Guidance

Entrepreneurs setting up in the UK

Published

1. Overview

If you’re looking to start or expand your company in another country, the UK is an ideal place. Reasons for this include:

  • the UK has one of the lowest corporation tax rates in the G20
  • you can register a company within 48 hours
  • 4 of the world’s top 10 universities are based in the UK
  • the labour force is the second largest in the Europe
  • the UK government offers support to start-ups and entrepreneurs

Government support for start-up companies and entrepreneurs includes access to mentoring programmes and funding through working with the private sector.

2. Help for start-ups and entrepreneurs

Introduction to Global Entrepreneur Programme

UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) helps overseas entrepreneurs and early stage technology businesses or start-ups that want to relocate their business to the UK.

The programme has so far helped to:

  • relocate 340 businesses to the UK
  • create over 1000 jobs in the UK economy
  • raise over £1 billion of private investment for companies

Support is free and includes:

  • help to develop business plans
  • assistance with relocating to the UK
  • providing introductions to investors
  • guidance on how to grow internationally
  • mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs
  • continued help once located in the UK

In return for this support, overseas entrepreneurs are encouraged to set up their headquarters in the UK.

2.1 How it works

To qualify for GEP support, you must be:

  • an overseas based entrepreneur or technology business
  • looking to establish your global business headquarters in the UK

A team of 18 successful entrepreneurs, known as ‘dealmakers’, will help people set up and expand their businesses from the UK.

Email info@entrepreneurs.gov.uk for more information about the GEP programme.

3. Endorsement for an entrepreneur visa

Entrepreneurs with businesses which have high growth potential can apply for an Entrepreneur visa to come to the UK. To do this they need to have received funding of at least £50,000 from an approved organisation (venture capital firm, UK government, or through a UKTI endorsed seed competition).

UKTI has endorsed certain Seed Competitions which support applications for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for entry to the UK.

3.1 TechStars London

TechStars is the number 1 start-up accelerator in the world. They are very selective – whilst thousands of companies apply each year, they only invest money and time in about ten companies per program location. Their selection rates are lower than the Ivy League, so you have to be among the best to earn investment from TechStars.

Email london@techstars.com

3.2 Oxygen Accelerator

Oxygen Accelerator is a tech accelerator. A 13-week intensive mentor led bootcamp, followed by 13-weeks of incubation that culminates with a series of investor days where they help you pitch to a large, carefully selected group of Angel investors, VCs and Private Equity groups for next stage funding. They receive applications from all over the world and hand-pick the very best ten teams to work with per programme.

Email hello@oxygenaccelerator.com

3.3 Seedcamp

Seedcamp is an early-stage micro seed investment and mentoring programme which makes investment decisions several times throughout the year based on the winners of its events.

Seedcamp was created to jumpstart the entrepreneurial community in Europe by connecting next generation developers and entrepreneurs with over 600 mentors from a network of company builders; including seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, product experts, HR and PR specialists, marketers, lawyers, recruiters, journalists and venture capitalists.

Following investment, a new Seedcamp company is included in an intensive year-long programme of events focusing on all the aspects of company’s development.

Email visa@seedcamp.com

3.4 Wayra

Wayra aims to identify talent and promote innovation by accelerating digital business ideas from concept to reality. They are convinced that growth opportunities come from ideas and that talent does not always find the channel, financing and support to move forwards. Wayra was created based on that conviction.

Wayra is a Telefonica backed initiative where only the very highest calibre of teams are chosen for the 6 month programme. In exchange for a convertible note, start ups will receive up to £50,000, state of the art office space, expert support and mentoring and access to the global Wayra network of 12 Academies throughout Europe and Latin America.

Email mentors_uk@wayra.org or visit their website

3.5 Collider

Collider is a B2Brand accelerator dedicated to startups which help brands understand, engage with and sell to customers. By mobilising a pot of cash, a crack team of coaches, mentors and brands, and a packed intensive programme, we’re able to support our startups to grow into sustainable businesses. Over the course of our year-long programme, our teams transform from startups to businesses, from cash burning to revenue earning, putting them on the road from MVP to IPO.

Email hello@collider.io

Seed funds and accelerator programmes wanting to know more about endorsement requirements should contact UKTI by emailing info@entrepreneurs.gov.uk.