What is a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneurs) Visa?

Are you a graduating overseas student / entrepreneur with a great business idea?

Brunel University will once again be sponsoring a number of International students, supporting them in applying for a Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visa. This will enable exceptional entrepreneurial graduates with exciting and commercially viable ideas, to extend their stay in the UK for 12 months (renewable to 24 months), whilst they explore and implement their businesses. To apply for a Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visa, you need an endorsement from a UK higher education institution. Brunel University is offering to endorse a select few students through the Innovation Hub’s Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visa Scheme. Find out more about the Graduate Entrepreneur Tier Visa here.

If you are truly passionate about your business idea and eager to succeed, we want to help you reach your goals.

What kind of people and businesses are we looking for?

We are interested in enthusiastic people with innovative business ideas with a strong potential for success, that could even change the world! See further below this page for examples of previous Brunel students, who have started up their business after attaining a Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visa.

Can I apply?

This scheme is open to International students who have graduated this year or will be graduating within 12 months from 1st May 2016 and will apply for the visa within 3 months of their graduation.

This year the Innovation Hub has introduced some criteria around the submissions:

  1. The student must have financial ability and commitment to spend the majority of their working time solelyon developing their business. This is now a new requirement in the visa rules.
  2. Their idea must meet at least one of the following requirements:
  • Clear links with Brunel University London (e.g. a business directly applying learning from Brunel)
  • Is a very novel entrepreneurial idea displaying innovation and creativity
  • Shows a clear evolution path to the Central Research Laboratory(a manufacturing entrepreneur incubator which is sponsored by Brunel)
  1. The student must have evidence of entrepreneurship. The student must have taken steps to prepare themselves and have what it takes to run a business
  2. The student must agree to assist Brunel with promoting entrepreneurship
  3. The student must submit annual and quarterly updated plans in advance of pre-agreed meeting dates with defined activities (i.e. ongoing work) and deliverables (measurable outcomes) that can be measured against plans and recorded and evidenced for UK immigration.

Key Dates:

Monday 18th April 2016 – Wednesday 1st June 2016 Submission of applications – From 18th April 2016, the application forms and process will be available
Friday 17th June 2016 Shortlist of candidates announced
Monday 27th June 2016 – Friday 1st July 2016 Training workshops and tuning of business cases
Wednesday 6th July 2016 Presentations to panel
Friday 15th July 2016 Visa sponsorship selection announced

Case Study 1

Student’s Name:  Carlton Cummins
Business Name: Aceleron


The aim of Aceleron is to create a multinational energy storage company, which is able to take ‘waste’ electric vehicle batteries and convert them into useful home energy storage devices.

Carlton has now been sponsored and will be taking up the visa this summer. He has a background in mechanical engineering and upon completing his Master’s degree at Brunel University London, in Sustainability Entrepreneurship and Design. He filed his first patent in a battery technology, based on his dissertation research in electric vehicle waste management. Carlton was also a finalist in London Mayor’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Competition and is currently working in a company which does research on low emissions transportation solutions.


Case Study 2

Student’s Name:  David Nyaga
Business Name: Just Start Trading (FXJST)


David Nyaga is an alumnus of Brunel University who obtained his visa this year. He developed a trading platform: Just Start Trading (FXJST), which is a Pan-African FX Brokerage House, providing financial and investment services. Just Start Trading offers online Foreign Exchange trading to clients through their partnership with an UK FCA regulated broker.

Their clients consist of institutional, retail, corporate and small to medium sized investment banks in East Africa. They found that they could fill the gap in Africa, since many wanted to trade but did not have a local presence so they felt it would be advantageous  to set up in this region.

FXJST’s aim is to be the first of its kind: a mass-marketing trading platform and community network for Africa.


Case Study 3

Student’s Name: Soroush Pourhashemi
Business Name: Lozi

souroush 2

Soroush graduated in 2012 with a Master’s degree in advanced engineering design at Brunel University. He was on the Brunel Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa for 2 years and is now on the full UK Entrepreneur Visa.

Currently, he runs a bespoke furniture design and manufacturing studio called Lozi, which is based in London. Lozi combines modern technology with traditional wood working methods, hand crafting every item to the highest quality by carefully shaping and bending wood. Everything they produce reflects the three basic elements of design: point, line and surface. They care about how furniture feels and that is why they use natural and sustainable materials to produce their pieces.


If you think your idea has what it takes, apply for the Graduate Visa Scheme from the 18th April – 1st June 2016!

What are the requirements I need to fulfil for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa?

You must get a score of 95 points to apply for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa.

25 Points             Valid endorsement from Brunel University London

25 Points             The endorsement has confirmed that the applicant has a genuine                                                  business idea and will spend the majority of their time in the UK                                                    developing their idea.

25 Points             You have been awarded your degree.

10 Points             English language requirement

10 Points             Maintenance – £945 every day for a 90 day period ending no more than 31 days before you apply for the visa

You can either apply for Tier 1 GE visa whilst you are in the UK with a student, or Tier 4, visa or you can apply overseas, but you will need to show a higher maintenance amount.

Please note: if you have previously held a Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) visa, an International Graduate Scheme (IGS) visa, a Science and Engineering Graduate Scheme (SEGS) visa, or a Fresh Talent (Working in Scotland) visa you will unfortunately not be eligible to apply for the T1GE visa.

If you are given an endorsement from the university, you will need to ensure that you meet all the requirements before you make an application to the UK Visa Agency.

For more information please visit https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-graduate-entrepreneur-visa