Category Archives: Immigration

Innovator Founder Visa Changing?

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Many wonder whether the current Innovator Founder Visa policy will change under the new Labour government in the UK. This is a question that only time will answer. However, I will outline some areas where change ought to be made. These proposed changes will ensure that the Innovator Founder Visa policy is robust and creates an attractive entrepreneurial ecosystem for international entrepreneurs.  None of the content in this article, website or my services constitute immigration advice or services. For immigration assistance, please refer to a regulated solicitor or immigration advisor. Before I highlight the potential areas of change to the Innovator Founder Visa regime, let me briefly describe this visa.  I previously wrote an article and made a video on the flaws of the Innovator Founder visa policy, which you can read here.  What is the Innovator Founder Visa?  The Innovator Founder Visa is an immigration pathway designed for international entrepreneurs who may wish to set up an innovative business in the UK.  Please refer to the UK Government website for full information about this visa.  How should the Innovator Founder Visa policy change? There are several areas in which the Innovator Founder policy ought to change.  An overview of the changes that I deem to be beneficial are: Let’s look at each one in more detail: Innovation One of the common issues I have observed since the launch of this visa is the innovation requirement and its interpretation.  The “issue” with this requirement is that no specific factor determines innovation. For instance, patentability / Intellectual Property (IP), and no trade marks do not fall under this category. However, the problem with setting this as an absolute requirement is that many businesses, despite being innovative, cannot obtain patents. Thus, this would exclude a considerable number of founders and their businesses.  Although this is a common problem, there is no clear fix either.  Currently, determining innovation is subjective and up to each Endorsing Body to determine.  Visa Fees This is sadly a problem that many founders are unhappy about.  There are several costs associated with this visa, which are: With the first cost, the Endorsing Bodies have to charge applicants as this fee enables them to sustain their operations. However, the visa processing fee, payable to the UK government can be lowered. This is especially true when looking at other countries such as the Netherlands, where a similar visa costs around €380, in contrast to £1,191 for this visa. However, it is important to state that the Dutch self-employment visa only lasts for one year and has to be renewed.  Nevertheless, given the lower number of applicants for the Innovator Founder Visa, in contrast to other visa routes such as the Skilled Worker pathway, it is sensible to consider lowering this fee.  The Endorsing Bodies Firstly, allow me to clarify that this is not to criticise the current Endorsing Bodies. However, I believe that a higher number of Endorsing Bodies means more options for founders and additional sector-specific expertise.  However, a potential issue that may arise from increasing the number of Endorsing Bodies is a potential conflict of interest between them.  But looking at other countries such as Canada, we notice that applicants have more choices when it comes to third-party approval. With Canada in particular, founders have the option to either raise investment from VCs, or angel investors or enrol in incubation programs (but they do come with a cost).  These are some of the areas in which the Innovator Founder visa policy may be reviewed and potentially changed.  I have made a video on this topic as well, which you can view below: f you require business assistance as an international founder, have a look at my services designed for founders wishing to set up a business in the UK here.  About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses.

Why every international entrepreneur should work with a business consultant?

