Careers Service


Graduate Entrepreneur visa

The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme, in partnership with The University of Manchester, is only open to either graduates or current students of The University of Manchester.

The University of Manchester is a partner university for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa (through UK Visas and Immigration).

This allows international graduates from The University of Manchester, who have a viable and innovative business idea, to be supported to develop a business in the UK in conjunction with The University.

The University is able to endorse up to 20 international graduates each year for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa sponsorship to develop a business in the UK. The candidate would then apply to UK Visas and Immigration for the visa, using this endorsement.

The visa will be issued for 12 months in the first instance (possibly extendable to 2 years). The University has established its own criteria, (in conjunction with UK Visas and Immigration) regarding how international graduates/business plans will be selected.

Please note, PhD students wishing to start their own business could also do so under the Doctoral Extension Scheme for up to 12 months before considering the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa or alternatives.

Please note that under this scheme, endorsed graduates are not permitted to work as a doctor or dentist in training, or as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. Applicants are also unable to score points for any business or business idea that engages in property management or property development.

What is on offer?

  • The opportunity to be endorsed by The University of Manchester for a 1 year Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa in the UK which, if successful, will allow you to set-up and develop a Manchester-based business. Extendable to 2 years subject to progress made.
  • The support of The University of Manchester’s Enterprise Centre, to develop your business – including mentoring expertise to help your business and if your visa application is successful, incubator/office facilities (you will have to cover the cost of your place in the incubator - see below for more details).
  • A route to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, subject to an approved funding source being secured after this time.
  • The opportunity to work up to 20 hours per week outside the business in order to support yourself financially.

Who can get involved?

If you have already been awarded an UK recognised bachelor's degree, master's degree or PhD from an authorised UK higher education institution including The University of Manchester then you do not need to have completed your current programme of study at The University of Manchester before submitting your application. If your application is successful, we can choose to endorse you straight away.

If you haven't previously been awarded a bachelor's degree, master’s degree or PhD from an authorised UK higher education institution, then you will have to have completed your current programme of study at Manchester before we can endorse you.

However, we are able to review and comment on your proposal before graduation, and hopefully this helps to improve the quality of your proposal. To request a meeting please email m.henery@manchester.ac.uk together with your pitch deck. It doesn’t have to be complete but do what you can to complete using the Compiling a pitch deck template to guide you. This is the quickest way for us to become familiar with your proposal before meeting, thus ensuring that all parties get the best from the meeting.

Applicants can be either in / outside the UK at the time of application but please note that we are unable to support anyone who is neither a graduate nor a current student of the University of Manchester.

How to apply

The final application deadline for this academic year 2017-18 is 26 February 2018. Should you get through to the next stage, you will be asked to present to a panel.

Applicants will need to provide evidence that they have a genuine and credible business idea, and that they will spend the majority of their working time on developing the business. The first stage will be to complete and send in your application which should include:

Your commitment/responsibilities

  • A commitment to develop your business in the Greater Manchester area.
  • Your co-operation to comply with the UK government’s Tier 1 regulations – including regular communication with The University; attendance at / use of the incubator facilities and regular update reports on progress.
  • An annual payment from yourself to cover use of the incubator and mentoring services of the Centre to support your business. Estimated costs are between £2,000-£5,000 per year and will be clarified on application.
  • Participation in scheduled enterprise events and training from the Centre, where appropriate.

Please note your visa will also be subject to successful visa application to UK Visas & Immigration and compliance with their other requirements.

Improving your chances

  • Your business proposal - Seek advice on putting together an effective business proposal. Manchester Enterprise Centre have a range of materials to help including Compiling a pitch deck document, which outlines many of the key elements to include in your Powerpoint presentation which will be a key part of your application.
  • Your application - Involvement in other workshops and events at the Enterprise Centre or similar, to demonstrate your commitment / enthusiasm, may help your application.

Next steps

If you would like to receive more information about this visa option with The University of Manchester or have any questions, please contact the University’s Enterprise Centre: enterprise@manchester.ac.uk

Application deadlines

The final application deadline for this academic year 2017-18 is Feb 26th 2018.