The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa is a scheme run by the UK Government which allows certain institutions to endorse international citizens for a UK Visa. Holders of the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa are entitled to stay in the UK for up to two years to run their own business in the UK.
We further recommend that you read the full Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa guidance (this is the visa you are entitled to progress onto after the Graduate Entrepreneur visa): https://www.gov.uk/tier-1-entrepreneur
Who is eligible to apply for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa?
In order to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, you must possess an endorsement from a registered institution, such as an HEI. Lancaster University is permitted to issue up to a maximum of 20 endorsements per year. Lancaster University will only consider endorsements for recent graduates and alumni from Lancaster University. If you are not affiliated with Lancaster University, then we will not consider you for an endorsement – please approach your relative HEI.
How do I apply for an endorsement?
In order to apply for an endorsement for the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa you will need to submit a final business plan along with a 2 year financial forecast, which will assessed by a panel. This panel will decide if we think your idea is desirable, feasible, and financiallyviable enough to warrant being endorsed by the university. We highly recommend that you take the time to conduct proper market research and validation, and be able to evidence these factors in your business plan.
The university is limited to the number of endorsements it may give out per year. These are issued on a first come, first served basis. If you are endorsed by the university, you will receive a letter that is valid for three months which will allow you to apply for the visa.
You can read our full policy document here.
What support is available to me for the endorsement?
If you are in Lancaster or able to come to Lancaster, we highly recommend that you come in to see us to discuss support options available. Unfortunately, our ability to provide remote assistance to those outside of Lancaster is quite limited due to the demand on our resources and staff time.
Below are some links to resources we highly recommend that you read through before you submit your business plan:
In terms of being able to write a business plan, we recommend that you work through this free online platform to conduct your market research: http://detoolbox.com/
Support in your application to win up to £25,000 for your startup!
Hopefully you’ve already heard about The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2018 – your chance to compete against other students and recent graduates to win a wealth of support for your startup or established idea!
For the first round of the competition, applicants will be required to submit a two minute video pitch and completed simplified Business Model Canvas (using the template provided by Santander).
The Enterprise Team have two workshops scheduled to support you with your applications:
Business Model Canvas/Value Proposition Workshop
Thursday 1st March, 2-5pm, Learning Zone Pod 4
This workshop will focus on helping you to bring your customer profiles together with your value proposition to successfully complete Santander’s template Business Model Canvas. Book through Target Connect.
Thursday 8th March, 2-5pm, Physics B009
This workshop will focus on how to best pitch your idea, the art of storytelling and also how to create an engaging video. Book through Target Connect.
The deadline for submissions to the first round is noon on Friday the 13th April. To find out more about the awards including details such as eligibility, please visit our dedicated competition webpage or email the Enterprise Team.
As more employers call for graduates with 21st century skills like creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication, we’re testing new ways for you to actively learn these competencies with fellow students from all disciplines.
Design thinking is relevant to all as a life skill and is transferable potentially in all contexts, disciplines and organisations.
Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building simple prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.
Human-centered design consists of four phases. In the Empathy Phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Define Phase you’ll make sense of what you learned and identify opportunities for design. In the Ideation Phase you’ll learn to generate loads of ideas and build possible solutions in the Prototype Phase. With your prototype developed you bring your solution to life to test in the Test Phase with real users or customers for Iteration or Launch!
Anyone can learn and apply Human Centred Design to any challenge to find innovative solutions. It’s a valuable life skill and a process for collaborative problem solving.
The Enterprise Team will be hosting a short taster session allowing you to experience the process of human centred design. For more details and to register, visit the event on Target Connect.
You can also check out the Facebook photos from the Design Challenge we ran last academic year in collaboration with and to learn from Stanford d.School’s University Innovation Fellows Programme.
If you find you like what we do you can develop your skills beyond the session e.g. develop your commercial awareness or develop that idea that’s been lurking in the the back of your mind, register with the Enterprise Team to hear about future sessions – and explore our website at www.lancaster.ac.uk/enterprisecentre
How do you learn? I learn through doing; a-ha..! Knowledge applied through reflection of a real life experience.
