Program Brings Young Entrepreneurs To The UK

Nineteen young entrepreneurs from 13 countries have become the first batch of applicants to come to the UK to set up businesses as part of the Government’s new Sirius Programme.

The scheme, which is run by UK Trade & Investment, recognizes graduates with innovative start-up ideas,

London Big Benand aims to attract hundreds of talented entrepreneurs into the UK in its first two years. Successful teams receive start-up support including a 12 month place on one of the best business accelerator programmes; mentoring; help gaining clients; financial support of GBP12,000 per team member; and a visa endorsement. Enterprises remain completely owned by the graduate teams, and no equity is taken.

The first round of the scheme attracted 160 applicants. Winners came from countries including Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, and Nigeria, and they will launch businesses in the sport, energy and health technology sectors. Winning ideas included green energy from waste coffee ground; a low-cost smartphone battery charging solution; and a device for enabling consumers to instantly verify whether a branded product is counterfeit via their mobile phone.

Big Ben, London. Picture courtesy of Doco, Wiki Commons.

The Government believes that the scheme will create new jobs, promote foreign investment and have “a significant cumulative impact” on the economy. It adds that businesses based in the UK have access to 500m customers across Europe, and that these customers tend to be “early adopters” of innovative technology.

Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Livingston said that the UK “is fast becoming the country of choice for talented graduates to start and grow their businesses.”

The Sirius Programme is open for entries in January 2014.