Applications for Brunel’s Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme now open

Published: Tuesday 12 June 2012

Graduate Entrepreneur Visa Route 

Brunel University is a registered sponsor under the new UKBA post-study work route, TIER 1 - Graduate Entrepreneur. The University may sponsor up to ten students graduating from any subject, plus up to ten MBA graduates, to move into the TIER 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category, which is for students who wish to develop innovative ideas and entrepreneurial skills in order to establish a business in the UK.

Those selected by the University will be able to apply for a visa for one year during which time they have the opportunity to develop their new business idea. If the University then confirms that adequate progress in their business idea has been made and that the student has conformed to all necessary visa compliance requirements, they may be able to apply for one further year’s sponsorship under this visa category. At the end of the period of sponsorship under Graduate Entrepreneur, the student may be eligible and able to transfer into TIER 1 (Entrepreneur). .

Students who meet the eligibility criteria below, are invited to apply for Graduate Entrepreneur sponsorship by following the procedures listed below.

Eligibility Criteria

The Scheme is open to:
  • Non-EEA national graduates
  • Students who have been awarded a Brunel degree (Bachelors, Masters or Research) in the 12 months prior to the Graduate Entrepreneur sponsorship
  • Students who have a genuine, credible and innovative business idea
  • Students who do not have an existing job offer
  • Students who are currently in the UK on a Student or TIER 4 Student visa (please note, Brunel University will not consider those who would need to apply for Entry Clearance)
  • Proof of maintenance funds of £900 in a bank account for 90 days immediately prior to the date of visa application.
  • For students who are currently sponsored, written consent from their sponsor that they give permission for the student to stay in the UK for a further year.
  • Students must have adequate funding to cover their maintenance costs for the year. They will have no recourse to public funds and no supporting funds will be provided by the University.
Those sponsored under the Graduate Entrepreneur route:
  • Are eligible to work full-time to support themselves, in addition to the work required to develop their business idea.
  • Will have limited access to the University library and other university facilities but will not be eligible for on-campus University housing
  • Must apply for the new visa from the UK
Graduate Entrepreneur responsibilities:
  • You must have a genuine, credible and innovative business idea
  • You must spend the majority of your working time developing your business idea
  • You must stay in regular contact with your endorsing institution, the University, through an agreed series of face-to-face meetings and written progress reports. 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 sponsorship with immediate effect.
  • All successful applicants will be required to sign a contract with the University to confirm they understand and agree to comply with the requirements of the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.

Full details of the TIER 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) scheme can be found on the UKBA Website.
We strongly recommend all those interested in applying for Graduate Entrepreneur read this information in full before applying.

How to Apply

STEP 1 - Application

Applicants are required to complete the online application form. When submitting the application form, the following documents must also be attached in PDF format:

  • CV (must cover current and past education and all relevant paid and voluntary work experience)
  • Cover letter (should provide evidence of personal commitment to entrepreneurship, previous examples of entrepreneurship)
  • Summary of one or two business ideas (300 words maximum, to include description of the business idea, proposed customer base, USPs, etc)
  • Copy of current visa

Deadline for submission of application form and all necessary documents: 5p.m. on 21 June 2013

Please note, only complete applications received through the listed channels and by the application deadline will be considered. The Panel’s decision will be final and not open to question or appeal.

STEP 2 - Short-listing and Enterprise Bootcamp

Short-listing of applicants based on the application form and attached documents will be undertaken by a panel. Short-listed (and unsuccessful) candidates will be informed by email by June 28th 2013. Up to a maximum of 30 applicants will be short-listed.

Those short-listed will be asked to attend a Brunel Enterprise Bootcamp on 29 and 30 July 2013. The Bootcamp sessions will take place over the course of 2 full days and full attendance will be compulsory. Anyone invited to the Bootcamp who does not attend and actively participate in all sessions in full will be asked to leave and will not be given further consideration for sponsorship.
 The Enterprise Bootcamp will focus on areas of business development such as ideas generation, market research, finance and presentation skills.

