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Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies

Innovator visa endorsing bodies is vital to attaining an innovator visa to establish a business in the UK. An endorsement letter from any certified endorsing body proves that your business is innovative and viable and can scale in the UK and globally.

For further information on innovator visa endorsement, innovator visa, and Start-Up visa, visit our website or call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

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About Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies

The innovator visa endorsing bodies are certified organisations authorised by the Home Office to assess and decide on business ideas that qualify as innovative, scalable, and viable in the UK market and overseas. The UK Government is keen on hosting innovators with innovative business ideas who wish to develop their business ventures in the UK. However, to ensure that these businesses are innovative and good for the UK economy, all must go through the endorsing bodies for endorsement.

An endorsement is a crucial requirement for eligibility to apply for an innovator visa. An endorsing body will consider your business for endorsement based on the following criteria:

  • You are a sole founder or member of an entrepreneurial team. If you are working with a team, each of you must satisfy the requirement for an innovator visa.
  • Your new business idea is genuine and yours. You must be the originator or a key founding team member if it already exists. You must have become a founding member before the full operation of the business.
  • Your business idea is innovative, scalable, and viable regardless of the sector, for example, finance, tech, medicine, and others.
  • You will not engage in other businesses or work beside your endorsed business.

As much as it is necessary to get an endorsement, it does not guarantee visa approval. The Home Office will assess your idea to ensure it meets the requirements of innovation and stability. You must also satisfy other requirements.

The innovator visa is for experienced business owners interested in establishing a business in the UK and not for Start-Up entrepreneurs.

Types of Innovator Visa Endorsement?

The innovator visa endorsement is in 3 categories

Innovator – New Business Endorsement

This category is for people applying to endorse a new business venture. If you have an existing trading business in the UK, you are still eligible, even if it is the business you wish to endorse or a previous one.

This category requires that you have an investment fund of £50,000. The investment fund can also include the fund you already invested into the business.

You must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must not have an existing grant of leave in the Innovator category.
  • Your new business must be different from the one that was previously considered for Innovator endorsement or at a previous point of contact with your endorsing body at the time of your grant of leave.

You can also apply under this category if you are a beneficiary of the Start-Up visa category and still focusing on the same line of business.

Same Business as Previous Endorsement

This category enables you to pursue endorsement of an existing business that was formerly endorsed under another visa category. In other words, you are eligible if you have a grant of leave under an Innovator or Start-Up visa and wish to apply for an innovator visa. The business must be the same as the one evaluated and endorsed for your grant of leave or at a touchpoint with your endorsing body in the course of your grant of leave.

You do not need to provide evidence of the £50,000 investment funds under this category.

Endorsement Settlement in the UK

This category is for endorsed business persons that have successfully operated in the UK for three years or more under the innovator visa route. Three years or more does not include the years under a Start-Up visa. It is important that your business demonstrates progressive growth that meets the requirements for a settlement endorsement.

How to Get an Innovator Visa Endorsement

Each endorsing body has its requirements and method of application. You must meet specific requirements to get an endorsement. You will go through a similar review as in the Start-Up endorsement route. However, expectations will be higher as you are expected to be more experienced and skilled.

The endorsing bodies will evaluate your business plan for innovation, viability, and scalability.

Innovation – the endorsing bodies will check if your business plan is innovative on the grounds that your business plan is authentic and meets the market needs or has a competitive advantage.

Viability – your business plan must be practical and feasible with the resources at your disposal. You must have or conscientiously acquire or develop the knowledge, skills, experience, and market awareness that are crucial to successfully establishing and operating your business.

Scalability – Your business plan must prove to be properly structured. It must indicate the potential to generate employment opportunities and contribute to growth in the UK and international markets.

Other evaluation checks the endorsing bodies will look into are:

  • You will dedicate your leave in the UK to developing your business in accordance with your business plan.
  • Your business in the UK will be an execution of the approved business plan. You can also make significant additions to the plan.
  • You will take full responsibility for your business plan execution.
  • You have £50,000 readily available and accessible to invest in your business. You do not necessarily need to prove that you have the fund to your endorsing body, as the Home Office will verify it. However, if your endorsing body requests proof, you might not need to provide full evidence to the Home Office during your visa application.
  • You must provide information and evidence on the sources of your funds.

If your business is to be established by a founding team, each of you applying for the endorsement must have £50,000 funds for investment.

There is no limit to the number of times you can get an endorsement. If your business plan does not scale and need to reapply for an endorsement, you can do so. However, you must present a new business idea and £50,000 fund.

Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies

There are two endorsing bodies for the innovator visa route

  • Business endorsing bodies.
  • Legacy endorsing bodies.

The legacy endorsing bodies do not accept new innovator endorsement applications but still retain their authority to maintain and monitor their existing endorsees.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies.

The Business Endorsing Bodies

The endorsing bodies are certified to utilise their capital and strategic expertise, business support services and diverse global affiliate network to attract and assess innovative business ideas that can scale and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.

The endorsing bodies are open to endorsing applicants with high-growth businesses from all sectors. However, some are specifically interested in globally ambitious tech business founders and early-stage dynamic and disruptive companies with technology and business strategy.

