Enterprise support

  • Start-up visa

    Starting a business in the UK

    The Start Up Visa scheme is for International graduates. It gives you the chance to be endorsed by Oxford Brookes University to start a business and live in the UK.

    This is a selective process for entrepreneurs with innovative and competitive business ideas. The Start Up Visa gives you two years to stay in the UK and work on your business.

  • To apply for the Start Up Visa, you will need to be a graduate of Oxford Brookes University and have been awarded a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD before the date of endorsement.* Applications can be made from inside or outside the UK.

    For your business proposal, there are a couple of rules and guidelines you’ll need to follow.

    Your business should add something to the UK economy, be potentially scalable and create employment opportunities in the UK, beyond those of just the applicant. It shouldn’t simply be a trading company or something that directly competes with other local businesses. Examples of ineligible businesses would include a fast food outlet, a clothes shop, an estate agency, property development or an accountancy firm, or a similar type of company. We are particularly keen to endorse applicants with tech and digital solutions.

    Above all, make your business proposal innovative, viable and scalable.

    We strongly recommend reading the UKVI webpage for all of the conditions of the Start Up Visa before you submit an application.

    *External entrepreneurial team members will be considered. The external applicant must be either the original founder or an instrumental member of the founding team, and must have joined the business before fully started trading.

    Stage 1 - enquire

    To apply, simply send an expression of interest to the team at -  enterprise-support@brookes.ac.uk. Currently, there is no deadline and we are accepting applications throughout the year. You will be sent information about the scheme and asked to complete an initial business proposal.

    Stage 2 - exploring your idea

    Once we have received your business proposal you will be invited for a meeting with a Business Consultant to explore your idea. All communication is currently delivered online. The purpose of this meeting is to explore the candidate’s idea, to understand your motivations for starting a business and to give guidance on the criteria for a business suitable for endorsement. After this you will be asked to complete an initial business plan.

    Stage 3 - acceptance for mentoring

    When you have submitted your initial business plan, provided it meets all of the criteria of the scheme your application to the University will be formally accepted and you will be asked to produce a detailed business plan and a cash flow. This does not guarantee that you will receive a letter of endorsement. 

    At this stage you will be made an offer, to pay a £500 plus VAT (£600 total) adoption fee for formal mentoring. A mentor will then work closely with you to review your business plan and produce a cash flow. You will be coached to help improve your application and have it ready for submission to the Commercialisation Review Panel. Payment is optional, does not guarantee that you will receive a letter of endorsement and is not refundable if you are not successful.*

    Stage 4 - pitching your idea

    Once you have perfected your business plan and cash flow, you will be invited to pitch your idea to the team. The pitch will last no longer than 10 minutes, after this you will be asked questions about your business. This will be the deciding factor of whether the Start Up Visa team will write you a letter of recommendation to the Commercialisation Review Panel.

    Stage 5 - endorsement process

    If you are recommended by the team, the Commercialisation Review Panel will receive a letter of recommendation, your business proposal and your cash flow. They will process your application and decide to either:

    • endorse the business concept and write a letter of endorsement
    • decline to endorse it
    • defer its decision pending submission of further information

    Before receiving your endorsement letter you will be asked to complete the University’s Terms and Conditions and you will be made a second offer to pay a fee of £1000 plus VAT (£1200 total) to the University for our bespoke mentoring and monitoring service.**

    *Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support offers a bespoke mentoring and monitoring service at the application, endorsement and end of first year stage. This fee is optional. Please note you are not paying for the visa but for the continued services of expert mentoring and monitoring offered by Enterprise Support.  

    **If you choose not to pay you will only receive the meetings we are obliged to organise by UKVI which are 6, and 12 month checkpoints over the two years. Any other fees will be from UKVI for the visa process, and not from us.


    Once you receive your visa, you’ll be monitored by the University - this is just protocol as part of the Start Up Visa conditions set out by UKVI and attend meetings as requested by the University with a business Mentor. 

    By taking the paid route, on top of the required UKVI checkpoints, you will also receive a bespoke mentoring package (under review) to help you make progress with your business to meet the endorsement criteria for UKVI over the two years. You’ll need at least four reviews with Oxford Brookes University each year.

    Once you are part of this programme you will have access to the Enterprise Support programme of events, giving you the chance to develop new skills and work with an experienced mentor during the early stages of your business. Please remember that your business will need to be based in the UK, but it can trade internationally.

    As you reach the end of your first year, you will have the opportunity to pitch your business’s progress to the Commercialisation Panel and you will be made an offer to pay a fee of £1500 plus VAT (£1800 total) to the University for the second year of our bespoke mentoring and monitoring package. 

    Once you have completed the second year, you can apply for an Innovator Visa. You will need to do this before your Start Up Visa expires. See more information about this at UKVI.

    If you have any questions about the scheme, please email the team on enterprise-support @brookes.ac.uk


    Email us enterprise-support@brookes.ac.uk

    Phone us +44 (0)1865 484380

    Visit us
    CLC 101
    Headington Campus
    Oxford OX3 0BP