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Start-up Scheme



The University of Warwick is part of a scheme, run in conjunction with the Home Office, which aims to identify, nurture and develop graduate entrepreneurs who have a viable, scalable and innovative business idea they wish to develop in the United Kingdom. The Start-up Scheme is limited to a maximum of 20 graduates per year and is only open to either international graduates or current international students of the University of Warwick. More details on the Start-up VISA can be found by clicking on this LINK.

The Start-up VISA Programme provides an exciting opportunity for international graduates to test and refine their business idea, draft a business model for their start-up and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Over a period of 24 months, with the support of the Graduate Enterprise Officer, participants will clarify their vision, strengthen their mindset and evaluate market opportunities in order to build and launch their business idea.

By the end of the programme, participants will aim to have:

  • Tested and refined their business idea and conducted product-market fit activities
  • Defined their business model
  • Launched their business
  • Made some initial sales

Support Provided

The Start-up VISA Programme provides non-financial support to successful applicants and this includes:

  • Access to a physical co-working space for 24 months
  • 1:1 coaching from the Graduate Enterprise Officer to empower you with the monthly focus and accountability you will need to break through your own limitations
  • Agreed milestones to equip your climb towards developing and launching your unique business idea
  • Access to mentors and support through our Enterprise ecosystem of graduate entrepreneurs, advisors and experts within the Innovation Group
  • Monthly group sessions enabling peer-to-peer learning with other graduate founders in an environment that welcomes feedback and support
  • A strong sense of community with a network of peers who share similar entrepreneurial interests and aspirations
  • Access to the Innovation Collective
  • Start-Up Visa endorsement by Warwick Enterprise for international students

Initial Meeting

You are required to schedule an initial 30-minute meeting with the Graduate Enterprise Officer. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your business idea, the application process and how applications are evaluated.

You can schedule this call by clicking HERE 

Please note: The initial 1:1 meeting is a pre-requisite for your Start-up VISA Programme application.

Applications to the Start-up VISA Programme

We run two application windows per calendar year. The first application window is in February and the second in August. Please see "Dates to Apply" below for more detail on these application windows.

You will need to complete an application form (accessed through the "Apply Now" button below) and attach a business plan. You must use our templates and these can be requested from the Graduate Enterprise Officer your initial 1:1 call. Other business plan templates will not be accepted. You will also need to submit a link to a three minute pitch video for your idea.

We will review all applications within two weeks of the application window closing. Applications are reviewed against three criteria. For more detail on these criteria, please schedule a call with the Graduate Enterprise Officer using this LINK.

Criteria 1 - Viability

Is there enough evidence in the Business Plan to prove that this business idea has the potential to generate revenue.

Criteria 2 - Scalability

Is there enough evidence in the Business Plan which presents the growth potential of the business.

Criteria 3 - Innovation

What evidence is presented in the Business Plan that demonstrates how this business is differentiating itself in the market.

Application timelines for February 2023 are as follows:

Eligibility criteria

Any current student or graduate, who meets the following requirements, is eligible to apply. You can apply if:

  1. You have a valid Student/Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Warwick
  2. You are an international graduate who previously held a Student/Tier 4 visa sponsored by the University of Warwick
  3. You are a EEA or Non EEA national who graduated from the University of Warwick
  4. You have been or are going to be awarded a University of Warwick degree (Bachelors, Masters or PhD)

*Please note: If you have not yet completed your degree programme when you apply for endorsement under this scheme and your application is successful - then the endorsement will be conditional on successful completion of your degree programme. Foundation degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas are not acceptable qualifications for this scheme. Please refer to the Start-up Scheme visa application process here.

Full details of the scheme can be found on the Home Office website:https://www.gov.uk/start-up-visa

If you have any queries please contact us at: enterprisegraduates@warwick.ac.uk