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The UK Innovator visa: How to choose an endorsing body

The requirements of the new Innovator visa are covered in our previous blog available here. The innovator visa requires a two-stage approach. The first stage to obtain an endorsement by one of the endorsing bodies. The second is the visa application. The first stage is arguably the most difficult to achieve, as it is a subjective test. You must be able to demonstrate to the endorser that you have a genuine business idea that they would endorse.

This blog considers the endorsing bodies available and how to find the right one for you.

Endorsing bodies based on location

The following endorsing bodies are based on where you intend to base your business. These are all outside of London and would suit a migrant innovator who wishes to be based in one of these locations:

‘Blue Orchid’ endorse high growth start-ups who are working within their client base across England’s North West and West Midlands.

‘Invest NI’ endorses entities for Start-up/Innovator Visas through participation on its accelerator program.

‘Scottish EDGE’ endorse winners of its twice-yearly funding competition for innovative, high-growth potential Scottish businesses.

Endorsing bodies that specialise in Tech

Tech is a real focus of the innovator visa and there are numerous endorsing bodies that specialise in endorsing tech. Some of the tech endorsers specialise particularly in tech in a certain sphere. So, for example, MDR LAB, listed below has the focus on tech within a legal space, such as AI within the contract law sphere.

‘Bethnal Green Ventures’ invest in persons that want to use technology to tackle big social and environmental problems that aim to improve lives.

‘Cylon’ endorse tech start-ups specialising in cyber security.

‘Level 39’ endorses FinTech, cyber security, smart cities, retail tech and other ambitious tech business.

‘MDR LAB’ is an accelerator for tech start-ups in the legal space.

‘Seedcamp’ has its global HQ in London and invests in companies utilising technology to solve issues in technology and attacking large, global markets.

‘Tech Nation’ focuses on entrepreneurs of product-led digital technology businesses and are developing an initiative to identify and support Tech Nation applicants. They aim to begin endorsing applications by April 2020 or possibly sooner.


‘Deep Science Ventures’ have ideas already published for teams to work on. Not all of these projects are likely to be suitable for an innovator visa, so if you are interested in moving forwards with one of these projects, then you will need to take advice on whether it would be suitable for an endorsement and, following your application, for leave under the innovator route.


Innovators wishing to have an impact on society at large have a few options open to them:

‘Bethnal Green Ventures’ as referred to above in the ‘Tech’ section aims to support businesses tackling social and environmental issues; or

‘Fortunis Capital’ works who work with motivated individuals and teams who have innovative and scalable proposals that aim to have a positive impact on wider society.

‘Innovate Britain’ focus on vital enterprise sectors including Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Consumer and Infrastructure.


‘MedCity’ supports collaboration, investment, entrepreneurship and industry within the life sciences across Greater South-East of England.

Alternatively, there are endorsers that specialise in high growth business models regardless of the industry and there are endorsers which may be more appropriate than those listed above. Following discussions with one of our business specialists, we can advise you on the best endorsers for your type of business. It is important to select the correct endorser and be prepared for ongoing involvement by the endorser in the business. Most endorsers will want to arrange at least annual meetings to ensure your business is on track.

Having difficulty choosing an endorser?

Westkin Associates is a leading immigration firm that has had great success in supporting clients apply for both innovator and start-up visas.

For expert legal advice and services call us at: 0207 118 4546

Or email us at info@westkin.com

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