From education to employment

25 years of Santander supporting education, job creation and entrepreneurship

25 years of Santander supporting education, job creation and entrepreneurship

#NeverStopLearning – @BancoSantander creates 3,000 grants and a global entrepreneurship challenge to commemorate 25 years 

Santander celebrates 25 years of higher education advocacy, boosting its commitment to skills training and lifelong learning to address new market needs 

Santander Universities has helped some 630,000 students, professionals, start-ups and SMEs; invested more than 2 billion euros; and signed agreements with more than 1,000 universities and academic institutions in 25 countries.

Santander Universities launched in the UK in 2007 and has invested over £97 million in helping UK students and universities. Since 2007, more than 110,000 recipients have been supported in the UK and now has direct partnerships with 85 universities.

Banco Santander has kicked off four new programmes for students, professionals, start-ups and SMEs to celebrate 25 years of Santander Universities, its division that promotes education, job creation and entrepreneurship across its footprint.

The four new programmes consist of:

  1. 1,600 Becas Santander | Digital Business – The University of Chicago grants to learn new digital management skills;
  2. 400 Becas Santander Tech | Emerging Technologies Programme by MIT Professional Education grants for participants to master the use of emerging technology that is in high demand at companies;
  3. 1,000 Becas Santander Languages | English to Boost Your Career – University of Pennsylvania grants for advanced business English study; and
  4. Tthe global entrepreneurship challenge, Santander X Global Challenge | Finance for All to find the most innovative start-ups and scale-ups with the highest growth potential for financial inclusion.


In the 1990s, Banco Santander wanted to support higher education as the driver of the progress needed to create fairer, more inclusive, more equitable and — now more than ever — more sustainable companies. Hence, Santander Universities was born: a global, unique and pioneering initiative that provides education and job opportunities for students and professionals via Santander Scholarships and for start-ups and SMEs via Santander X.

Today, the work of the past 25 years has resulted in some 630,000 students, professionals, start-ups and SMEs having benefited from the over 2 billion euros the bank has invested as well as from its agreements with more than 1,000 universities and academic institutions in 11 countries. Furthermore, it has earned Banco Santander recognition from several international organizations and institutions, including the Spanish network of the UN Global Compact and the Varkey Foundation.

The division’s aim is to continue strengthening its commitment by meeting the needs of the job market amid vast digital transformation and promoting lifelong learning. In the spirit of #NeverStopLearning, it will continue to run skills development programmes to promote a cornerstone of Santander Universities: employability.

For Santander Universities Global Head Javier Roglá:

“Education is the bedrock of a more innovative and competitive society and the fundamental driver of progress and a more sustainable economy. At Santander Universities, we’re proud of these past 25 years, with the certainty that our future must continue to evolve to encourage lifelong learning as a crux for greater employability”.

Santander Scholarships now cover seven disciplines that promote education and employment:

  1. Becas Santander Tech for new technology, programming and innovation;
  2. Becas Santander Skills for learning soft and hard skills;
  3. Becas Santander Women for career and leadership development among women;
  4. Becas Santander Language for foreign language training in business settings;
  5. Becas Santander Studies, with special aid for finishing studies;
  6. Becas Santander Internship for university students’ job training; and
  7. Becas Santander Research for material and financial student aid.

Beca Santander Studies | Graduação beneficiary Lucas Vinicius, from Brazil, said:

“I’m a psychology student. Thanks to this scholarship, I could continue my studies in my hometown. Not only did it cover enrolment fees, transport and research materials, but it also enabled me to be around other people and learn different points of view”. 

Carolina Zarco, a winner of the Becas Santander Women | W50 Leadership – London School of Economics scholarship, says

“we were taught essential leadership skills. Now I know myself better and am improving my leadership style. Learning how other women see the world by sharing experiences was invaluable. I gained new contacts from several countries and industries, with whom I shared experiences and remain in touch.

Santander X supports the training, development and growth of start-ups and scale-ups, as well as helping SMEs go international and digitalize.

According to Daniela Meymar, from Mexico and CEO of the Santander X Global Challenge I Helping Businesses Prosper winner, Social Piper:

“Initiatives like Santander X offer entrepreneurs the chance to get our companies reviewed, which gives us the drive we need to grow. Without them, start-ups are left to their own beliefs and knowledge, and great ideas end up never seeing the light of day.

Plastecowood, winner of the global Santander X Environmental Challenge, said that these initiatives give needed visibility and support to green entrepreneurship, which is both fundamental for similar eco-friendly companies and attractive to investors; and that, thanks to this award, it has made major strides in building trust to attract capital.

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities UK said:

“Santander Universities is committed to improving access to education and providing life-changing opportunities to students to enable them to succeed. We’re proud to support over 80 partner universities across the UK and delighted, as part of Santander Group, to be providing even more opportunities which will create a positive impact on the communities in which we operate.” 

In the UK, Santander Universities has launched a number of programmes in 2021 including:  the Student Online Self-Development programme, in collaboration with Sporting Edge; the Santander Universities Black Inclusion programme, in collaboration with Finance Unlocked; and the Santander UK Freelancer Scheme which provided financial assistance to self-employed workers severely impacted by the pandemic.

One of the Santander scholarship recipients of the Santander UK Freelancer Scheme, Dr. Shelly-Ann Brown, said:

“Santander Scholarships didn’t just provide me financial support, it offered my business the very first financial support which would launch my career”.

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