Innovator visas: what kind of business should I start in the UK (in 2020)


We’re going to have a look at what kind of business you should be starting in 2019 if you want to qualify for a startup visa or innovative visa. Let’s go through the options.

1. Innovative Visa

2. FinTech ✅

3. EdTech ✅

4. MedTech ✅

5. Business Plan

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1. Innovative Visa ✅


Firstly, the innovative visa is a new visa route along with the startup visa and it provides a pathway to settlement in the UK.

The startup pieces are precursor to that it doesn’t itself involve settlement but the innovative visa does and it’s an accelerated route after three years so most of my clients at the moment are in one of three spaces.

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2. FinTech ✅

Financial Technology

London is a real center for financial technology and there are lots of opportunities here.

With the challenges surrounding brexit, the government is very keen to maintain London’s reputation as a fin tech center and there’s lots of incentives including tax incentives you can avail yourself of if you’re starting a fin tech business in the UK.

I do have a good network emulation – fin tech and happy to assist you on that front in preparing an application.

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3. EdTech ✅

Education Technology

Education Technology is a huge area in the UK and we see from platforms like udemy for example also YouTube of course but also other platforms like udemy where there’s paid content that there’s a big area of growth here.

I think where there’s real scope is for specific specialisms in particular areas of knowledge. Yesterday I was speaking to someone who has basically an educational platform but it’s specifically for surgeons so across it’s over with med tech which I’m about to talk about in a moment but it’s specifically for surgeons and so lots of video content about surgery and sharing knowledge and doctors sign up in hospital sign up.

There’s a big areas for grossing again the UK’s really keen to attract educational technology businesses.

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4. MedTech ✅

Medical Technology

Medtech is big and I’ve got some clients at the moment with medical technology businesses. They are cloud-based or app-based but the NHS has just released a new app platform where you can apply to be one of the approved vendors for sort of medical apps. It is an opportunity at the moment there aren’t many listed.

I want to produce some more content on this to help you guys out if you’re looking at med tech businesses or if you have a med tech business you want to bring to the UK. There’s big opportunities to get in now with a narrowing window of opportunity in relation to medical technology again huge area of growth are the NHS which is the National Health Service in the UK has undergone extraordinary change over recent years at least with the abolishing of the NHS trusts and setting up of commissioning groups.

If you’re getting into that space plenty of scope for growth in med tech I do have contacts with excellent networks who can assist to facilitate your entry into the UK to set up such a business so this comes just briefly to the business plan despite over showing before.

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On the business plan, you really need to show that you're satisfying the three criteria:innovationviability and scalability

What does innovation mean and the test really although you won't find us in the guidance the test is essentially, do you have something will you be able to develop something that could be patented it could be subject to a patent because if you look at the settlement criteria, one of them is you've made a substantial contribution to R&D and you have applied for intellectual property protection in respect of it so unless you have something you can patent if you're going to struggle to get through it now it's not to say you would have already patented it from the beginning but in terms of your concept and the core idea of your business, you need to have something novel and it's another way of looking at it.

It’s a bit like the test for a PhD if you’re doing a PhD, you’ve got to contribute something new to the area of knowledge that you’re in and that’s the similar sort of test when you’re starting up a business for the purposes of an innovative visa or startup visa.

The question is, what's your contribution to knowledge? what is your thesis if you like in it in the PhD context? but that broadly is how you should approach it the testament of novelty and you need this in order to ultimately qualify for settlement and the attraction of this and the incentive the UK government is giving to attract foreign talent investment etc. is this three year pathway it's an accelerated pathway to to indefinite leave to remain.

They are three options for you in terms of areas of business to look at. My clients will typically already have businesses in one of those spaces rather than wanting to start up completely a fresh but there are incubators so they’re designed for sort of beginning stage businesses or for people who are developing their ideas.

There’s clearly a scale with complete fresh startups on one end and develop businesses who scaling internationally and looking to use one of these roots to establish in the UK most likely the innovator root. I hope that’s helpful.

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