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You are an international entrepreneur and want to start a business abroad. You may dread the various legal, commercial and perhaps cultural challenges ahead of you. Obtaining a visa, albeit a significant milestone, is only your first hurdle. I know how this situation feels as I have been in your shoes.  I became an international entrepreneur in the UK following the competition of my master’s degree at Newcastle University. At the time, I identified a gap in the student housing market, which resulted in conceptualising and founding my former venture, StudyFlats.  Within 4 years, I grew StudyFlats to 30+ UK cities, a team of four and we almost closed our first funding round until the lovely events of 2020 squashed the entire company (yes, painful). Nevertheless, I still obtained my Settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, also known as permanent residency. Throughout this entire time, I was fortunate to have friends and a powerful network to help me overcome some of the challenges facing every international entrepreneur. This was especially the case as I started StudyFlats with less than £500 and proofread students’ assignments in the first year to support myself and my business.  However, not every international entrepreneur may have the network that I had. Moreover, I still had to make a lot of mistakes and go through extreme financial and mental pressure to grow my business. Yet, I could not identify a business consultant who specialised in working with overseas entrepreneurs (and decided to be the first one myself by the end of 2022). Let me tell you a little truth: as an international entrepreneur, you are at a disadvantage. You are taking risks and are also investing your key resources, time and money. If it fails, you are the only one losing.  Risk is a core part of entrepreneurship, regardless of what type of entrepreneur you are. However, the risk is even greater when you are an entrepreneur and also have to comply with immigration rules and milestones.  And this is one of the reasons why every international entrepreneur should work with a business consultant.  Working with a consultant such as myself will help you in the following ways: Minimising risk  My first advice to any entrepreneur is to have a thorough understanding of the market in which they seek to operate.  This requires: Many international entrepreneurs lack one or both of the above, and it often results in disaster.  The right business consultant will help you minimise risk as they possess both of the above factors.  Cultural gap  In life, and especially in business, everything boils down to relationships.  You may neglect this factor. However, if you fail to communicate with your stakeholders the right way, you are destined to fail.  The way business is conducted differs in each country. You may be a skilled entrepreneur, yet lack the cultural grasp of doing business in a country other than yours. Business consultants who work with international entrepreneurs (at least the right ones) will comprehend the importance of this point. Additionally, they will be able to help you successfully navigate the cultural landscape.  Commercial expertise  Entrepreneurship is a game of unlimited challenges. You fix one aspect, and the other crumbles. This is a brutal reality that you must accept.  Additionally, various considerations must be taken into account. Let’s look at a few: By working with a business consultant, you will delegate some of these to them. This is not only sensible from a business perspective, but also essential for you to be able to overcome the personal and professional challenges that you will have to face.  These are some of the reasons why every international entrepreneur should work with a business consultant.  If you are an international entrepreneur and want to work with a consultant, get in touch with me today. I am the UK’s first and #1 independent business consultant who has been through the immigration journey himself.  About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses.

Innovator Founder Visa: Pros & Cons

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The UK’s Innovator Founder visa was launched in 2023 as a pathway for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses in the UK. The visa and its requirements have substantially changed from its predecessor, the Innovator visa and the Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme   If you are considering the UK’s Innovator Founder visa, then it is sensible to make a full evaluation. As a former migrant entrepreneur and business consultant working with people navigating the business immigration journey, I will seek to highlight the pros and cons of this visa.  Innovator Founder Visa Pros  Suitable for scalable businesses  The Innovator Founder visa requirements emphasize scalability. As such, if your business is scalable, or is already at traction stage, then this visa may be suitable.  Pathway to permanent residence & UK citizenship This visa offers two pathways for settlement (permanent residence) in the UK: three years or five years.   In comparison to other countries such as the UAE, this may be a desirable aspect for some.   The UK’s global position The UK is among the easiest countries in the world to start a business in.   Although due to recent legislation by the Companies House, there are now additional requirements and compliance protocols for setting up a company in the UK.   The multicultural landscape of the UK, as well as English being the spoken language may be an advantage to some international entrepreneurs.   Secondary employment The current Innovator Founder visa permits paid employment alongside the applicant’s business. This may be a beneficial option for some international founders. Innovator Founder Visa Cons  Strict business & endorsement requirements The selection process for the Innovator Founder visa which is through an endorsement from one of the four designated Endorsing Bodies is strict.   There are several requirements that your business must meet, as well as the founder/founding team meeting a certain skills level.   Less Endorsing Bodies There are now only 4 endorsing bodies in contrast to 65 under the previous Innovator visa pathway. This leaves applicants with less choice and a lower margin of error.   Personally, I support the view that a larger selection of Endorsing Bodies will facilitate additional sector-specific expertise.   May be expensive for some There are several costs involved, and these exclude any additional help from third parties such as a business consultant (me) or an immigration advisor/solicitor.   Minimum budget required: £5000 to £10,000 (this does not include the funds for your business). The initial costs are: Endorsement: £1200 Visa Application Fee: £1,191 (outside the UK) or £1486 (inside the UK) NHS Health Surcharge: ££1,035 per year To help my clients/ Innovator Founder visa applicants, I offer an idea assessment service. This will involve assessing your idea and the provision of expert feedback to reduce the chances of your endorsement being rejected.   Economic uncertainty Global events such as the 2008 Financial Crisis, Brexit and COVID-19 have left a painful mark on the UK’s economy.   This is evident in several contexts such as the Cost-of-Living Crisis.  Additionally, with the 2025 General Election coming up, it is reasonable to expect dramatic policy shifts, indicating economic uncertainty. These are some of the pros and cons of the Innovator Founder visa. Need help with the Innovator Founder visa endorsement? Check out my services, designed specifically for founders like you. About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses. Disclaimer: none of the content in this article or my services constitutes immigration advice or services.

