Plenty of international students decide to discover their working options in the UK after their studies. Whilst majority of students opt for gaining work experience relevant to their course, some decide to become self-employed. This article is particularly useful for international students starting a business in the UK after graduation.

If you’re a student in the UK and aim to start your own business, read on. Using our own experience, we’ve gathered a few small tips and steps you can follow to take things forward both in terms of your business idea and visa.

1) Do NOT work on any business or self-employed capacity*

This is a key point for all international students with a student visa in the UK.

As student visa regulations do not allow self-employment, make sure you do anything business-related after your studies end and you have a new visa that permits you to do so. Therefore, you have to consider such plans after your studies and in coordination with the educational institution that has sponsored you*. 

2) Start with a problem that annoys you personally

Believe it or not, this is where many of the business ideas come up. Many many businesses came about from an idea that solved an everyday problem for people.

Our company itself is the perfect example of this. The problem, in this case, was identified by the StudyFlats Founder, Sohrab Vazir, after studying in Manchester, the Midlands, and Newcastle. After encountering problems with finding a place both before and during his time in the UK, Sohrab sought to provide access to housing options for other students.

Upon graduating and being only 22 years old,  Sohrab secured an endorsement for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa from Newcastle University. This route was closed in 2019-2020 and replaced with the Start-up and Innovator Visas

3) Talk to your university

All universities have a department that assists students with finding and researching careers, including self-employment.

Your university can help you with a business idea you may have, or also assist you with developing one. Firstly, your university can help you validate your business idea. They can also help you with forming a solid business plan and/or refer you to business mentors who are experts in your idea’s field. 

4) Look at previous case studies 

The reality is that you are not the only individual who has decided to navigate to entrepreneurship after university. Hence, it’s a good idea to look at what other people, who were once in your situation, did. Moreover, it is particularly helpful to read past cases of Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa / Start-up applicants.

5) Learn about the Start-up Visa Scheme

The Start-up Visa scheme was introduced by the UK government to help promising prospective founders, including international graduates, with credible business ideas and the support of eligible sponsors to remain in the  UK and start their own businesses. , Therefore, if you are a current international student with a student visa, it’s a good idea to learn about this visa option.

Also, check to see if your university is an eligible Start-up Visa sponsor. You can see the full list on UK Government’s website here.

If your university is on the list, then it is best to approach them as your first point of contact and enquire further from their business support department.

6) Believe in yourself

This is perhaps one of the most important parts. You have to really believe that you, as an individual, have what it takes to pursue your goals. If you are looking for more inspirational stories why not read our interview with another company made by students.

*Disclaimer: None of the content presented in this article, or on this website, constitutes immigration and/or legal advice. The content is simply a reflection of our own previous experiences. If you are seeking immigration advice, you are advised to seek legal advice from an authorized/qualified legal professional and/or body. 

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