Learning to master ‘Creative Confidence’; sharing learning at Stanford d.School’s University Innovation Fellows Teaching and Learning Studio July 1997
Those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments come for me, more often than not, when I’m doing or trying something out; experimenting for myself or more crucially doing it with others.
I spoke to a university graduate and a current postgraduate student recently and they expressed a similar view. They described learning as not knowledge being poured in but in the application of new knowledge; both expressed a desire for more opportunities for active learning in the classroom, for discussion and collaboration across disciplines to share ideas and perspectives. ‘I want to know what I can do with this knowledge; my knowledge out in the world.’
We see that magical ‘aha’ moment a lot when students bring a problem or an idea to work through together in the Ideas Labs we run weekly in the Learning Zone during term time.
Working on your own idea is a motivated process of being willing to challenge your dearest held assumptions, experimenting to apply knowledge you have or new knowledge you have found, joining the dots to make sense of what’s needed to move forward and validate an idea as an opportunity. It’s about the search for desirability, feasibility and viability of a solution users want, need and will pay for; even just paying with their time; whether it’s a project, a social enterprise or a business venture of some kind.
The Teaching and Learning Studio at Stanford University is a place where educators from all disciplines experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking and experiential learning to solve wicked problems. The studio supports educators to develop strategies that help students develop skills and mindsets for the 21st century and I was very fortunate to be an awardee of the EEUK Richard Beresford bursary, a personal development fund for educators, which part funded a trip to the studio for the learning trip of a lifetime.
Fresh from d.School inspiration, I’m grateful for a whole new network of international colleagues to exchange ideas on shaping learning using human centred design that puts the student at the centre of the experience. So forward thinking are they at Stanford d.School, that it’s an annual thing for educators to pitch their major and minor courses to students on d.School’s ’Pitch Night’…
I want to learn to facilitate more of those ‘A-ha!’ learning moments for students who come to the Enterprise Team’s Ideas Labs sessions. It’s about creating the environment for students to ‘try on’ mindsets and behaviours; practice being curious, resourceful, imaginative, questioning norms and assumptions, observing, ideating, making connections and big leaps to confidently create new solutions; seeing failure along the way as as the stepping stone to the next experiment…and that’s a tough one for us all to ‘try on’ in our practice.
It’s about the quest to develop all students as creative problem solvers; ‘innovators’ in every discipline. This skill, rooted in creativity is needed in every shape and size of organisation to remain competitive and for employees, leaders and entrepreneurs to continue to find ways to create new value.
So what is Design Thinking and how does it relate to designing learning and facilitating learning experiences and how an it be used as a pedagogical tool?
Design thinking is a mindset. It is optimistic, collaborative, human centred and creative and it’s experimental. It’s the confidence that everyone can be part of creating a more desirable future, and the design process empowers people to take action when faced with a difficult challenge. That kind of optimism is well needed in education and in students heading out into a challenged global environment.
Design thinking is a team sport and through small design challenges we and our learners can learn the attitudes and mindsets to collaborate and create, experimenting by framing a learning through design challenge, unpacking assumptions about the challenge or problem, exploring the problem space with users, defining a point of view about the challenge.
Through optimistic and energised ideation a design team can learn to ‘turn off’ the evaluator mindset and generate ideas through divergent thinking; brainstorming, building on one another’s ideas, generating lots of ideas to create great ideas, and learning that sometimes seemingly wild ideas are the spark to something better; out of the box possibilities; solutions to wicked problems. Ideas are selected for development through voting and the design team builds to learn through improv and role play to imagine possibilities before building simple, fail fast mockups and prototypes to share with users for feedback. What works, what doesn’t..? Return to prototype… return to test… iterate…until ‘Ahah! We did it! Our solution has cracked the problem; what a feeling… ‘like something inside me changed.’
The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators contains the process and methods of design. Developed by the global design company Ideo, (Founded by David Kelley who also founded Stanford’s d.School). The toolkit offers new ways to be intentional and collaborative when designing educational experiences, and empowers educators to create impactful student centred learning solutions, but also to integrate design thinking into problem based learning as a creative problem solving process. The process empowers students to get creative, starting by solving simple human centred challenges to prepare them for tackling seemingly insoluble challenges.
