Fund to scale up ideas which will help address the challenges posed by climate change and global environmental challenges. It follows the launch of a partnership between Cranfield University and Green Future Investments Ltd.

Green Future Entrepreneurship Fund
Apply for a fully funded place on Cranfield’s highly regarded Ready For Net Zero Growth programme via the Green Scholarships fund. Scholarships are available to businesses to cover full course fees for the Ready for Net Zero Growth programme and a 12-month audit to assess their progress. The Green Seed Fund which offers investments of between £25,000 and £50,000 on a commercial basis via a convertible loan for green businesses seeking to grow and scale.

Future Frontiers Fund (FFF)
Supporting new ideas, grants of approximately £10,000 are available to test early-stage ideas and reach proof of concept, with support from Cranfield University.

Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF)
Provides funding in the region of £50,000 for innovators with technologies currently at Technology Readiness Level 4 to 5.

Eligible applicants for FFF and TAF include SMEs, start-ups, spinouts, individuals, and students.