Helping talented global graduates with the best business ideas in the world to start-up and grow in the UK

The UK is one of the top places in the world to become an entrepreneur and UK Trade & Investment, a government department, is running a competition to win places on the Sirius Programme. The Sirius Programme is one of the most comprehensive start-up support packages offered globally.

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How Sirius has changed my life

Ben Mallett

Nathalie Richards

Why locating to the UK is a smart idea

Successful entrepreneurs require not only a ground-breaking product or service idea, but the necessary tools to test their innovation, fully exploit its potential, attract investment and launch it successfully to the market. Choosing to develop your business in the UK will provide you with access to expertise in all these areas, and so much more.

Find out more about how the Sirius Programme can help you grow your business.

Lord Bilimoria
Founder of Cobra Beer

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Roberta Lucca
Co-founder Bossa Studios

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The UK is backing small businesses and talented entrepreneurs. Here's what the UK has to offer entrepreneurs...

Easy to set up business, access talent and find customers

Don't just take our word for it. This is why some of our Year 1 Sirius winners came to the UK to start their business.

Click on the links to the right to read the articles »

What the UK offers early stage entrepreneurs...

A place for creators, innovators and pioneers to thrive

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A cosmopolitan environment

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A place for growing businesses

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A vibrant ecosystem

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A place for creators, innovators and pioneers to thrive

  • The UK is an engine for innovation.
  • Great environment for creative thinkers - smart, engaging and fun.
  • A top destination for inward investment in R&D in Europe for 12 years in a row.
  • 43% of new inward investment projects with HQ operations have located in the UK, consistently higher than anywhere else in Europe.

A cosmopolitan environment

  • Successful non-UK citizen Applicants must either have the right to work in the UK, or be eligible for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa endorsed by UKTI.
  • Only Applicants that are granted a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs Visa are eligible for a place on the Programme. If successful Applicants want to apply for an alternative Visa, this may affect their offer of a Programme placement and they must seek permission from the Promoter prior to submitting their Visa application.
  • The Promoter will provide an endorsement letter and will liaise with Applicants to make sure they have all documentation and information required (copy of passport, details about previous visas and degree certificate) to issue the letter and make the process as smooth as possible.

A place for growing businesses

  • Half a million migrant entrepreneurs are responsible for 1 in 7 UK companies
  • Culturally diverse - it is an international melting-pot.

A vibrant ecosystem

  • Venture capital – the UK has the strongest market in Europe.
  • Crowd-funding platforms - the UK has the second highest number in the world (World Bank Report 2013).
  • Accelerators and co-working spaces all around the UK.
  • Events and networks.
  • Government backing for small businesses.
  • Ecosystem to support high growth technology companies.

The Sirius Programme

Fast-track your business - hold on to your equity.

Do you want to set up headquarters in an entrepreneurial hub like the UK as a long term plan to grow your startup?


The UK is one of the best places in the world for entrepreneurs.

Successful entrepreneurs require not only a groundbreaking product or service idea, but the necessary tools to test their innovation, fully exploit its potential, attract investment and launch it successfully to the market. Choosing to develop your business in the UK will provide you with access to expertise in all these areas, and so much more.

Why apply?

Sirius offers a support package for teams to build their companies in the UK:

  • £12,000 financial support per team member
  • Mentoring
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs Visa endorsed by UKTI
  • A 12 months place at one of the UK’s best accelerators to help you along your way

What if you were offered all of this, and the ability to keep all of the equity in your business?

How will Sirius help me?

Successful applicants will receive the right mentorship, networks and support to help you build a successful business in the UK...

Access to experienced business help

  • A place at one of our leading accelerators, which are located across the UK. (London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow)
  • World class, experienced and successful mentors to help kick start your networks
  • High profile support from key business individuals and successful entrepreneurs
  • Opportunities to pitch to clients and investors to help you grow your business
  • Opportunities to export

Networking and business support

  • Access to UKTI’s substantial networks for funding, access to corporates and knowledge of UK and local government funding options
  • Peer group activities and an introduction to appropriate networks on arrival in the UK
  • Being part of an existing cluster of successful start-up companies on arrival in the UK
  • Skill based training in sales, PR, marketing, manufacturing and setting up a company
  • Support to access potential partners, customers and investors

In a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) co-funded R&D project, Green Light Products led a consortium of industrial and academic partners to make packaging foam from renewable natural materials such as starch, biopolymer and natural fibres. TSB grants are available for innovative technology in business, covering research, development and commercialisation.

