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Start-up Visa Endorsing Bodies: Up-to-Date List

If you are an entrepreneur with an innovative business idea and looking to take the UK Start-up visa route, you must get an endorsement from an endorsing body. An endorsement does not guarantee visa approval but is a crucial requirement for start-up visa eligibility.

For further information on start-up visa endorsement, start-up visa, and innovator 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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What Is Start-up Visa Endorsing Bodies?

Note: The Start-Up visa route will no longer accept new applications after 13 July 2023. Applications made before then must have an endorsement from an authorised body issued before 13 April 2023. If you wish to immigrate to the UK to start a business, you can instead apply for the Innovator visa (now known as the Innovator Founder visa).

Start-up Visa endorsing bodies are organisations with official permission to issue approval to start-up visa applicants. The Home Office must approve these endorsing bodies. Thus, before applying to any endorsing bodies, ensure it is one of the approved endorsing bodies.

How to Get a Start-up Visa Endorsement

Overview

To satisfy the criteria for getting a start-up endorsement, it is important that you have a business plan that indicates the following:

  • You have new innovative business ideas.
  • You are a sole founder or part of an entrepreneurial team.
  • Your business idea is viable and scalable in the sector you want to establish your business.

The bottom line is that your business idea has the capacity to integrate and contribute to the UK economy completely.

Each endorsing body has its measures for assessing business plans for approval. However, they all check for three key criteria:

Innovation

The endorsing bodies will check for the following conditions:

  • Your business has something unique that sets it apart from similar local businesses other than being a mere competitor.
  • Your business satisfies a need gap in the UK market that is yet to be fulfilled.
  • Your business plan substantially contributes something unique to the already established UK or international business market.

Viability

The endorsing bodies will check for the following conditions:

  • You carried out thorough market research.
  • You have realistic and sustainable product goals.
  • You have a long-term vision and plan for your business.

Scalability

The endorsing bodies will evaluate your business plan to determine if:

  • It has business traction potential.
  • It has business growth potential.
  • It has the capacity to scale in the UK market successfully.

Ensure that your business plan satisfies the requirement above to get an endorsement and visa approval from the Home Office.

List of the Endorsing Bodies

The Start-up endorsing bodies are in three categories, which are:

  • Business.
  • Higher Education.
  • Legacy.

We will provide a list for each one below.

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

Business Endorsing Bodies

The UK Government certifies business organisations to identify and endorse people or groups with ambitious and innovative business ideas. This category covers certified organisations that assist Start-Up applicants and scale enterprises in achieving competitive advantage and accelerating growth.

Overview

To ensure entrepreneurs have business ideas that tick the boxes of scalability, viability, and innovation, the endorsing organisation provides Start-Up business support services, an accelerated global entrepreneurship programme, and access to a diverse global affiliate network.

Before applying to any business endorsing body, ensure it has capital and strategic expertise and a high growth business accelerator that aligns with your business idea.

The requirements of each organisation vary. Some of the organisations are open to endorsing in all sectors. At the same time, some are focused on specific sectors, such as a globally ambitious tech business, including retail tech, IoT, Smart Cities, and more.

The following are business organisations that grant endorsements to early-stage companies:

