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The entrepreneurial skills of many overseas students whose start-up businesses are now thriving might have been lost to Scotland without the support of the University of Edinburgh

T LENT I N T E R N AT I O N A L

WORDS: RICHARD GOSLAN

I

t’s one challenge for international students to come to the University of Edinburgh to complete their courses successfully. Staying here and setting up their own start-up companies is another matter altogether. Increasingly strict visa restrictions make gaining permission to remain and work in the UK a huge challenge, but the University of Edinburgh is an authorised endorsing body for the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa endorsement scheme operated by the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration department. This allows Edinburgh Research & Innovation (ERI) to endorse up to 20 international graduates each year as having a genuine and credible business idea to apply for the Tier 1 graduate visa. Infinite spoke with some of the international students who have been supported by ERI’s LAUNCH.ed programme, to find out about their start-ups and how

8 | www.research-innovation.ed.ac.uk

the Tier 1 visa has allowed their entrepreneurial skills to remain in Scotland.

employing five people, building out our product, and entering the marketplace.”

JOSEPH MCELMEEL

JAISHIV NATARAJAN

“I came to Edinburgh from the US to undertake an MBA and developed the idea for SymbaSync, a holistic job-matching company. As well as helping me gain a Tier 1 visa, ERI’s LAUNCH.ed team made the introduction to my now cofounder and CTO from the School of Informatics. “In addition, they provided guidance to seeking a SMART: Scotland grant, startup bootcamp events like Inspire Launch Grow, and one-to-one mentoring that has helped hone our business model and startup strategy. These services are fundamental to my ability to stay in Scotland and develop the business. “We are currently concentrating on raising funds to match our SMART: Scotland grant to help propel our business forward. “Once we are able to raise matching funds, we will be

“I came to the University of Edinburgh from India to do my masters, but before I met my advisers I never thought I’d be able to start up a business in the UK. The LAUNCH.ed team at the University helped me to get a Tier 1 visa, connected me with vital people, provided essential business training and have mentored my business regularly. The contribution has been invaluable. “I am now running Herbologica, a drug discovery company working on using modern scientific methods to extract medicinal compounds from plants and convert them into medicines for dengue fever, hepatitis C and chikungunya. “Herbologica is currently supported by Scottish Enterprise through its Growth Pipeline Scheme, which came about through an introduction the University made for me with Business Gateway.”

SYMBASYNC

HERBOLOGICA

GET SET FOR LAUNCH To find out how ERI is supporting talented international student entrepreneurs set up their businesses in Scotland, visit ERI’s LAUNCH. ed website. www.launch. ed.ac.uk

Profile for Edinburgh Research & Innovation

Infinite magazine 2016  

Edinburgh Research & Innovation’s Infinite Magazine highlights some of the exciting industry engagement, innovation and enterprise activitie...

Infinite magazine 2016  

Edinburgh Research & Innovation’s Infinite Magazine highlights some of the exciting industry engagement, innovation and enterprise activitie...

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