Press release

World’s top graduate entrepreneurial talent hits UK shores

The 10 latest international start-ups to choose the UK as a base for their budding business have been announced today (14 March 2014).

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


27 graduate entrepreneurs make up the start-up teams from 15 different countries worldwide, including Brazil, India, China, the USA, Jamaica, Romania, Denmark, Sweden and Argentina.

More than 1,500 graduate entrepreneurs from over 93 countries have entered the first year of UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Sirius Programme. The pioneering scheme invites talented young entrepreneurs with world-class start-up ideas to get their business off the ground in the UK, helping boost Britain’s enterprise community, creating jobs and inviting foreign investment. Of these applicants, over 30 teams will relocate to the UK by June 2014.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston said:

The Sirius Programme backs the most talented, hard-working, innovative start-ups with the potential to become the Facebook or Dyson of their generation. We are offering the most comprehensive start-up support package in Europe and 1 of the best in the world.

Ensuring that the UK becomes the country of choice for talented graduates to start and grow their businesses will help economic growth, boost productivity and create jobs.

Successful business ideas and inventions in the latest round of applications include:

  • a wearable Oyster card-style wallet that can be used to pay for anything
  • an online tool for booking meeting rooms, work spaces and event venues
  • a photography marketplace that enables image buyers to set any brief and have bespoke images delivered by photographers from anywhere in the world

Alexis Garavel, a graduate of the French Aerospace Engineering School and a co-founder of SunEos, 1 of the winning Sirius Programme teams said:

Until now, contactless payment has been the preserve of the major card providers and SMEs haven’t been able to access the market. SunEos will change all that, at the same time as revolutionising the UK’s social scene. At a SunEos-powered gig, festival or party you don’t need a wallet, you don’t need to queue - you can just concentrate on having a great time. Event organisers can access an unprecedented level of intelligence about what their customers want from their events, enabling them to cut out waste and design experiences that perfectly chime with consumer needs.

It’s very exciting for SunEos to be part of the Sirius Programme especially as we get to own the business 100% - 1 of the key benefits of the programme is that we don’t need to give up any equity. We can’t wait to start tapping into the extensive networks the Sirius Programme offers and to start growing our business with confidence knowing we have the support of our Accelerator and UKTI. Young people are our early adopters so, with the most concentrated student scene in Europe, the UK is by far the best place to establish our business.

The Sirius Programme aims to attract hundreds of talented entrepreneurs into the UK in its first 2 years. Advantages of starting up in the UK include access to 500 million customers in Europe (62 million in the UK) and the fact that these consumers tend to be early adopters, keen to test and try new innovations.

To register your interest in the Sirius Programme visit or follow @SiriusProgramme on Twitter.

Notes to editors

1. The Sirius Programme start ups

The start ups joining the second round of the Sirius Programme include:

  • Adverdose: Italian entrepreneurs, Paolo La Paglia and Mario Dughi are aiming to reinvent digital advertising with their video content platform that rewards users each time they interact with advertising content
  • Edukit: The global team behind Edukit hails from Jamaica, the USA, China and St Kitts and Nevis. They’ve created an online platform that matches disadvantaged students with programmes run by charities and social enterprises that offer specialist educational and personal development
  • Fresh4Cast: Romanian Mihai Florin Ciobanu and Brazilian Francisco Teixeira de Goeya want to revolutionise the international trade of fruit and vegetables with fresh4cast, a service that will provide aggregate data on shipment, stock and sales allowing importers and exporters on different continents to make more informed decisions about what to buy, where to sell, and at what price
  • iGBL: This team from India, Ukraine and Australia aim to revolutionise university teaching by enabling all lecturers to take a ‘science experiment’ approach to teaching. By integrating experiments, polls and instant feedback into teaching, students learn by doing, increasing performance
  • PhotoPitch: The new Flickr, PhotoPitch is the brainchild of Danish trio Linisha Palm, Jens Axel So and Mikkel Lonnov. It sets out to eradicate staid stock images by enabling image buyers to commission bespoke budget images from photographers anywhere in the world
  • RingCaptcha: This innovative tech start up from Argentinean entrepreneurs Mariano Fernandez, Nicolas Messina and Martin Cocaro will revolutionise the phone verification process for websites and apps
  • Sliide: South African entrepreneur, Corbyn Munnik and the UK’s Frankie Kearney have created Sliide, a unique smartphone application that allows the end user to get paid for doing something they do everyday - unlocking their smartphone - whilst giving brands the opportunity to distribute content to incredibly targeted audiences
  • SunEos: French duo, Henry de Bennetot and Alexis Garavel’s business will revolutionise the way we socialise. Eliminating the need for wallets and queuing, SunEos is a fully integrated cashless payment system combined with e-wallet wristbands for any social event
  • Italian trio Lorenzo Bruno, Giuseppe Labanca and Paola Santoro’s business means developers can build, launch and maintain educational apps at a reduced cost and accelerated timeframe to take advantage of this growing market
  • Zipcube: an online marketplace for meeting rooms, work spaces and event venues from French-born entrepreneurs Guillame Santacruz and Yacine Rezgui and Hekla Goodman from Sweden

2.Sirius Programme

The 12-month programme sees the successful teams based around the UK in one of the Sirius Programme Accelerators:

  • Accelerator Academy, London
  • Entrepreneurial Spark, Glasgow
  • The Bakery, London
  • Oxygen Accelerator, Birmingham
  • Ignite 100, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

These organisations are the backbone of the programme, as they take the start up teams and nurture and develop them, offering mentoring, workshops and office space. This collaborative environment where like-minded entrepreneurs come together, will enable teams to develop their business concepts, help them to become investor-ready, and ultimately, support them in making their dreams a reality.

3.In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70 million for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce.

4.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

5.UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at

Published 14 March 2014