STEP 3 – Submission of business ideas

Following the Enterprise Bootcamp, applicants must submit their Business plan in the required format by 9 a.m. on 8 August 2013.

Final selection will be based on the Business plan, applicants input into the Enterprise Bootcamp and the application documents.

All applicants will be informed of the final decision by email by 23 August 2013. The Panel’s decision will be final and not open to question or appeal.

What Happens Next:

Following selection for Graduate Entrepreneur sponsorship, all successful applicant will be required to attend a meeting on Wednesday 28 August to discuss visa applications and clarify next steps. Attendance at that meeting will be obligatory.

 Once the successful applicant’s degree has been awarded, the University will inform the UKBA of our decision to endorse them for a Graduate Entrepreneur visa. Before writing to the UKBA we will ask for the applicant’s permission to provide their personal details. Successful candidates will need to make a new visa application for TIER 1 Graduate Entrepreneur within 3 months of the endorsement.

 Over the course of the year, and in addition to the contacts required under the terms of the TIER 1 visa, Graduate Entrepreneurs will be invited to attend a series of meetings and training sessions with Brunel staff and external consultants to support and encourage the development of their business plans.

Feedback from Current Entrepreneurs

Becoming a social entrepreneur has always crossed my mind but i didn't know how to start and how to manage the risks involved. The Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme was perfect for me, it provides an invaluable opportunity for anyone who has a vision or a a good idea to develop it in a supportive environment with zero risks. The short-listed applicants go through an insightful two days boot camp with interactive sessions from successful executives and entrepreneurs. Then the lucky winners will get free access to academic resources, sector-specific advice, and mentorship from a leading executive in the sector, providing the best environment for your business idea to materialize and thrive in the future. I would advise anyone who is hard working, has a good idea , and enjoys challenges to go through this wonderful experience and benefit from this great opportunity.

Anas Darkaoui - MA Children, Youth and International Development.

I had my business plan in my mind and I was juggling with it for months before I was informed by Brunel about this new visa and the opportunity of developing my ideas. That was the starting point. Immediately I responded and attended the first session. All the information I received from that session made me to take the following sessions serious as I thought this is a good chance to kill two birds with one stone! Starting my own business which was desired and extending my visa. Obviously one was related to the other. During the boot camp we worked on different skills and we meet some successful business owners which was very inspiring. After the boot camp I made a long list of what I have learnt and also added my 8 years experience of being in industry to it.

Behind my business plan were bunch of experts who were working on every single corner of the business plan. A fashion designer, photographer, musician, graphic designer, accountant and etc. I had several meetings with them and we were discussing our ideas and the aim was to make this business plan as realistic as we could. Fortunately I was one of the few who was accepted and now I am desperate to make this happen. I have got an exhibition about my designs and works in London Grand Design in the beginning of May which I was working on it in the last few months before I officially get the visa. This will be the first step to start this business plan. The amount of help I have received from Brunel and specially the people who were organizing this scheme is indescribable. They all did their best to push us to achieve what we want and also in guiding us to make our future here in the UK. At the end I have to say we were a very good team and I have learnt lots of things from everyone who were participated in this scheme in the last few months.

Soroush Pourhashemi – MSc Advanced Engineering Design

The graduate entrepreneurship scheme was a great opportunity for me to stay in the UK and to establish my business idea. I thought that finding and getting a job was the only way after graduation, however, this scheme opened new prospects for me. The boot camp was a great opportunity to meet and learn from the people who are in the business and to get the most of their experiences about establishing and running their own businesses.

Alaa Marshan – MSc Business Systems integration

The Brunel's Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme has bought me to a different level of starting a creative business. I always wanted to start my own design practice but I had no clue how to do it. With help from the PCC, they guided me all the way and provided sufficient resources for me to kick start my business. Thus, it's a really amazing scheme to participate in, and the boot camp was awesome for me who didn't have any business knowledge. It boosted me up with ideas and the ways to start a business. I really appreciated it and am looking forward to seeing how it works out! "

Andrew Chong - MA Design and Branding Strategy

Page last updated: Monday 25 June 2012