International Entrepreneur Programme


Please click here for the International Entrepreneur Programme application form which will go live at 12:00 BST on Thursday 4 October 2018. The application form will close at 12:00 BST on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

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. 

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.
  • the College will not support businesses that are acting on a consultancy basis.

LATE APPLICATIONS: The College is unable to accept late applications. If you miss the deadline you will need to submit an application to the next application round.

International Entrepreneur Programme Overview October 2018

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.


International Entrepreneur Programme

To be considered for endorsement by the College applicants will be required to apply under the International Entrepreneur 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

Please click here for the application form which will go live at 12:00 BST on Thursday 4 October 2018 and close on Tuesday 30 October 2018 at 12:00 BST.

LATE APPLICATIONS: The College is unable to accept late applications. If you miss the deadline you will need to submit an application to the next application round.

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 International 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.


4 October 2018 The application will open online at 12:00 BST on Thursday 4 October 2018. Please click here to be taken to the application form.
30 October 2018 Applications close at 12:00 (BST)
5-12 November 2018 Stage 1: Initial Assessment Panel evaluate the applications.
15 November 2018 Applicants notified by email of the outcome of the first round applications.
November 2018 Pitch Practice session  (exact date TBC).
December 2018 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).
December 2018 A few days after the Panel meeting applicants will be notified by email if the College will endorse their business.
Endorsement timeline

LATE APPLICATIONS: The College is unable to accept late applications. If you miss the deadline you will need to submit an application to the next application round.

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.


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.


  • 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 an 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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