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Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa - Top Three Tips For Successfully Pitching Your Business

In recent years, the UK government has imposed severe restrictions on non-EEA graduates attending UK universities from staying in Britain to work following completion of their course. One of the countries most affected by these restrictions is India, which has made clear to British Prime Minister, Theresa May, that any talk of a bi-lateral trade deal between the two countries could be hampered unless Britain softens its immigration policy towards its students. One way talented graduates from non-EEA countries can remain in the UK after their course ends is to successfully obtain a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa. A Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa is available for graduates who have a genuine and credible business idea. It allows a successful applicant to remain in the UK to establish their business after finishing their studies.

Eligibility for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa

To qualify for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa, your business idea must be endorsed by either:
  • an approved Higher Educational Institute; or
  • The Department for International Trade
To be eligible for entry into the UK under the Graduate Entrepreneur route, via endorsement by a Higher Educational Institution, you must have all of the following:
  • a UK-recognised bachelor's degree, master's degree or PhD awarded before your date of endorsement
  • endorsement from an authorised UK higher education institution issued in the past three months
  • A minimum of £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK, or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK to support yourself
  • meet the English language requirements
  • permission to remain in the UK from your financial sponsor if they're a government or an international scholarship agency and have paid your course fees and living costs in the past 12 months
To gain endorsement by the Department for International Trade (DIT), you need all of the following:
  • a degree qualification that is recognised as being equal to a UK bachelor's degree
  • to meet the criteria set by DIT
  • endorsement from DIT issued in the past 3 months
  • At least £945 in savings if applying from inside the UK or £1,890 if applying from outside the UK
  • meet the English language requirements
You don't have to provide evidence that you have sufficient savings to support yourself if you have an endorsement from DIT, stating you've been awarded funding to cover your maintenance.

Three tips for a successful pitch

The biggest challenge prospective Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) applicants must face is getting a body to endorse their business idea. How you pitch your concept and present your business plan will make all the difference as to whether or not you receive endorsement. Our top three tips for obtaining endorsement from an approved Higher Education Institution are as follows:
  1. Make sure your idea is original - you don't need to be the next Thomas Edison but your entrepreneurial idea must be relevant, original and applicable to the UK. Think about your market and your potential customers. What is the problem your unique idea will solve? Can this be done cost-effectively? Will investors see enough potential and return to provide the funding you need to get the idea off the ground? Once you have a clear answer to all these questions, you need to succinctly communicate your idea and its value to the British market in your pitch.
  2. Create a sharp business plan - your business plan not only has to demonstrate why your idea should gain endorsement and funding, it also needs to clearly identify the benefit it will have to the British market long-term. Market research is vital - there is no-point trying to pitch an idea that has already been done well. However, if you can add value from a customer's perspective to an existing idea, you may succeed in convincing the endorsement panel that your concept deserves a chance. Make sure you also include references to UK employment legislation if you plan to hire staff and the source and extent of your funding including how much of your own capital you plan to risk on the venture. All these points will add to the credibility of your pitch, showing that you have thoroughly researched the market and are prepared to risk your own money on making your venture a success.
  3. Study entrepreneur and business modules as part of your course and enter competitions - if you have optional modules within your course that cover topics including entrepreneurship, management and innovation, make sure you take them. This shows the endorsement committee that you have been planning your venture for some time and are truly committed to making it work. There are also entrepreneur competitions that allow you to develop and pitch your idea to a panel of experts. This can be a great way to get experience in selling your idea and you may possibly obtain some funding for your venture.

In summary

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa provides a way for dynamic, innovative graduates to remain in the UK and launch their own business based on a unique concept. To ensure the success of your application, it is advisable to seek expert legal advice to ensure your business pitch to an endorsing body and your application to UK Visas & Immigration has the highest chance of success. The team at Reiss Edwards consists of some of London's leading immigration lawyers. If you require expert legal advice on obtaining a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa and how to successfully pitch to an endorsement committee, please call us on 020 3744 2797.  

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Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers london that we would be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
The Home Office refused my Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application. This meant that my family and i would have to go back to Jordan and my business would close down. I needed a good immigration lawyer to put in a very strong appeal. I approached Reiss Edwards based on a friend's recommendation and they put together a very strong appeal. I read the grounds of appeal and I knew that this was a winner. A big thanks to Joe who worked tireless on my appeal.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter.

It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure.

To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me

A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative.

Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country.

The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed.

The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not.

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Fantastic Solicitors!!!

My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.

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The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question.

The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife’s UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.

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I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.

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Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.

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I used Reiss Edwards’ immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.

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It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service.

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They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.

Kind regards
Nancy Jacquard

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