Endorsing BodiesLocationApplication Intake & SectorRestrictions & Requirements
Blue Orchid Enterprise Solutions LtdBlue Orchid is in Liverpool, Solihull.
It endorses business one North West, West Midlands.
Application is open throughout the year.
The Blue Orchid endorses Start-Up founders from all sectors
It endorses only high-growth businesses that are within its client base. You must be living in the UK at the period of your application. You must participate in its business Start-Up training programme.
Boardroom AdvisorsBoardroom Advisors is situated in England.
It is open to applications in all UK regions.
Application is open all year round.Boardroom Advisors provides endorsement across all sectors.You will need to provide information on your investment funds and business summary. You will also need to upload your brief business plan, pitch deck, and other supporting documents.
BritbotsBritbot is situated in East Anglia.
It is open to endorsing Start-Ups in all UK regions.
Application is open all year round.Britbots endorsement programme is only open to AI, robotics, or automation businesses. To apply, visit Britbots website and click on the “Endorse” section to apply.You must satisfy their internal due diligence process. You must also completely meet the requirements for a UK Start-Up Visa.
Community and Business PartnersCommunity and Business Partners is in Blackburn, Lancashire. It endorses business in all UK regions.Application is open throughout the year.It endorses business in all sectors.CB Partners offers endorsement on a selective basis in the UK.
ConsiliumConsilium is situated in Cardiff.
It is open to applications in all UK regions.
Application is open all year round.
It endorses businesses in Wales and England
To get an endorsement from Consilium, you must first be a member of the Consilium Mentoring Programme and must have passed their due diligence procedures.
CylonCylon is situated in Oxfordshire.Cylon exclusively invests in a select few high-calibre emerging cyber security companies. Your Start-Up company must be of exceptional quality to be approved by Cylon.
DRS Business SolutionDRS is situated in BirminghamIt endorses across all UK regions.Applications are open throughout the year.It endorses Start-Ups in all sectors in the UK region.You are only eligible for endorsement applications if you are part of the DRS client base. If not, you will have to apply for their service to become a client. You will be assessed for Innovation, Viability and Scalability upon successful application.
Edinburgh InnovationsEdinburgh Innovations is in Edinburgh.It endorses business in all UK regions with particular consideration for Scotland.Application is open throughout the year.It endorses business in all sectors.Edinburgh only accepts applicants with close relationships with the University of Edinburgh. You must be able to provide evidence of your relationship with the University.
Entrepreneur First (EF)Entrepreneur First is in London.It endorses business in Greater London.Application is open throughout the year.
It endorses businesses in tech-oriented sectors.
Entrepreneur First only accepts applications from those who are participants in its programme. You must have obtained and taken a position on the EF programme. You must sign an offer letter to affirm your attendance and businesses sponsored by Entrepreneur First.
EnvestorsEnvestors is situated in London.It endorses Start-Ups in all sectors across the UK regions.Applications are open throughout the year.It endorses Start-Ups in all sectors in the UK region.Envestors only accepts applications from exceptional Start-Up entrepreneurs with a great market fit.You will need to provide information on your business concept, business benefits, growth strategy, and funding required for the first three years of operating your business in the UK.Visit Envestors website to apply.
Fashion AngelFashion Angel is in London.It endorses business in all UK regions.Application is open throughout the year.It endorses business in the fashion and textiles sectors.Fashion Angel accepts applications from entrepreneurs participating in its programmes – mentorship or business support.
Fortunis Capital LtdFortunis Capital is in LondonIt endorses business in all UK regions.Application is open throughout the year. It endorses business in all sectors.Fortunis Capital accepts applications on the condition that the endorsement will positively impact the larger society.
Innovate BritainInnovate Britain is in London.It endorses business in all UK regions.Application is open throughout the year.It endorses business in all sectors, such as Manufacturing Technology, Education, Fintech, Fashion, Infrastructure, and Transport.Innovate Britain application is open to all applicants but gives priority to applicants participating in its mentorship program and entrepreneurs with referrals fromBusiness Services Consultancy.InvestUK.Trusted Partner Network.
Innovator InternationalInnovator International endorses business in all UK regions. It is situated in Lancashire and Preston.Innovator International takes applications in April. It is open to businesses in all sectors.Innovator International only accepts applications from its clients enrolled in the Innovator International programme.
