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FAQs

All applicants must be non-EEA national students at the University of Warwick and should be completing their studies at Warwick, at either undergraduate or postgraduate level or have completed their studies at Warwick. If you are applying in the UK, you must hold a current Tier 4 visa. If you are applying from overseas, the last UK visa you should have been granted is a Tier 4 visa.

Foundation degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas are not acceptable qualifications for this scheme.

Applicants must not have been previously granted entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) migrant, a participant in the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme, or a participant in the International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme)..

The Home Office will allow the University to endorse a Tier 1 visa application for up to 20 graduates who can demonstrate that they have a ‘genuine and credible business idea. As there are only 20 endorsements available, the University will be running a competitive process. The judges will select up to 20 graduates who submit a plan for a viable business and can demonstrate that the business idea meets the Home Office’s requirements.

You are advised to read the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme policy guidance extremely carefully before making your application. You can access this at http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/tier1/graduate-entrepreneur/. This guidance explains the format required for each supporting document which must be submitted with your application.

The judging panel includes senior members of staff from both academic and non-academic departments with the University who have business expertise (particularly in supporting new business) and an independent judge.

The Home Office will allow the University to endorse a Tier 1 visa application for up to 20 graduates who can demonstrate that they have a ‘genuine and credible business idea. As there are only 20 endorsements available, the University will be running a competitive process. The judges will select up to 20 graduates who submit a plan for a viable business and can demonstrate that the business idea meets the Home Office’s requirements. .

Please note if you have not yet completed your degree programme at the time of your application for endorsement under this scheme and you are successful with this application 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.

Switching into the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category will only be permitted where the applicant has or has last been granted leave as a:

o Tier 4 Migrant;

o Student;

o Student nurse;

o Student re-sitting an examination;

o Student writing up a thesis;

o Postgraduate doctor or dentist; or

o Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant.

Applicants must not have been previously granted entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Post Study Work) migrant, a participant in the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland Scheme, or a participant in the International Graduates Scheme (or its predecessor, the Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme).

Switching into the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category will only be permitted where the applicant has or has last been granted leave as a:

The Warwick Enterprise Team is unable to accept late applications. If you miss the deadline you will need to submit an application to the next application round.

Yes, your business must be based in the UK in order to qualify under Home Office rules. The University’s Graduate Enterprise Development Officer will need to meet with you on a regular basis to assess the development of the business. They may also make site visits.

The Home Office defines a ‘business’ as: a Sole trader, a Partnership; or a Company registered in the UK.

Yes, all team members seeking a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur endorsement need to attend the Pitch to Panel interview. Pitch to Panel sessions will not be conducted over Skype..

General assessment: Is the business idea innovative in the sense that it offers unique consumer benefits and fulfils market demands?

o Expresses a concise executive plan which clearly highlights the business strategy and product/service advantages;

o Clearly defines the idea, aims and objectives of the business;

o Highlights features and benefits of product/service;

Target audience and market research:

o Defines the market/market audience providing relevant and accurate information on market trends Highlights the need/gap in the market;

o Quantify the market and identify the target segment providing relevant and accurate information on market trends ;

o Identifies main competitors ; or

o Highlights the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats based on market research ;

Price, sales and risks:

o Identifies and explains pricing strategy aimed at target audience

o Details information relating to pricing of product/service

o Clearly defines how the product will be/has been taken from concept to market ;

o Offers a strategy for marketing and sales relevant to intended target audience ;

o Outlines both current and future risks and identifies how these risks are factored into the business ;

Financial information:

oIllustrates a cash flow/profit and loss forecast clearly stating any assumptions made ;

o Clarifies any capital expenditure. ;

o Estimates potential profit. ;

o Outlines strategy for future growth. ;

o Are the market and financial projections realistic and reasonable? ;

The University and its employees will treat your IP with all the care as if it was their own. University employees are bound to confidentiality by their employment contract and anyone involved in the selection process who is not an employee will sign a non-disclosure agreement.

You cannot use the University of Warwick as the company address. The University will charge commercial rates for the use of its premises and facilities.

You must evidence that you have personal savings of at least £945 if applying from within the UK or £1,890 if applying from overseas. Your personal savings need to be held in your bank account for a consecutive period of 90 days. It is not possible to use relatives or friends bank statements to evidence this money. All funds must be in your own name in your own bank account.

If you are granted a visa, it will be for a period of 12 months. There is the possibility to apply to extend this leave for another 12 months if you have shown progress and still meet the requirements of the scheme.

- It is normal for all newly formed companies to have very little funding at their inception. Thus, the company founders have to fund themselves until an investor can be found.

- The University, as a charity, cannot provide financial support to commercial entities in which it has no equity. Where it does hold equity, any support is limited to start-up funding and would be insufficient to pay a salary.

- You will not be able to claim most benefits paid by the UK Government.

- You need to be able to fund yourself to live in the UK for one year in the first instance and up to two years if your business is developing successfully. During that time, you must spend the majority of your working time on developing your business venture in the United Kingdom and maintain contact at regular intervals for progress meetings with the University’s Graduate Enterprise Officer.