Smart Cookie, an award-winning specialist creative technology agency benefited from UKTI initiatives, including the Passport to Export programme, to expand its client base in the USA. Thanks to new business from this market, the company has increased its staff from ten to 40 and its turnover from £1.1 million to £3 million. Passport to Exports is an export assessment and support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Additional personal support

  • Support from Accelerators before you arrive and access to a helpdesk for your queries and questions
  • Graduate Entrepreneur's Tier 1 visa - endorsed by UKTI
  • Welcome pack on arrival providing all the basic information that is needed to set up home in the UK

Financial help without losing ownership

  • Financial support of £12,000 for each team member, paid monthly. No equity is taken

Ongoing programme, step-by-step

Step 1: Set up - meet with UKTI and the host accelerator and start getting support right away
Step 2: Intense accelerator programme of networking, mentorship, training and support in gaining customers and investment
Step 3: Post-accelerator phase - grow your business and scale
Step 4: Into the second year - benefits of ongoing support networks and access to finance.
  • You and your team will need to apply at www.siriusprogramme.com
    and answer the questions on the application platform
  • Apply between 2 May - 30 June 2014
  • Tell us why your idea or business plan is a great one, and why you are the right team to make it a success
  • Your application will be judged by an independent judging panel
  • If you are successful in the first stage you will be interviewed by one or more accelerators
  • Then successful applicants are offered a place with the Accelerator that is most suitable for them

Eligibility

Applicants must be a Team of either 2 or 3 Co-Founders and /or Directors. The full Team must re-locate to the UK.

Apply to Sirius if you are a team of International Graduates (BA, BSc, MA, MSc, MBA, MPhil, PhD etc.):

(1) International Graduate Teams - only 1 Team Member can be a UK Citizen.

For example a team of:

  • 2 people – 1 non-UK Citizen and 1 UK Citizen OR 2 non-UK citizens
  • 3 people – 2 non-UK Citizens and 1 UK Citizen OR 3 non-UK Citizens

(2) International Graduate Teams - only 1 Team Member can have graduated before 2012.

For example a team of:

  • 2 people – 1 Graduate since 2012 and 1 Graduate before 2012 OR 2 Graduates since 2012
  • 3 people – 2 Graduates since 2012 and 1 Graduate before 2012 OR 3 Graduates since 2012

If successful, teams must:

  • Transfer the Intellectual Property to their UK company
  • Set up their business Head Quarters (HQ) in the UK
  • Stay at the Accelerators premises for the duration of the 12 months

If you don't meet our eligibility criteria, please email us with a bit about you and your ideas/business - there may be other ways UKTI can help you.

For Terms and Conditions click here

Who can enter the Sirius Programme?

  • We’re looking for graduates (between January 2012 and 30 June 2014) from all around the world
  • Applicants must be a team of either 2 or 3 co-founders
  • Only 1 Team Member can be a UK Citizen. For example a team of:
    • 2 people – 1 non-UK Citizen and 1 UK Citizen OR 2 non-UK citizens
    • 3 people – 2 non-UK Citizens and 1 UK Citizen OR 3 non-UK Citizens
  • Only 1 Team Member can have graduated before 2012. For example a team of:
    • 2 people – 1 Graduate since 2012 and 1 Graduate before 2012 OR 2 Graduates since 2012
    • 3 people – 2 Graduates since 2012 and 1 Graduate before 2012 OR 3 Graduates since 2012

Do I need permission to live and work in the UK?

  • Successful non-UK citizen Applicants must either have the right to work in the UK, or be eligible for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa endorsed by UKTI.
  • Only Applicants that are granted a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurs Visa are eligible for a place on the Programme. If successful Applicants want to apply for an alternative Visa, this may affect their offer of a Programme placement and they must seek permission from the Promoter prior to submitting their Visa application.
  • The Promoter will provide an endorsement letter and will liaise with Applicants to make sure they have all documentation and information required (copy of passport, details about previous visas and degree certificate) to issue the letter and make the process as smooth as possible.

Intellectual Property

  • Applicants must confirm they have all the rights, licenses, permissions and consents necessary to submit their proposed idea.