‘Educators from across the world are facing design challenges every single day, from feedback systems to daily schedules. Wherever they fall on the spectrum of scale – the challenges educators are confronted with are real, complex, and varied. And as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches. Design Thinking is one of them.’ Ideo.com
What was woefully missing in my education, and my daughter’s after me, were those serendipidous ‘A-ha’ moments in learning, and it’s this creative, human agency, I now believe that is at the heart of our work as educators. We have a short window of opportunity to intentionally develop learners as creative problem solvers, innovators and value creators beyond their discipline; skills for living and for lifelong learning.
‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’
Fill in our feedback survey for a chance to win a £15 Amazon Voucher!
With the final Lab sessions for the academic year behind us we are now keen to gather feedback on your experiences of the Ideas and StartupLabs which have run this academic year. A simple, short survey has been composed to help us do this. The survey should take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete! We would really appreciate your help with this as any feedback will be vital to helping us to shape our future offering.
If you complete the survey and are happy to provide your name and email address, you will be entered into a prize draw to win a £15 Amazon Voucher. Terms and Conditions of the prize draw are outlined below:
Terms and Conditions for Feedback Survey Prize Draw
The Prize and Draw
The prize will be a £15 Amazon Voucher in the form of a gift card purchased from Amazon.co.uk. This gift card is bound by its own Terms & Conditions which you can access here. We will not give a cash equivalent.
Entries will close at midnight on the 14/08/17 and a winner will be drawn on the 15/08/17. The closing date is however subject to change. Notification through our website and social media will be provided if the date is changed. (27/07/17 – The date for completion has been extended from 27/07/17 to the 14/08/17, T&Cs have been updated with the new date)
All entries will be entered into a spreadsheet and allocated a number. A random number generator will be used to select the winner.
Our decision will be final. The winner will be notified by email as early as possible following the draw on the 15/08/17.
If the winner does not respond within 7 days of the notification email, a new winner will be drawn and the same steps will be followed until the prize is claimed.
The Enterprise Team reserve the right to stipulate further limitations in the selection of this gift card in order to facilitate a decision.
For entry into the draw you must:
Have completed the survey to a substantial level which will be of help to The Enterprise Team. The standard of entries will be determined by members of the The Enterprise Team.
Have completed the survey by midnight on the 14/08/17
Have attended a IdeasLab or StartupLab at Lancaster University over the 2016-17 academic year, The Enterprise Team will verify each entry against records.
Participants are limited to one entry per person.
Must provide your name and email address, meaning that the completion of this survey will not be anonymous.
With over 30 years’ experience, Len has seen franchising from every angle and aspect. He has been Franchise Manager for two international companies, has been a Franchisee and Franchiser
and has worked as a Franchise Consultant for several major brands. Not only that, Len has also started, run and sold four businesses – all in different sectors. He now works in a consultancy role passing on the knowledge and experience that he has gained over the years to help others to achieve their goals.
Organised in partnership with UNESCO, Airbus Fly Your Ideas competition challenges students worldwide from all disciplines to develop new ideas and innovate with Airbus for the future of aviation. The grand prize for the winning team is €30,000 and the runners up win their share of €15,000.
The competition is open to teams of 3-5 students and involves three progressively challenging rounds and a final during which the five final teams present their ideas to a panel of Airbus and industry experts. Each challenge is real and relates to one the five key challenges faced at present by the aviation industry – business models, flight operations, passenger experience, design engineering and manufacturing.
Round one of the competition ends on the 25th of November – so if you are interested – register soon and get thinking!
Alex Green is the Founder of a new start-up, which he began in August 2016 and is looking to develop and distribute his service across the UK in the coming months. His aim is to provide a platform to support young people through the transition from education to work so they can realise their potential and be successful, happy individuals.
In the last 5 years he has worked in London as a Digital Marketing Executive with experience working for agencies with clients such as Activision to Microsoft, helping them to market their products and services. He studied at Lancaster Management School and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors in Business Studies with specialisms in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He is now a registered student with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, studying a Diploma in Professional Marketing and continues to expand his expertise in this area. He is particularly interested in making a positive contribution to the education and charitable sectors.
“Students today have it tougher than previous generations”
(Matthew Waterton, The Guardian)
If you’re someone who is soon to make the transition between full time education to full time work and independent life, this post is designed for YOU. You may be getting ready for your first week at University, preparing for the grind of your final year of studies or have just started the long, exhausting process of finding a graduate job. However, I want to provide you with some first-hand insight and advice into the realities of making the transition.
I hope you find it useful.
Back in 2012 I graduated with a 2:1 degree from Lancaster University. I was an enthusiastic individual who was hungry to learn and needed to prove myself. I wanted to chase the rat race and chose to pursue a career in Marketing in London. What I didn’t know was that getting noticed in London would be extremely hard. Before I landed my first real job at a digital marketing agency in Covent Garden I had to work in a coffee shop for 6 months, live in a hostel for several weeks and commute at 4am for months on end, whilst at the same time constantly falling flat on my face with job applications and coming short at assessment centres. Why? Because I wasn’t properly prepared.
When I actually got the job I wanted, the realities were slightly different to what I expected and sadly I wasn’t prepared for this either. I had no clue about work politics, dress code, time management and organisation, which in turn made work life shockingly difficult. Getting up at 6am, having to meet the high expectations of my new boss and deal with the physical and mental strain of it all was a SHOCK. Over the last two years I continued working for a range of other companies and realised that I wasn’t the only young person who seemed to be struggling. We simply weren’t properly aware of the realities of living independently. Last year it got to the point where the stress became too much and I decided to resign from my job and do something that I was passionate about. After having some much needed time off, talking to many close friends, family members and advisors, I had a light bulb moment. I decided that I would be the person who would provide young transitional people with the right support and guidance so they could more quickly adapt to the current environment we live in. That’s when my idea was born.
My vision is to equip young people with the tools required to cope with LIFE AFTER EDUCATION. This may include support for mental health, self-help, career advice, personal development and maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Currently, students are only provided with guidance on how to be a successful student and some career advice is offered, but I offer the whole package for dealing with this transition in multiple areas of life – this is what makes my idea unique.
You could argue that parents are there to provide this guidance, however modern day life suggests that families are becoming more disparate, parents are unaware of the true realities of life for young people and cracks are showing in the appropriateness of the support provided. Life has moved on. I would consider that I have come from a secure family background and regardless of my parent’s best intentions, I still found this transition extremely difficult. I am not alone in this.
By creating a resource to better prepare young people for the transition between full time education to full time work life and living independently, they will be better informed to make smart decisions helping them work towards their dreams, be happy and lead a successful life.
As part of my research to find out exactly what support is needed, I have created a survey. If you are interested in my service and think it may be beneficial to you please take just 5 minutes to fill it out and make sure you leave some contact details so I can reach out to you in the future (this is optional). The results from the survey will be shared in my next blog so stay tuned…
For more information bout this topic, listen to my video blog below where I talk about the 10 things I wish I’d known more about before leaving University.
Web design author and ex-marketing strategy consultant Ben Hunt asks ‘Why do we do what we do?
Really… what is the ultimate point?
Is it just to make money? If so, exactly how much money is “enough money”?
Is it to make a better world? If so, what does that world look like exactly?
Is it to be remembered as important? If so, what do you want your obituary to say?
It isn’t for me to attempt to answer that question for you. But I can tell you this…
When you know what you stand for, what you stand against, what you value, what you don’t care for, the people or causes you wish to champion… you actually discover yourself.
And when you do that, your whole life becomes simpler, and your choices become easier.
You stop chasing and start building, because you know who you are, who you wish to become, and you can see the path from here to there.
You’ll also be able to spot the kindred spirits who can help you along your way. Perhaps you and I are kindred spirits?
For me, I find this 23-minute video incredibly inspiring. It’s the late, great John Seymour, the father of modern self-sufficiency, and he puts into words his view of the world, and what progress means, in a way that I could never do.