How to Create an Innovator Visa Business Plan

How to Create an Innovator Visa Business Plan

Creating a solid business plan is a key component of the Innovator visa application, so you need to know what to include to improve your chances of success.

What Is an Innovator Visa?

The Innovator Founder visa is a type of UK work visa that enables entrepreneurs with a unique business plan to come to the UK to start their business and reside in the UK while they continue their business activities. Formerly known as the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, the Innovator Founder visa has also replaced the Start-Up visa, with a few changes to the requirements.

The main clause for the Innovator Founder visa is that the applicant has a business plan which is:

  • New
  • Innovative
  • Viable
  • Scalable

A business plan must be created by the applicant, endorsed by an approved endorsing body in the UK and submitted with the visa application for consideration. The Innovator Founder visa costs £1,191 when applied for from outside of the UK, and £1,486 is applied for from the UK. You can switch from most visas to the Innovator Founder visa from the UK, except for short-term visas such as Seasonal Worker visas, Short-Term Study visas and Standard Visitor visas.

Applicants must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to have access to NHS services, and meet various other requirements. The applicant can bring their dependants to the UK with them, each of which must submit a separate visa application and pay the relevant fees. 

The Innovator Founder visa is, therefore, aimed at attracting entrepreneurial talent to the UK and fostering innovation and economic growth, allowing innovative individuals to establish and grow their businesses in the UK, contributing to the country’s economy.

How Long You Can Stay in the UK with an Innovator Visa

How Long You Can Stay in the UK with an Innovator Visa

Innovator Founder visas are granted for 3 years although the endorsing body will check on the business every 12 months to ensure the plan is going well and the visa holder is still meeting the requirements of the visa. If the business is failing or the person or business fails to continue to meet the visa requirements, the visa can be rescinded and the person asked to leave the country if no plans are in place to encourage the business to succeed.

After 3 years with the Innovator Founder visa, visa holders can apply to extend their visa for another 3 years, or simply apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), also known as permanent residency, or settlement. To apply for ILR, the applicant must show intent to continue living and working in the UK, and not have left the country for more than 180 days a year during their time in the UK on their visa. Gaining permanent residency will remove the stress of having continuous visa check-ups and allow visa holders to stay indefinitely in the UK, as well as choose to study if they wish.

The Innovator Founder visa is a work visa, so visa holders cannot study full-time while on the visa, but there is no explicit restriction against studying on the visa so if there is a part-time course that enables the visa holder to continue running their business and will help them with their future business or personal ambitions, this kind of study is permitted.

After 12 months with ILR, permanent residents are also eligible to apply for British citizenship if they wish.

What Are the Requirements for an Innovator Visa?

What Are the Requirements for an Innovator Visa?

There are several requirements for the Innovator Founder visa which each applicant must meet, and provide evidence in their visa application. The requirements for the Innovator Founder visa include:

  • Being over 18
  • Having a new, innovative, viable and scalable business idea, backed-up with a detailed business plan
  • Having an endorsement from an approved endorsing body
  • Having sufficient knowledge of the English language
  • Having sufficient personal funds to support living costs (as well as for any dependants if necessary)
  • Having sufficient funds to support business proposal

It’s important for applicants to carefully review the specific requirements and guidance provided by the UK Home Office and ensure that they meet all criteria before applying for the Innovator Founder visa. Additionally, seeking advice from immigration specialists or legal professionals can help ensure a smooth application process.

What Does Innovative, Viable and Scalable Mean?

What Does Innovative, Viable and Scalable Mean?

The keywords for the business plan needed for the Innovator Founder visa are: Innovative, viable and scalable, so it’s important to unpack each term to ensure your business plan meets these specific criteria and clearly demonstrates it for your plan to be approved by the endorsing body.

Here is a broad definition of each term in relation to the Innovator Founder visa business plan:

  • Innovative: Introduces new or significantly improved products, services, processes, or business models to the market, involving creativity, originality, and the ability to solve problems or meet needs in unique ways. The idea should demonstrate a clear competitive advantage and differentiation from existing solutions.
  • Viable: Has the potential to succeed and generate sustainable revenue and profits in the market. It should be financially feasible, with realistic revenue projections, cost structures, and profitability expectations. The business idea should address a genuine market need or demand and have a clear path to generating income and achieving financial sustainability.
  • Scalable: Has the potential for growth and expansion over time to reach a large customer base or target market and adapt to changing market conditions. It should be capable of increasing its revenue and market presence without proportionately increasing its costs or resource requirements. Scalability often involves leveraging technology, automation, and economies of scale to grow the business efficiently.

The business plan must meet these requirements to be approved so that there is very little room for failure, and the business can improve the UK’s business and job market as well as contribute to the economy.

How to Create an Innovator Visa Business Plan

How to Create an Innovator Visa Business Plan

Creating an effective business plan for an Innovator Visa application requires careful consideration of various elements that demonstrate the viability, scalability, and innovation of your business idea.

Here’s some of the key information you need to include in your business plan:

  • Name of the applicant
  • Name of the proposed business
  • A executive summary of the business proposal
  • A detailed description of the business’ key functions
  • A detailed description of the business’ innovation, viability and scalability
  • A description of the challenges and risks as well as the resolution the business may face
  • A detailed descriptions of the applicant’s proposed role within the business

While each of these components are important in your Innovator visa business plan, the executive summary should take the focus of your attention as this is where you describe your business idea, including its market potential and why you, as an entrepreneur, are qualified and experienced to head the business. Your business description then goes into more detail of the idea, including products or services, target market, value proposition and its unique selling points that make it stand out from anything else on the market and likely to succeed.

You should also include a timeline of your business, projecting financial milestones, resource requirements, estimated revenue and expenses over at least the next 3 years to show how your business is scalable. Make sure this is realistic, as the endorsing body will assess the likelihood of your targets and expectations when approving your business plan.

Before submitting your business plan, it’s also useful to gain feedback from mentors, colleagues and business consultants to ensure your business plan is bulletproof. You can then include letters of recommendation as supporting documents with your proposal to assist your application.

Getting Endorsement for Your Business Plan

To get your business plan endorsed for the UK Innovator Visa, you need to find an approved endorsing body that has experience and expertise in your field who can review your business plan. They may ask you to attend an interview or prepare a presentation as well after seeing your proposal so you should be prepared for these eventualities.

If approved, you’ll receive an endorsement letter from the endorsing body, which you can submit with your Innovator Founder visa application and other necessary documents.

Need Visa Help? Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions

If you want assistance with your visa application to the UK, contact the expert team at Synergy Immigration Solutions today for more information on how we can help you. You can learn more about how we process your data here.

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