International Entrepreneur Programme

Overview

Click here for the International Entrepreneur Programme application form (open from 12:00 BST Tuesday 17 October 2017) The application form will close at 12:00 BST on Thursday 9 November 2017.

Imperial College receives 20 endorsements annually from the Home Office to be able to sponsor recent Imperial graduates for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa to start a business and remain in the UK. Please note that the College has already allocated 15 endorsements from the current annual batch.

The College is required to have a process in place to assess the business and determine if it meets the Home Office criteria of being a genuine and credible business idea that demonstrates entrepreneurial skills.

For your business idea to be considered you will need to apply to participate in the International Entrepreneur Programme

Key points about the business, it should:

  • demonstrate why the business needs to be based in the UK and how the business will contribute to the UK economy.
  • not be a routine business that merely competes with local traders
  • not be a business that engages in property management or property development

Who can apply?

  1. Students who are currently in their final year of a UG or PG course at Imperial College or
  2. Post-Doctoral researchers currently employed by Imperial College, on a Tier 2 visa and hold a UK degree.

Imperial College is unable to accept applications from non-Imperial students.

Programme

International Entrepreneur Programme

To be considered for endorsement by the College applicants will be required to apply under the International Entrpreneur Programme (see the 2-stage application process below).

Getting support for your business idea

Key to participating and being considered under this programme is that you must have a strong business plan. There are a number of resources available at the College which can provide support and feedback for your business plan. For further information please see the Enterprise Lab and find out about entrepreneurial opportunities across the College.

Stage 1 Application

Click here for the International Entrepreneur Programme application form (open from 12:00 BST tuesday 17 October 2017). The application form will close at 12:00 BST on Thursday 9 November 2017.

The Initial Assessment Panel will review all applications and shortlist the strongest business applications to progress to the second stage Pitch-to-Panel session.

Please view the Graduate Entrepreneur Application Questions PDF document so that you can prepare your answers in advance of submitting them via the online application form.

Stage 2 Pitch-to-Panel

If your business has been shortlisted you will have the opportunity to attend a Pitch Practice session before presenting your business idea at the Pitch-to-Panel session in front of the International Entrepreneur Panel.

Timeline

Exact dates still TBC.

DateActivity
17 Oct 2017 Click here for the International Entrepreneur Programme application form (open from 12:00 BST Tuesday 17 October 2017).
9 Nov 2017 Applications close at 12:00 (BST)
13 - 17 Nov 2017 Stage 1: Initial Assessment Panel evaluate the applications.
21 Nov 2017 Applicants notified by email of the outcome of the first round applications.
Nov 2017 Pitch Practice session
Nov 2017 Stage 2: Successful stage 1 applicants will attend a Pitch-to-Panel session to present their business to the International Entrepreneur Panel and answer questions from the Panel (exact date TBC).
Dec 2017 A few days after the Panel meeting applicants will be notified by email if the College will endorse their business.
 
Endorsement timeline

Visa application

The International Student Support team will assist successful candidates in the visa application process by checking their visa application and supporting documents.

Key points

  • If you have been endorsed after the Pitch-to-Panel session then you will be granted a conditional endorsement until you meet all the requirements of the visa route. Once you are ready to make your visa application an Endorsement Letter will be issued by the International Student Support office. 
  • Visa applications made within the UK will be checked and posted via the International Student Support office.
  • A Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa is granted for 1 year in the first instance with the option to extend for a second year if there has been satisfactory progress on the business.
  • If you have dependants they may also move over as your dependant under this visa route.
  • There is no restriction on the number of hours that you may work however your main focus should always remain on the establishment of your business.

Maintenance

Under the maintenance requirements for this visa route you are required to provide bank statements in your own name that show you have held £ 945 in a bank account for 90 consecutive days.

Documents

  • Passport
  • Biometric Resident Permit (if your visa was issued in this format)
  • Police Registration Certificate (only if you are from a country required to register and it must be up-to-date)
  • 2 Brand new passport size photos on a grey or light cream background
  • Bank statements
  • Endorsement letter

Ongoing assessment

  • A requirement of being sponsored under this visa route is that you will continue to be assessed by the College at agreed upon contact points during the year.
  • You will be required to submit an action plan for the year ahead with your intended milestones.
  • Meet with a member of staff from the International Student Support office at least 4 times during the year.
  • Provide quarterly progress reports.
  • Update the International Student Support should you change your name, change contact details, obtain a new passport, leave the UK for any extended period of time or switch into a different visa category.

Failure to meet the above requirements may lead to your sponsorship being withdrawn and your visa being cancelled.


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