The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa allows international students here at QMUL to apply to stay in the UK to work on a business idea. Below, meet Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Tiffany, and her business JulieMay.
Hi, I am Tiffany Chiu, founder of JulieMay. I started JulieMay when my mum gave birth to my little sister and I was trying to find perfect shapewear for her post-pregnancy recovery. I discovered how difficult it was to find a product that is both comfortable to wear and also very attractive.
After years of R&D, we are proud to be the first in the industry to produce top-quality lingerie that is made of the most comfortable material with highly advanced technology.
With our highly comfortable lingerie, women no longer need to compromise comfort for style as my mom had to do. JulieMay will always prioritise the use of comfortable materials and top quality.
I am passionate about my business idea, and the Tier 1 visa allows me to develop it and take my business to the next level.
How did I start my Tier 1 visa application?
Before starting the application, I made an appointment with the Enterprise team. They are very helpful, and can discuss your ideas with you and talk you through the process. You can also find all the information you need on their website.
I submitted my application three months before my student visa expired, which is recommended. So I made sure I started my application a few months before this, to give me time to make it strong.
How did I prepare my application?
I explained my business idea and an understanding of my market (my customers and competitors) in the application form. I also submitted a 1 minute video pitch and a cash flow.
To strengthen my application I did market research through surveys. I also distributed my products to friends for their feedback in order to collect some solid data to support my idea.
Throughout the process the Enterprise team were happy to offer feedback on my application.
Advice for other Tier 1 visa applicants
I personally think the financial model aspect of the application is really important. You need to have a very clear plan for how your business is going to make money. That must include your costs and how you are going to cover those costs in the early stages.
At the interview stage, the panel judges will want to know if you are the right person for this idea. You have to demonstrate you have the skills to run your business, and you have thought of all the possible problems you could encounter and your solutions to these problems. Be confident and very well prepared for the interview.
If you have an idea but don’t know where to start, the Enterprise team are a good starting point. Startup programmes like their weekend QHacks and QIncubator allow you to meet professionals from different industries and receive very helpful advice on your ideas. You can also meet people who have the same passions as you. More generally, talk to different people about your idea and hear their opinions; then you are more likely to succeed with the Tier 1 application.
I sincerely hope people like me, who are passionate about a business idea, consider the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. It will be a life-changing decision for you. Good luck!