Invest Northern IrelandInvest Northern is situated in Belfast.It endorses Start-Ups in Northern Ireland.Applications are open throughout the year.Invest Northern Ireland welcomes business ideas from all sectors.Applications for Start-Up visa endorsement are only open to Invest Northern Ireland accelerator programme participants or a request from client companies only.It looks out for high-potential companies that have the capacity to create new innovative products and services.
MedCityMedCity is situated in London.It endorses businesses in the Greater South East of England.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses businesses in all life sciences.MedCity will only work with you directly, so you don’t need lawyers or consultants.Contact Medcity in person to get directions on how to get a Start-Up endorsement.
NexusNexus is situated in London. It endorses business in all UK regions.Nexus takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in Film, Event Management, Fashion & Textiles, VR, Music, Tech, Dance, and Media sectors.Nexus only accepts applications from entrepreneurs enrolled in its Incubator or Accelerator International programme before applying for a Start-Up visa.
North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC)BIC is situated in Sunderland and Darlington.It provides endorsement in North East England.It accepts applications throughout the year.It endorses Start-Ups in all sectors in the UK region.To access endorsement under BIC, you must be willing to relocate to North East England. You must establish a physical or drop-in base at a BIC facility in Sunderland or Darlington.
Primus CapitalPrimus is situated in London.
It endorses across all UK regions.
Application is open throughout the year.It endorses businesses in the technology, media and telecommunication sectors.  Or any sector that is innovative and tech-focused.Although anyone can apply, priority is given to existing clients and prospects with referrals from Primus Capital’s professional business network.You can get information on how to apply for an endorsement on Primus Capital’s endorsement page or contact them directly to apply or send them an email at [email protected].
Queensbury ConsultingQueensbury Consulting is situated in Milton Keynes, London.It endorses business in all UK regions.Queensbury takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.The Queensbury endorsement application has no restrictions.
The Royal Society of EdinburghRoyal Society of Edinburgh is situated in Edinburgh.It endorses business in Scotland.It is open to businesses in all sectors.RSE only accepts applications from entrepreneurs with the RSE Enterprise Fellowship.
Sapphire Capital Partners LLPSapphire Capital is situated in London.It endorses business in all UK regions.Sapphire Capital takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Sapphire Capital endorsement application has no restrictions.
Schoolgate Accounting ServicesSchoolgate Accounting is situated in London.It endorses business in all UK regions.Schoolgate takes applications throughout the year. It is open to businesses in all sectors.Schoolgate only accepts applications from entrepreneurs that can demonstrate entrepreneurial and growth skills.
Scottish EDGEScottish Edge is situated in Glasgow.It endorses business in headquarters in Scotland.Scottish Edge takes applications twice yearly – January to early March, late July to early September.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Only EDGE winners are eligible for its endorsement.
SeedcampSeedcamp is situated in London.It endorses across all UK regions.It is open to businesses in all sectors.
The Global Entrepreneurs Programme (GEP)It is open to businesses in all sectorsThe endorsement application is only open to entrepreneurs who are participants of the Global Entrepreneur Programme. You must also be able to prove that you are eligible for a Start-Up visa.
The Shropshire Incubator (Operated by European Innovation Ltd)Shropshire Incubator is situated in Shropshire.
It endorses business in Shropshire and across the UK regions.
The Shropshire Incubator takes applications throughout the year. It is open to businesses in Technology, Mixed Reality (XR), Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) sectors.Application is open to early-stage Start-Ups and scale-up businesses operating in particular technological fields. It is important that your business prioritises technology for good and low-carbon solutions.To apply for a Start-Up endorsement, contact them for an initial business questionnaire. Afterwards, they will reach out to you to provide information on the application process from start to finish.
The Start-Up RaceStart-Up Race is based in London and Edinburgh.Application is open throughout the year. It is open to all sectors and endorses innovative business Start-Ups across the UK regions.To apply for endorsement, send your contact information to The Start-Up Race. They will send you directions on applying for an endorsement. Your business plan must satisfy the innovation, viability, and scalability requirement before sending your contact details to them. You must also pass their Visa Endorsement Readiness Test.