Innovator Founder Visa Rejection | 4 reasons

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The risk of an Innovator Founder visa rejection is on the rise. This is not a surprise as the new visa, in contrast to the former Innovator visa, now permits applicants to engage in paid employment. As such, this has led to increased interest and demand for the Innovator Founder visa.  Disclaimer: none of the content in this article or my services constitutes immigration advice or services. In addition to increased demand, the current Innovator Founder visa can only be endorsed by 4 Endorsing Bodies, a far smaller number than the previous visa. As a business consultant working with international entrepreneurs, I have come across Innovator Founder visa rejection cases that relate to the endorsement stage. Moreover, I have also actively monitored the Innovator Founder visa’s rejections. These are 3 common reasons why your Innovator Founder visa endorsement application may be rejected.  1. Your idea is not innovative   As you may be aware, there are 3 key factors that Endorsing Bodies assess when considering endorsement applications, which are: Let’s talk about the innovation aspect first. Technically speaking, your idea/business should: 2. Your business is not viable  Notice that I did not use the word “idea” in the heading above?  The “viability” aspect refers to “you”, the founder/founding team. The core requirement is whether you have the skills and competencies to start and scale the business or not. Thus, factors such as your professional experience or qualifications will be relevant.  3. Your idea is not scalable Put simply: what is the vision for your business? How far will it go? How much money will it make? You may have a unique concept and have the personal skills to launch the business, but how big will the business get? If your business cannot scale nationally or internationally, it may be one of the reasons for a rejection of your Innovator Founder visa endorsement. 4. You bought a bad Innovator Founder visa business plan  I write business plans for my clients (up to a limit, as they take a lot of time and I write each plan myself). Therefore, I am aware that many founders will seek the help of external parties for their business plan. Sadly, the market is now full of business plan writers who simply either use ChatGPT, or hire people with no experience in business to write a low-quality plan.  This is why I have introduced a service to coach and mentor founder to writer their own business plan. I understand that for some, it may be necessary to have somebody else communicate their business.  However, writing your own business plan will give you more confidence in presenting it, and it will also improve several skills such as writing and design. And do not worry, I will help you with ALL of that.  These are some common reasons behind an Innovator Founder Visa rejection at the endorsement stage. Remember, do not trust every company or person to be in charge of your business ideas and endorsement application, unless you can verify their credentials. Even then, you should make sure that you are aware of every aspect and stage of the business plan whilst it is written.  Need help with the Innovator Founder visa endorsement? Check out my services, designed specifically for founders like you. About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses.

UK Innovator Founder Visa Consulting Program

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If you’re interested in starting a business in the UK, then my Consulting Program is ideal for your business needs. As a former immigrant tech founder, I have settled in the UK myself through the business immigration journey.  Disclaimer | Nothing in this article, website or my services constitutes immigration and / or legal advice. I cannot advise or assist with your endorsement or visa application. All my services are solely intended to assist in planning, starting and scaling a business in the UK. This Innovator Founder Visa Consulting Program is designed with migrant founders in mind, as well as extensive business knowledge that I have gained as a tech founder scaling a business in the UK (leading to not just settling in the UK but also closing a major seed funding round). About me Okay so first things first, let me briefly introduce myself: my name is Sohrab. I’m originally from Iran, and grew up in between my native Tehran, Switzerland and subsequently the UK when I moved here alone at the age of 17. I was initially on a Student / Tier 4 (Child) visa, which I secured myself, until I finished my master’s degree at Newcastle University, who then endorsed me for the former Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Route, and ultimately I switched to the former Tier 1 Entrepreneur scheme.  As I navigated through the UK’s business immigration schemes, I grew StudyFlats to a team of 5, with a property portfolio across 30+ UK cities & 10,000 student rooms. My work has also received recognitio from GBEA, as well as leading to my acceptance onto the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator (a former Innovator Visa endorsing body – although at this point I was close to settlement in the UK despite having the option for that visa too).  In short: I have lived and breathed the journey of being an immigrant entrepreneur in the UK.  (See my CV) UK Innovator Founder Visa  The UK’s Innovator Founder Visa is an immigration pathway for international entrepreneurs who wish to obtain residence in the UK through setting up a new business.  For full information about the visa itself, please refer to the UK Government’s website.  About the Innovator Founder Visa Advisory Program  I understand how expensive & stressful this entire process is for founders. Being an entrepreneur is difficult on its own, let alone when combined with its pursuit within the frame of immigration rules.   Sadly, many companies and services also offer extremely low-quality services in exchange for hefty fees (e.g. business plan writers). As such, I decided to  come up with a solution that: A) helps Innovator Founder Visa applicants keep their costs low & B) be cost-efficient for my business.  This UK Innovator Founder Visa Consulting Program helps founders: What the program covers? This 1:1 program is designed to help with all the business needs of founders, including idea assessment for the Innovator Founder Visa endorsement application.  Below are some examples of the areas that I cover in this program: As you may have noticed, I am not an immigration advisor or solicitor. My services are solely of a business nature.  The Innovator Founder pathway is a business visa. Meanwhile, business and visas are two completely separate domains. Immigration specialists are able to advise on immigration law, however, I assist in planning, starting & scaling a tech startup as a migrant founder (I cannot assist with or advise on any immigration applications, including endorsement). How it works & how much does it cost? The program consists of 5 one-to-one video calls between me and the founder(s).  The applicants have the choice to choose which particular area they’d prefer to focus on during these sessions.  The cost of the program is £400.  How to book? You can book and pay for your first session below. Once we have our first call, I will send you an invoice for the remaining program fee.

Why immigrant entrepreneurs are important to the UK

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As a former international founder in the UK, I have written several articles about immigrant entrepreneurs. In this one, I will look at their importance from a UK perspective. The UK’s political and economic landscape has rapidly shifted in the last decade. Moreover, preserving its benefits for international entrepreneurs is vital to the UK’s future success.  Immigrants are much more likely to become entrepreneurs. This is a hypothesis that I examined in several other articles on my blog, most notably: In the context of the UK, the key points covered in my previous research may be applicable. However, identifying the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to the UK benefits from highlighting the key factors signifying this importance.  These are namely: Global challenges We live through a historical period in which the problems facing humanity are, by their nature, global.  Examples include international terrorism, climate change and so on.  As we are on the topic of climate change, allow me to introduce you to the concept of “climate refugees”  For many, the issue of migration and displacement is automatically contextualised as a political one. However, this is an incomplete perspective and ignores the increasing roles of other issues such as climate change.  According to a report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), there will be an estimated 25 million to 1 billion displaced people, solely due to climate change, by 2050.  Additionally, UNESCO has predicted that displacement will be a primary cause of displacement within the following decades.  << Read full report>>  By 2050, there will be between 25 million to 1 billion displaced people due to climate conditions. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Innovations & new solutions   Global challenges require global solutions. Restrictive measures, enacted through policy and other means, pose the risk of harming global innovation.  Immigrants, nomads and displaced people are problem-solvers by nature. Their realities are formed by unique events and challenges. The latter are beyond what is interpreted as “ordinary” for most people in the “developed” world. For instance, let us look at an article by Stanford Graduate School of Business.  The article examines 880,000 patent registrations between 1990 & 2016. The research found that patents by immigrants outmeasured the native groups both statistically and in terms of quality. Despite comprising only 16% of inventors, immigrants were responsible for 23% of patents issued. This study may be contextually and geographically limited to a specific area/nation.  However, it supports the broader argument that innovation and creativity are skills that are highly evident among migrants and displaced people.  The succeeding point about immigrant entrepreneurs in the UK will support this hypothesis.  Immigrant entrepreneurs behind the UK’s top companies  Similar to the US, immigrant entrepreneurs in the UK proportionally outsize the local population.  In a research/study conducted by The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN), it was observed that foreign-born founders or co-founders accounted for 39% of the top 100 fastest-growing enterprises in the UK. The UK’s global position  The UK’s global standing as an entrepreneurial ecosystem and a business-friendly nation is closely tied to immigrant entrepreneurs. This connection remains significant in the long term. Therefore, the formation and structure of the UK’s visa policy hold critical importance. Immigrants, nomads and displaced people show high tendencies towards entrepreneurship. This is inherently valuable and must be utilised for the betterment of the world. However, the current global visa regime has a long road to adapt to the premise of immigrant entrepreneurship. About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses, and mainly with obtaining endorsements from the endorsing bodies. References

Don’t make this mistake with Business and Startup Visas

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Business and startup visas and international entrepreneurs are what and who I deal with on a daily basis. As someone who has embarked on the path of business visas as a foreign entrepreneur, I have learned a few lessons. Disclaimer: none of the content in this article, or website, constitute immigration advice in any shape or form. For professional immigration advice, please refer to a regulated immigration advisor or solicitor. If you are an international entrepreneur considering applying for a business or startup visa, there are quite a few things to consider. This may be one of the biggest challenges with foreign entrepreneurs. Starting a business is always hard work; add it to navigating immigration rules and you are bound to get things wrong.  As such, in this article, I seek to prevent foreign entrepreneurs from making ONE fatal mistake, and that is underestimating the requirements of business and startup visas.  Business & Startup visas may come with ongoing requirements Remember that under many visa paths such as the UK’s Innovator Founder Visa, there are ongoing milestones that founders must meet.  In other words, getting a business or startup visa is just the beginning.  Where do founders get it wrong? With the above in mind, founders usually underestimate startup and business visa requirements by either: These two mistakes can end up costing you money, time, energy and your health. It is vital that founders who consider startup and business visas are aware of this reality.  Startup and business visas are not the means to obtain long-term residency/citizenship.  It may be in certain countries, but it certainly is not the case with the UK’s Innovator Founder Visa.  Remember to assess everything from a “business” perspective, rather than a “residency/immigration” one.  What if residency is your goal? Entrepreneurship is not everyone’s forté, and I am not judging you for that.  Perhaps you do wish to invest in commercial projects whilst obtaining an additional residency or citizenship. In these cases, it is better to consider residency or citizenship by investment programs offered by several countries across the world.  Do not pursue a business or startup visa if your main priority is residency. Running a business has many uncertainties, and it should always be done for the purpose of generating profit unless we are speaking of non-profits.  Any other goal is foundationally wrong for doing so.  About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses, and mainly with obtaining endorsements from the endorsing bodies.

What moving abroad alone as a 17-year-old immigrant taught me

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I will always consider myself an “immigrant”, partly because I refuse any negative connotation in relation to this term; I was born and raised in Iran. At the age of 17, I packed my entire life and got on a plane to the UK in pursuit of further education, all alone.  Well, every story starts somewhere, and my immigration story began shortly after I finished High School in Iran. Initially, I moved to Manchester on a student visa to attend college/pre-university preparation. My educational journey came to an end when I was 22 and obtained my master’s degree in law from Newcastle University.  Shortly after, I developed a business idea based on my experience with renting accommodation as an international student, which later became StudyFlats. This idea was supported by Newcastle University and got me a 1-year visa as a graduate international entrepreneur.  Subsequently, I obtained a three-year visa (which led to my settlement after it ended). During this period, I scaled StudyFlats to over 30 UK cities, hired a team of four and managed a global client base across property sites around the UK.  Going through the business immigration journey was one of the most difficult journeys that I could embark on. It profoundly changed my worldview, self-perspective and professional skill set.  There are some big lessons that I learnt along the way. My hope is for these to resonate with others experiencing the same hardships or learning curve, and to raise awareness of the immigration narrative from an entrepreneurial and personal perspective.  You are at a disadvantage, in many things… Yes, this is a fact, nor is this some “woke/snowflake” rant. Racism, discrimination and prejudice exist in the UK. They can be witnessed within many fabrics of the society, such as: -Housing -Employment  -Healthcare  -Media  Of course, each person’s experience is unique. One individual may only encounter discrimination and racism in one area but not necessarily in another.  The argument is that discrimination exists and it can become a professional and personal barrier. Personally, I may have been lucky or privileged to not experience many of these. However, the journey of being an immigrant certainly taught me about what discrimination looks like. You think more about the world  One side effect of a multinational and global personal perspective is that it forces you to think more.  You compare different nations and question how and why they come to differ. This will lead to even more questions.  How did they come to differ? What differentiates the two societies and the way they are administered?  These are examples of questions that you may have, and it’s a good thing.  These questions, and comparative outlook, will contribute to your growth and level of knowledge.  The question of “identity” This is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of being an immigrant, or you could also say a “global citizen”.  Once you spend long enough in another country/ your new “home”, you will undergo a series of changes.  After a while, it just seems like you don’t fully belong anywhere. Your identity is now a reflection of different, and sometimes contrasting, viewpoints.  Whilst inconvenient, such experiences will either make or break you.  These are some of the things that I learnt as an immigrant who moved to the UK alone at the age of 17…Now I help other aspiring global citizens start their businesses abroad. About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats which I scaled to over 30 UK cities. I currently help other entrepreneurs and businesses of all size across several domains. For my credentials, please see here.