- If you apply in the UK, you can work under the terms of your student visa while your application is with the Home Office. If your course has finished and you have completed all academic requirements, this period will be regarded as your holiday so you can work full-time, but you must not be self-employed, work as a doctor or dentist in training, take a permanent job or work as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. This means full-time work is permitted, but not self-employment. Once your visa is granted, you can start to set up your business.

- The number of hours a week that you can work on an employed basis is unrestricted. You are not allowed to work as a doctor or dentist in training or as a professional sportsperson (including work as a sports coach). However, the University would expect that you are spending the majority of your time developing your business in the UK and not taking paid employment. If the University deems you to not be spending enough time working on your business, which is the reason your visa was granted, it may withdraw its endorsement, which would invalidate your visa.

You will receive a written decision 2 weeks after the panel has met. If you are successful an endorsement letter will be sent to you at your registered address in the UK once you have agreed to the University’s terms and conditions and the Immigration Service is satisfied you meet the financial requirements of the scheme.

If your visa application is successful with the Home Office. The visa will be valid for 12 months and it may be possible to extend your visa further for another 12 months with a re-endorsement from the University of Warwick. After the first year, the progress of your business will be assessed by the University panel.

You could be eligible to apply to extend your Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa if:

- You are a Graduate Entrepreneur endorsed by the University of Warwick

- You have attended 5 out of 6 progress review meetings

- You are able to demonstrate progress with business idea over the last 10 months.

You will be asked to submit an annual report, financial statement and present your action plan for the second year. If the University is, at any time not satisfied with the progress being made on the business idea, or your compliance with the visa regulations, they may choose to withdraw the endorsement with immediate effect. There will be no right of appeal following this decision being made.You are able to demonstrate progress with business idea over the last 10 months.

- As part of the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme, the Warwick Enterprise Team provide 1:1 progress review meetings, access to workshops and events at campus to expand your network and skills during the first year (or two) of your new business.

- You will keep in regular contact with the Graduate Enterprise Officer within Warwick Enterprise to include a minimum of one progress review meeting every two months.

To get in contact with us our email address is: enterprise@warwick.ac.uk

- For visa advice about applying for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur from within the UK, please contact the Immigration Service in the International Office

- In certain circumstances your business plan proposal may be subject to the University’s Regulation 28 (www.warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/calendar/section2/regulations/patenting)

As long as the eligibility criteria is met, alumni of the University of Warwick can apply under the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme.

You can: Prepare a business plan and undertake market research in order to test the viability of your idea.

You cannot: Register a business, generate an income of any sort through product testing or any sort of trading

We strongly advise against doing anything which may be perceived as self-employment as this is strictly prohibited whilst holding a Tier 4 visa.

*The University of Warwick cannot accept any responsibility for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any student or graduate applying for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme or as a result of accepting the letter of endorsement to accompany your application for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme visa. The University of Warwick reserves the right to withdraw its endorsements or offers of endorsement in relation to the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Scheme.

Yes, why not join our Warwick Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme?

This online programme can help you unlock your creativity and open your eyes to opportunities around you.

Topics covered in the programme
  • Self - Understanding yourself. Strenghts, skills, culture and values.
  • Team - Working in collaboration, building a team and a network.
  • Ideas - How are ideas generated and developed?
  • Audience - Understanding the market place and how organisations operate.
  • Execution - Prototyping, pitching, resourcing, project management, pivoting ideas.
  • Being an Entrepreneur - Skillsets needed for startups, legal and finance, profile and brand.
  • What's next - Access to entrepreneurial networks and support while on the course.
A few tips to get you started…
Expand your world

Talk to people

e.g. Lecturers, fellow students, family, friends about hot topics in your area, expand your knowledge/network.

Attend events

Immerse yourself in your network/subject area/passion.

  • What’s the next big thing?
  • Is there an opportunity there?
  • A gap in the market? New legalisation, new government funding/focus to meet specific agenda goals etc…

Join groups that interest you/can help develop certain skills/networks

Look into volunteering, joining a group, society that you are passionate about/interested in, as it could help you to develop (new) skills/networks needed to help you succeed…

e.g. ‘I want to make a positive impact in the world/I have a passion for social enterprise’… Why not look into joining Enactus for example?

Review at a variety of levels/perspectives

Just as an example:

Expand your world

Talk to people

At lectures, with fellow students, family and friends about hot topics in your area - expand your knowledge/network.

Attend Events

Immerse yourself in your network/subject area/passion

  • Is there an opportunity there?
  • A gap in the market?New Legislation, new government funding/focus to meet specific agenda goals etc...

Join groups that interest you/can help develop certain skills/networks

Look into volunteering Joining a group, society that you are passionate about/interested in, as it could help you to develop (new) skills/networks needed to help you suceed...

e.g. 'I want to make a positive impact in the world/I have a passion for social enterprise'...Why not look into joining Enatctus for example?

Review at a variety of levels/perspectives

Just as an example: