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Start-up and Innovator Entrepreneur and Visa Programmes

The University of Bradford Start-up and Innovator Entrepreneur programmes provide a route for home or international applicants to live in Bradford and establish or further develop a successful start-up. We accept applications from University of Bradford alumni as well as graduates from other institutions worldwide.

About the programme

The programme runs for two years and is open to anyone who has a new, innovative, viable and scalable social or business enterprise idea and who wishes to be based in Bradford. Entrepreneurs from overseas receive endorsement for a two-year Start-up visa in the first instance. If the enterprise progresses well, the entrepreneur can transfer to an Innovator visa for a further three years, ultimately leading to settlement if required. More experienced entrepreneurs may apply directly for an Innovator visa, subject to meeting UK Home Office investment requirements.

The programme provides comprehensive support, including a registered address, use of space and meeting rooms in the entrepreneurship centre, training and mentoring, networking events and access to fundraising opportunities. Our goal is to support our city, local economy and the University through retaining and attracting top entrepreneurial talent.

Start-up Programme

Our Start-up programme is a two-year entrepreneurship programme for beginners. 

  • Open to home and international applicants (with Home Office visa endorsement for overseas applicants
  • Bradford based enterprises will be endorsed
  • Fees are £8,000 per year, with a discount of £1,000 per year for Start-up applicants if paid upfront
  • Fees for additional applicants (e.g., co-founders) are discounted to £6,000 per year, per additional applicant

How the programmes operate

Entrepreneurs on both programmes will receive the following support:

  • 24-hour access to office and meeting room facilities in Phoenix South West
  • Support from both a University of Bradford enterprise coach and experienced mentors
  • 1-2 training sessions per month
  • Regular networking events
  • Fast-track access to fundraising resources
  • Access to library resources and databases with a license for commercial use
  • Endorsement for overseas applicants to settle in the UK along with any dependant(s)


A student and a member of staff sat together in an Open Innovation workshop.

How to apply

We accept applications from home and international applicants year-round, whether you are an entrepreneur, graduate or due to graduate soon from any university worldwide.

International applicants must meet the Home Office's eligibility criteria for the Start-up or Innovator visa routes.

To apply for a place on one of our programmes, please:

Your business plan must clearly demonstrate that your proposed business is:

  • New (not trading elsewhere)
  • Innovative (a different offering to other competitors)
  • Viable (financially sustainable)
  • Scalable (with the potential to increase revenues and to create new jobs over time)

The Start Up Visa application form

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.

Innovator Visa Application Form

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.

Our collaborations

Online English Courses

The Open Innovation Team are proud to announce a collaboration with Wakefield based international education services provider, m2r Education. Applicants will benefit from discounted online English language courses to help them to apply for and receive a Start-Up or Innovator visa, to allow them to set up an innovative business in Bradford.

For online English courses, please visit the m2r Education website.

The logo for m2r Education.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) for Students and Graduates

The Open Innovation Team are also proud to announce a collaboration with TEFL UK, who will offer their services to University of Bradford students as an employment and training resource for international opportunities in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). For further information on TEFL courses and employment opportunities, please visit the TEFL UK website.

The logo for TEFL UK.


Meet our entrepreneurs