Why many immigrants become (great) entrepreneurs

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In a previous article, I made a semi-academic evaluation of the link between being and immigrant and becoming an entrepreneur. My previous analysis demonstrated a direct link between immigration and entrepreneurship.  In 2018, over 55% of US unicorns were founded or co-founded by immigrant entrepreneurs (Anderson, 2022). This percentage represented 50 unicorns with an immigrant founder or cofounder out of 91.  Fast forward to 2022, there were 582 unicorns in the US, and again 55% (319) of them had an immigrant (co)-founder.  Additionally, a 2012 study stated that immigrant entrepreneurs represented over a quarter of all startup founders. As human beings, our biological instinct is to survive and evolve under difficult circumstances.  This may manifest itself in various ways.  Immigrants and displaced people face an array of considerable socio-economic barriers and challenges.  These challenges may be internal (e.g. mental health issues), external (e.g. employment discrimination, or both. Additionally, these external and internal may have an inverse relationship. This further complicates the conclusion of a thorough third-party perspective on this issue.  Nevertheless, the above reflects the inherent principle behind the hypothesis that immigrants are statistically and practically more likely to become entrepreneurs.  In this piece, I will highlight three key points concerning immigrants and displaced people. These factors range in nature and effect, but their common attribute is their contribution towards immigrants’ pursuit of entrepreneurship. Limited opportunities / Socio-Economic barriers Once immigrants and displaced people have arrived, and by some means have “settled” in their destination, their primary concern will be money and financial stability. Thus, they are likely to encounter and face the labour market of their new home. Unfortunately, this is one of the early and key areas in which immigrants and minority individuals will encounter bias, discrimination and prejudice. I shall state, that I comprehend the complex nature of this issue from a sociological perspective. However, this article does not seek to evaluate the phenomenon of discrimination. Instead, I will highlight how the existence of the aforementioned is influential in immigrants pursuing entrepreneurship and self-sustained revenue sources. Labour Market Case Study | USA  Numbers are always useful in providing a clear picture of a hypothesis. As such, let us consider some statistics concerning employment discrimination in the US.  For the year 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received a total of 73,485 discrimination charges.  Of this, 34% of the cases, 20,908 charges, were based on racial discrimination. Additionally, 6,213 charges, or 10% of the entire charges for 2022, were based on national origin.  Aside from statistics, it is useful to consider a psychological perspective on the issue of labour and employment discrimination. As such, we shall refer to a case study highlighted by Hamilton College. This study was conducted on economics doctorate students and assessed their employment outcomes against the fluency of their names.  The research found that having an unconventional or hard-to-pronounce name limits employment prospects for candidates. In this case, those candidates were 10% less likely to secure an academic position. Labour Market Case Study | UK  Aside from the US, research that was undertaken in the UK reflected similar results.  One study by the University of Oxford found that Asian and Black ethnic minorities in the UK have to make twice as many applications as their other counterparts. Thus, we can see that labour discrimination and access to employment are real barriers for most, if not all, immigrants, whether first or second-generation. The extent of this discrimination, and therefore its effect, may be debatable; however, it is difficult to argue against the existence of discrimination in the labour market as a whole.  Furthermore, we may also reasonably speculate that having less access to opportunities contributes to immigrants’ pursuit of entrepreneurship. Resilience and risk tolerance Immigration is a phenomenon that radically transforms one’s entire life and the lives of those close to them.  Perhaps this is a relevant instance where the difference between the terms “expat” and “immigrant” may be relevant. One key difference between the two, in my opinion, is the element of “choice”. Expats “choose” to move abroad, and can “choose” to move back to their home country. Immigrants and displaced people, by principle, do not have this “choice”. This derives from inadequate and negative political, economic and societal conditions where immigrants and displaced people originate. When one is encountered with a life where the choices are always between “difficult” and “more difficult”, you are likely to have a different approach towards risk.  One of the principal factors influencing the pursuit of entrepreneurship is risk tolerance.  Immigrants and displaced people are arguably more risk-tolerant due to the dynamics of their lives and past experiences. This may not be a deciding factor on its own. However, the psychological attributes of immigrant entrepreneurs, which this point reflects, are an important point of consideration.  Liquid assets & access to cash When we speak of immigrants and displaced people, we are not referring to a collective group of people who are highly alike.  Immigrants and displaced people could consist of upper-middle-class families with considerable liquid assets who are seeking to migrate for a better life abroad. In contrast, we may also refer to asylum seekers who are fleeing conflict such as the Ukranian refugees in 2022. The point that I wish to highlight here is one common factor among all the different segments of immigrants and displaced people. This mutual attribute is the intention to permanently move away and establish a new life.  As such, it is not surprising that many immigrants will seek to relocate their assets (if any). Moreover, asset liquidity is integral for international relocation; thus, immigrants and displaced people often happen to have access to liquid assets more than native populations.  In terms of entrepreneurship and business creation, the role of capital cannot be underestimated. Many ventures will require an initial capital investment. Immigrants, due to their access to capital due to their circumstances, are therefore likely to overcome this first hurdle.  These are some factors that motivate immigrants to become…

