Enterprise support

  • Start Up Visa

    We’re looking for non-EEA (European Economic Area) international graduates with exceptional business ideas.

    Are you graduating this year, or have you previously graduated from Brookes? Start up your own business in the UK with the support of our Start Up Visa scheme.

    The Start Up Visa scheme gives non-EEA International graduates the chance to develop innovative business ideas and learn essential entrepreneurial skills.

    If selected, you’ll be endorsed by Oxford Brookes University and supported in the application for a Start Up Visa, which gives you two years to stay in the UK and work on your business.

    The scheme gives you the chance to build your business under the support and guidance of our business mentors. Business experience isn’t necessary, but you’ll need to be motivated, resilient and determined to learn!


    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.

    Above all, make your business proposal genuine, credible and innovative.

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

  • Application timeline and fees

    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, this can be by Skype if you are not in the UK. 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 you will be required to make a non-refundable payment of £600 (£500 + VAT). Our mentors 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.

    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 make a payment of £1200 (£1000 + VAT)

    It is then the applicant’s responsibility to submit their application to UK Visas and Immigration Service (UKVI).

    It’s crucial when making your application that you comply exactly with the requirements of UKVI when you submit the documentation. If you need extra support in the process, you can get in touch with the International Student Advisory Team (ISAT) here at Oxford Brookes.

    Additional fees are payable to the UK Visa and Immigration service (UKVI).

  • Programme timeline

    Once you are part of the 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.

    Once the scheme starts, you’ll be monitored by the university - this is just protocol. As part of the Start Up Visa conditions set out by UKVI, you’ll need at least four reviews with Oxford Brookes University each year.

    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 there will be an additional fee of £1,800.

    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