The following are the certified endorsing bodies:

Endorsing BodyLocationApplication Window & SectorApplication Restriction
The BakeryThe Bakery is in LondonThe Bakery only accepts applications from bona-fide entrepreneurs participating in its corporate innovation programmes.
Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions LtdBlue Orchid is situated in Liverpool. It endorses businesses in the West Midlands or North West.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.Blue Orchid only accepts applications from high-growth start-ups working within its existing client base. You must be a UK resident during your application.You must participate in its training programme, workshops, and mentorship.
BritbotsBritbot is situated in East Anglia.It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in robotics, automation and artificial intelligence sectors.Britbots only accepts applications from participants of its business mentoring programme.
Community and Business PartnersCB Partners is situated in Blackburn, Lancashire. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.CB Partners provides selected endorsement entrepreneurs participating in its support programme.
Consilium ConsultingConsilium is situated in Cardiff.It endorses businesses in Wales and England.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.Consilium only endorses members of its Mentorship Programme.
CyLonCyLon is situated in Witney, Oxfordshire.It only endorses entrepreneurs focused on high-impact technologies in the Cyber Security sector, such as innovative cyber start-up entrepreneurs with emerging cyber security companies.
Edinburgh InnovationsEdinburgh Innovations is in London. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK but prioritises Scotland.It endorses businesses in all sectors.Edinburgh Innovations only accepts applications from entrepreneurs with a close and verifiable relationship with the University.
Emsworth Corporate Planning (ECP)ECP is in Hampshire. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.ECP only endorses beneficiaries of its mentorship and business implementation programme.
First Corporate Finance (FCF)FCF is situated in London.It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.FCF only accepts applications from entrepreneurs participating in its business support program.
Founders FactoryFounders Factory is in London. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year.It endorses businesses in EdTech, Media, FinTech, AI & Big Data, Travel, Health & Wellness, Home, Retail, and Hygiene sectors.Founders Factory only accepts applications from its investee businesses.
Innovate BritainInnovate Britain is in London.It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year. It endorses businesses in all sectors, including Fashion, Infrastructure, Transport, Technology, Education, Manufacturing, and Fintech.Innovate Britain focuses more on applications from entrepreneurs participating in its mentorship programme. It also gives priority to referrals from Business Services Consultancy, InvestUK, and its Trusted Partner Network.Innovate Britain also accepts direct applications through its website.
Innovator InternationalInnovator International is in Preston and Lancashire. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.It only accepts applications from entrepreneurs participating in its programme.
KolliderKollider is situated in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in the digital, creative, and tech sectors.Kollider only accepts applications from entrepreneurs who are Resident Members of its Incubator programme.
Primus CapitalPrimus Capital is in London. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) or a related sector that is innovative and tech-oriented.Primus Capital has no application restriction but referred applicants from its professional business network, and existing clients enjoy special consideration.
Severn Seed Finance (SSF)SSF is in Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, and Leeds. It endorses businesses across the areas of the UK.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors, excluding retail tech.SSF only accepts applications from entrepreneurs who pass the SSF business evaluation assessment. It also accepts applications from participants of its business support programmes or certified business partners.
SFC CapitalSFC Capital is in London. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.The SFC Capital endorsement application is open to businesses with at least a team member in its broader network. Such a person must have obtained or is about to obtain an investment from or through SCF Capital. Or has registered or is registering into an entrepreneurial programme of SFC Academy. Or utilised or about using the startup support services.
StartUp Giants plcStartUp Giants is in London. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year. It endorses businesses in Supply Chain, Manufacturing, PropTech, SaaS, AdTech, Tech, and FinTech sectors.StartUp Giants only accepts applications from entrepreneurs participating in its programme.
Techstars LondonTechsters is in London. It endorses businesses worldwide.It endorses businesses in tech-related sectors.Techsters only accepts applications for entrepreneurs who are beneficiaries of its support programme and other people from its network.
The Shropshire Incubator (Operated by European Innovation Ltd)Shropshire Incubator is in Shropshire.It endorses businesses in Shropshire and across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year.It endorses businesses in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Technology, Internet of Things (IoT), and Mixed Reality (XR) sectors.Shropshire Incubator endorsement application is only open to early-stage Start-Ups and Scale Up businesses that are technology-centric with a focus on good and low-carbon solutions.
University of St AndrewsThe University of St Andrews is in St Andrews, Scotland. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK with a priority on Scotland.It accepts applications all through the year.It endorses businesses in all sectors.The University of St Andrews only accepts applications from entrepreneurs with a good and close relationship with the University and can prove it.
ZincZinc is in London. It endorses businesses across the regions of the UK.It accepts applications all through the year.It endorses businesses in Technology, Business, and Design sectors.Zinc only accepts applications from applicants participating in the Venture Builder Programme.

The list of endorsing bodies above is not exhaustive. You can find the complete list on the gov.uk. Before you apply to an endorsing body, check if the organisation is actively accepting applications or only maintaining endorsements with existing endorsees.

If you have any questions about Innovator Visa Endorsing Bodies, our team is happy to assist.

How can IAS Help

The vital requirement for an Innovator visa route is an endorsement letter. IAS team of experienced lawyers can assist you in creating a practical and feasible business plan that can be scalable, viable, and innovative.

An IAS lawyer will help you satisfy requirements from the Home Office and endorsing bodies. Also, we provide vital information on getting an endorsement and choosing the endorsing bodies.

You can easily access information on Innovator and Start-Up visa routes through our Application package. Our Advice Package provides assistance and guidance for a successful application process to the endorsing body and Home Office.

Visit our website or call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Endorsing bodies are organisations with approval to endorse, support, and monitor early-stage entrepreneurs seeking to establish a new or existing business in the UK under the Start-Up or Innovator visa.

To get a UK innovator visa endorsement, you must have an innovative business plan, £50,000 investment funds, and meet specific endorsing body requirements.

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