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What you should NOT do when writing an Innovator Founder visa business plan

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Writing an Innovator Founder visa business plan can be challenging. That’s one of the reasons why many international founders opt to work with me on their Innovator Founder visa business plan.  This article solely represents a case of personal evaluation and opinion. It shall by no means constitute immigration and/or professional advice. If you plan to apply for the Innovator Founder visa, you must prepare a business plan. I have previously written an article about how to create an Innovator Founder visa business plan. In this article, I want to share some tips on writing an Innovator Founder visa business plan. Specifically, I will be highlighting things that you should NOT do when you are planning your venture.  Remember: the perfect business plan does not boil down to being well-written or well-designed (although these are also essential). Writing the ideal Innovator Founder visa business plan requires a well-thought, viable and clear business proposition.  These tips will help you in formulating both your business plan, as well as some of the fundamental aspects of your business planning.  Overpromise  This is one of the biggest mistakes made by founders. Sadly, international entrepreneurs are not exempt either.  And it’s easy to understand why: you want to present the “ideal” image for your concept, whether it’s to the Innovator Founder Endorsing Bodies, the Home Office or even investors. However, this is a dangerous mistake, especially if you are held accountable for making progress against your initial Innovator Founder visa business plan.  Underestimate your competition & market dynamics In line with the last point, some founders also underestimate their market and competition.  This may be done either intentionally, to present an inaccurate/idealistic image of the market, or unintentionally as a result of personal neglect.  Overestimate your offer This is an advice that you may not get from many consultants.  Remember: simplicity is key. Keep everything as simple and straightforward as possible. Don’t write pages and pages about why your product is ideal and what it does. Instead, dedicate your content to presenting evidence of your venture and the market’s viability.  Neglect the financials  Cash flow and financial management are integral to every business. You must plan for and state all instances of incoming and outgoing cash flow.  Have a plan B for every scenario and determine the financial implications of all scenarios.  Need help with writing your Innovator Founder visa business plan? Read about my full services here to find out more.  About | My name is Sohrab Vazir. I’m a UK-based entrepreneur and business consultant. At the age of 22, and while I was an international student (graduate), I started my own Property Technology (PropTech) business, StudyFlats. I did so by obtaining an endorsement from Newcastle University under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Scheme. Subsequently, I obtained a further 3-year Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa (replaced by the Innovator Founder Visa). I grew my business to over 30 UK cities, and a team of four, and also obtained my Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) in the UK. I now help other migrant entrepreneurs, such as myself, with their businesses.

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