Students currently studying under a Tier 4 Visa are restricted in setting up a business in the UK. Students may research and develop their ideas, but if they wish to form a company and start trading, they need to secure an alternative visa after graduation.
The University of Edinburgh is a partner university for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa endorsement scheme operated by UK Visa and Immigration. The University can endorse up to 20 international graduates each year to apply for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa to enable them to develop a business in the UK. The visa is for 12 months with the possibility to extend for a second year. The expectation is that after the 2 years, the business will have advanced enough and secured enough funding (currently £50k) for an application to be made for a full Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.
The endorsement route is designed for students who have a genuine and credible business idea and are committed to developing their idea on a full time basis. The University of Edinburgh has established clear guidelines and criteria for potential applicants with LAUNCH.ed, the university’s student entrepreneur support office, providing a platform for independent assessment of the business proposal. The two main application deadlines are in May and October each year. Any students interested in applying are encouraged to register their interest at the earliest opportunity by emailing enquiries@Launch.ed.ac.uk. Full details on the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa can be found here: UK Visa Guidelines>>.
PhD students wishing to start their own business can do so under the Doctoral Extension Scheme for up to 12 months before considering the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa or alternatives. More information available here University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh Global>>
Several LAUNCH.ed supported companies have successfully gone through the Tier 1 Endorsement Scheme, including:
Two Big Ears designs immersive and interactive audio applications and tools, with a focus on mobile and emerging technologies. Two Big Ears was founded in 2013 by Co-Founders from India, Abesh Thakur and Varun Nair, while they were both studying at Edinburgh College of Art. With the help of LAUNCH.ed they secured their first visa in 2013 and now employ over 14 people in their Edinburgh-based company. Read More >>
Pop Up! Scotland brings art to unexpected places through one-off arts exhibitions, workshops and experiences that bridge the gap between the everyday world and the world of fine art. The company grew out of a project that founder Anne Rushing organised that placed the work of Edinburgh College of Art glass students in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Anne, who is from the United States, secured her first visa through the visa endorsement scheme in 2013 with the help of LAUNCH.ed. Read More>>