Higher Education Endorsing Bodies

The UK government grants higher education providers the approval to endorse their students and alumni with future-proof business ideas. While most of the higher education bodies endorse their students and alumni, some accept applications from entrepreneurs with no affiliation with them.

The following are approved higher education institutions eligible to grant Start-Ups endorsements.

Endorsing BodiesLocationIntake Window & SectorRestrictions & Requirements
Arts University BournemouthArts University is situated in Poole, Christchurch, and Bournemouth.It endorses business in England and Wales.Arts University takes applications in April. It is open to businesses in Advanced Manufacturing, Creative and Performing Arts, and Digital sectors.Arts University only accepts applications from its students and international alumni.
Aston UniversityAston University is situated in Birmingham.It endorses business in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP area.Aston University takes applications only in April, June and September.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Application is only open to graduates of Aston University with BSEEN-accepted business proposals within the last five years.
Brunel University LondonBrunel University is situated in Uxbridge, London.It endorses business across the UK regions.Brunel University takes applications only in May and June.
It is open to businesses in all sectors.
You are only eligible for endorsement if you are a graduate of Brunel University London. You must have graduated within the last 12 months prior to your application.
Application is also open to existing students that are due to graduate in the summer. You can apply for the endorsement scheme in May and June. Upon successful application, your Start-Up endorsement will kick off immediately after you have been conferred your degree.
Coventry UniversityCoventry University is situated in Coventry.It endorses across all UK regions.Coventry University takes applications in April.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Coventry University only accepts applications from current students and graduates (not more than two years).
London School of Economics and Political SciencesLSE is situated in Central London It endorses business in all regions of the UK.LSE only accepts applications twice a year – February and October. It endorses business from all sectors.You must be an alumnus of LSE. You can also apply if you are a key member or co-founder of an LSE alumni team.
Durham UniversityDurham University is situated in Durham. It endorses business in all regions of the UK.Durham University accepts applications throughout the year. It endorses business from all sectors.Start-Up visa endorsement opportunities are only open to eligible graduating students and graduates of Durham University.You can contact the Durham business development team for information on how to apply and other requirements.
Goldsmiths University of LondonGoldsmith University is situated in London.It endorses business in all regions of the UK.Goldsmiths University accepts applications once a year. It endorses business from all sectors.Application is only open to eligible graduating students or graduates of the Goldsmiths University of London interested in establishing a new business in the UK with the assistance of the University.
Hult International Business SchoolHult is situated in London.Hult endorses business in all regions of the UK.Hult endorses businesses from all sectors.Start-Up endorsement applications are only open to Hult International Business School graduates. You must have obtained your degree no more than two years before application. Other requirements for eligibility apply.
Kingston UniversityKingston University is situated in Kingston.It endorses businesses across all UK regions.Kingston University takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Kingston University only accepts applications from its alumni that are sole business owners or have part ownership. You must have taken part in one of its fast-track programmes.
Leeds Beckett UniversityLeeds Beckett is situated in Leeds.It endorses across all UK regions.Leeds Beckett takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectorsLeeds Beckett only accepts applications from its students or alumni that satisfy the UKVI requirements. You must first submit your business plan.
Newcastle UniversityNewcastle University is situated in Newcastle upon Tyne.It endorses business in Newcastle upon Tyne.Newcastle University takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in advanced manufacturing, digital, tech, culture and creative arts, healthcare and life sciences, and offshore energy technologies sectors.Newcastle University only accepts applications from its international students graduating and graduates of not more than three years.
Oxford Brookes UniversityBrookes is based in London.Brookes only endorses businesses that can actively support the entrepreneurial community in Oxfordshire and Oxford Brookes University.It is open to sectors related to creating a digital or tech solution.Start-Up endorsement applications are open three times a year – April, September, and January.Applications are only open to Oxford Brookes Alumni and non-Brookes applicants that are essential members and co-founders of a Brookes team.
Queen’s University BelfastQueen’s University is situated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It endorses business in Northern Ireland.Queen’s University takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Queen’s University only accepts applications from its students and graduates of not more than one year.
Ravensbourne University LondonRavensbourne University is situated in Aberdeen.It endorses business in Scotland.Ravensbourne University takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Ravensbourne University only accepts applications from Robert Gordon University students and graduates with a business that has been enrolled in the RGU Start-Up Accelerator Programme.
SOAS, University of LondonSOAS  is situated in London.It endorses business in London.It is open to businesses in all sectors, with special priority on businesses supporting the values and missions of the SOAS.SOAS only accepts applications from its current and graduating students and new graduates.
The Robert Gordon UniversityRobert Gordon University is based in Scotland.It endorses businesses in all regions of the UK.Robert Gordon endorses businesses from all sectors.Start-Up endorsement is only open to Robert Gordon University graduates participating in the Start-Up Accelerator Programme.
University of BathUniversity of Bath is situated in Bath.Bath takes applications throughout the year.Bath is open to businesses in Advanced Engineering, Sustainable Tech, Digital Innovation, Health Tech, and Immersive Tech sectors.Bath only accepts applications from entrepreneurs that graduated from the University of Bath not more than two years and satisfy SETsquared membership requirements.
University of BradfordUniversity of Bradford is situated in Bradford.It endorses businesses in Bradford and the local region.Bradford takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Bradford only accepts applications from eligible entrepreneurs from any university willing to reside and set up their enterprise in Bradford.
The University of BuckinghamBuckingham is situated in Buckingham.It endorses business across the UK region.Buckingham takes applications throughout the year.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Buckingham only accepts applications from its alumni and persons with exceptional talents.
University of East AngliaEast Angelia is situated in Norwich.It endorses business across the UK region.East Angelia takes applications in July and November.It is open to businesses in all sectors.East Angelia only accepts applications from its alumni.
University of GlasgowThe University of Glasgow is situated in Glasgow.It endorses business in Scotland but also endorses across UK regions under the condition of maintaining consistent contact with the University.Gaslow takes applications in July, with the panel sitting in July, September and November. You must participate in Gaslow’s Summer Workshop Programme. You must attend six workshops or more unless you live outside the UK.It is open to businesses in all sectors.The University of Glasgow only accepts applications from its alumni and alumni of the Glasgow School of Art. Also, graduates who demonstrated a genuine interest in the activities of Student Enterprise during their study program.
University of GreenwichGreenwich is situated in London.It endorses business in the South East and London.Greenwich takes applications twice a year – April and September.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Greenwich only accepts applications from its current students and graduates.
University of RoehamptonRoehampton is situated in London.It endorses business in Greater London and the South-East.Roehampton takes applications throughout the year. You must show interest in applying four months before your student or Tier 4 visa expires.It is open to businesses in all sectors.Roehampton only accepts applications from its graduating students and graduates.
University of SheffieldUniversity of Sheffield is situated in Sheffield.It endorses business across the UK, but special consideration is given to Start-Up businesses within and around Sheffield.Sheffield’s application changes every year.Sheffield only accepts applications from its graduating students and graduates.

