Before you can make your visa application to the Home Office for an Innovator Founder visa, you first have to secure endorsement from an authorised endorsement body.
In this guide, we explain the endorsement process and share tips on how to maximise your prospects of obtaining endorsement for your business.
What is endorsement?
Endorsement refers to approval from a Home Office-authorised body that a business meets the criteria for the Innovator Founder visa of being:
- New – the business cannot already be trading.
- Innovative – the business idea must be original and demonstrably different from anything on the market.
- Viable – you have to show the business idea is plausible and your plans are achievable and realistic.
- Scalable – you also have to show plans for growth and to create jobs.
Which are the Innovator Founder visa endorsing bodies?
Currently, there are four organisations that have been authorised by the Home Office to endorse businesses for an Innovator Founder visa:
- UK Endorsing Services
- Innovator International
- Envestors Limited
- The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP) – only open to endorse applicants who have already been invited to participate on their programme.
This list is subject to change, and the Home Office has authority to remove or add bodies to this list.
Which endorsing body should I apply to for the Innovator Founder visa?
You will need to research the endorsing bodies to determine which to apply to. There are a number of factors you will want to consider when choosing which endorsing body. For example, some endorsing bodies have a specific sector focus, such as healthcare or technology. If your business falls within a particular sector, it may be worth considering an endorsing body that specialises in that sector.
Some endorsing bodies are located in specific parts of the UK. If you are planning to start your business in a particular region, it may be worth considering an endorsing body that is located in that region.
Endorsing bodies can also charge different fees for their services. It is important to compare the fees of different endorsing bodies before making a decision.
You may also want to understand the timelines for each endorsing body, as these can differ.
Types of Innovator Founder endorsemsent
There are three types of Innovator Founder endorsement:
- New business endorsement: This is for applicants who are starting a new business in the UK.
- Same business endorsement: This is for applicants who are already running a business in the UK and who are applying to extend their Innovator Founder visa.
- Settlement application endorsement: This is for applicants who have been in the UK on an Innovator Founder visa for three years and who are applying for permanent settlement (ILR).
To apply for a new business endorsement, you will need to have a business idea that is innovative, viable, and scalable. You will also need to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your business while you are in the UK.
To apply for a same business endorsement, you will need to show that your business has made significant progress since you were first granted an Innovator Founder visa. You will also need to demonstrate that you are continuing to innovate and grow your business.
To apply for a settlement application endorsement, you will need to show that you have met all of the requirements for the Innovator Founder visa and that you are now eligible for permanent settlement (ILR).
You can only apply for one type of Innovator Founder endorsement at a time.
How much do I need to invest for the Innovator Founder visa?
There is no requirement to invest a specific amount of money in order to qualify for an Innovator Founder visa. However, you will need to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself and your business while you are in the UK.
The Home Office will assess your financial situation on a case-by-case basis, but they will typically want to see that you have at least £1,270 in personal savings held for a 28-day period prior to the date of application.
If you are also bringing your family members to the UK, you will need to show that you have enough money to support them as well. The Home Office will typically want to see that you have an additional £2,840 for each of your family members.
In addition to your personal savings, you may also need to show that you have access to other funds to support your business. For example, you may have investors who are willing to invest in your business, or you may have a grant from a government agency.
If you are unsure how much money you need to invest in order to qualify for an Innovator Founder visa, you should speak to an immigration advisor. They will be able to assess your individual circumstances and advise you on how much money you need to show.
How to write an Innovator Founder business plan
The endorphin bodies have their own rules and requirements for the endorsement process, but these will typically include the applicant submitting a business plan.
The business plan should outlines your goals and how you plan to achieve them. It is a vital part of the Innovator Founder endorsement application process, as it demonstrates to the endorsing body that you have a well-thought-out and viable business idea.
The contents of your plan will depend on factors such as the nature of the business, but as a minimum, you should include:
- Executive summary: The executive summary should provide a brief overview of your business, including your mission statement, products or services, target market, and competitive advantage.
- Business description: The business description should provide more detail about your business, including its history, products or services, and how it operates.
- Market analysis: The market analysis should identify your target market and analyze the competitive landscape. It should also assess the market opportunity for your business.
- Business model: The business model should explain how your business will generate revenue and profit. It should also outline your cost structure.
- Management team: The management team section should introduce your key team members and highlight their experience and qualifications.
- Financial projections: The financial projections should include your revenue, expenses, and cash flow forecasts for the next three to five years.
When writing your business plan, be clear, concise, and realistic. You should also avoid using jargon or technical language that the endorsing body may not understand.
Innovator visa endorsement FAQs
Who is eligible for innovator founder endorsement?
To be eligible for the Innovator Founder endorsement, you will need to show that your business idea is viable, scalable and innovative.
What is endorsement for innovator founder visa?
Endorsement refers to formal approval by an authorised body that a business idea meets the requirements of the Innovator Founder visa. Before you can apply for an Innovator Founder visa, you must have secured endorsement for your business idea.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.