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

Legal Endorsing Bodies

The authorised legal bodies are presently not taking new applications but still maintain existing endorsements with companies. The following are organisations under this category:

  • Level 39
  • University of Chester
  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Sussex
  • Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator
  • Ulster Bank Accelerator

The list of endorsing bodies mentioned above is not exhaustive. Visit gov.uk for the complete list.

How can IAS Help

Getting your application accepted by an endorsing body requires a business plan indicating your business idea is innovative, scalable and viable. You must also meet other eligibility and evaluation criteria specific to your chosen endorsement body. IAS has years of experience and experts in assisting start-up entrepreneurs in successfully scaling all the requirements for the UK start-up route.

IAS has a team of immigration lawyers who are experts in all UK immigration routes. They can help you satisfy both the requirements of the Home Office and the endorsing body. We provide all the information you need to get an endorsement and follow you through to getting a start-up visa.

You can rely on an IAS immigration lawyer to assist with choosing an endorsing body, preparing for Home Office’s and endorsing body’s business plan review strategy, preparing the required documents, and meeting all mandatory requirements for successful completion.

Through our Application package, you have access to information on visas and immigration. Our Advice Package provides guidance and assistance to make your application process smooth and stress-free at the Home Office and the endorsing body.

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.

ration 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 businesses, higher education providers, and legal entities with Home Office approval to evaluate and endorse start-up business ideas and viability.

You need to apply for a start-up visa after getting an endorsement letter at the Home office.

Each endorsing body has its requirements and review strategy for granting endorsement. Contact the endorsing body of your choice for information.

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