5 Reasons Why The UK Is The Best Place To Be An Entrepreneur
By Oshin Shahiean of OTS Solicitors
The United Kingdom is expected to become the largest economy in the European Union and the fourth biggest market on the planet over the next two decades. Despite a slowdown in many of the world’s emerging markets, the UK is growing stronger by the day.
For investors and entrepreneurs from non-EEA countries, the UK provides a wealth of opportunities. Those who are interested simply have to apply for a Tier One Entrepreneur Visa, and if successful, they will be able to launch their venture in one of the most business friendly markets in the world.
So what makes the UK so appealing to entrepreneurs? Here are five reasons why it should be the only European country you consider launching your new venture in.
1. The UK has a strong, business-friendly economy
Setting up a business in Britain is easy. Unlike many European countries, red-tape is minimal and taxes are low.
A company can be set up in the UK in less than 48 hours.
According to PWC’s UK Economic Outlook – March 2016, the UK’s economic recovery following the 2008 crisis has been faster than most other G7 countries. Assisted by lower oil prices, consumer spending remains strong and GDP is expected to rise by 2%. London is projected to grow by 3%. Business investment growth is also predicted to be strong in 2016 and 2017.
This is good news for entrepreneurs looking to launch their products and services in the UK and attract investment. Consumers are spending and investors are willing to take risks, providing the perfect platform for entrepreneurs to enter the market.
2. British Entrepreneur Visas are relatively easy to obtain
The UK Home Office has undoubtedly tightened up on the issuing of Tier One Entrepreneur Visas. To be successful, applicants must pass the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’, which involves submitting a detailed business plan and providing proof that you have the experience and expertise required to launch a successful venture in the UK.
However, for those who are genuine entrepreneurs, passing the test should be relatively straight-forward. Successful business people are serious about planning for sustainable growth and providing a return for their investors; therefore, a strong, solid business plan is something they can produce easily because it has been in existence for some time.
Non-EEA nationals who have a genuine business, in an industry they have knowledge and experience of, and who have done adequate market research and planning, will have no trouble passing the ‘genuine entrepreneur test’ and obtaining a British Entrepreneur Visa.
Other eligibility requirements include:
- you must have access to £50,000 or £200,000
- be over 16 years’ old
- be able to support yourself without having to use to public funds
- meeting the English language requirement
You will also need to provide the following documents when you make your application:
- a current passport or other valid travel identification
- evidence of the investment funds available to you
- a detailed and original business plan
- evidence that you can support yourself during your stay
- proof that you meet the English language requirement
- your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a country where you have to take the test
- a criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
Entrepreneurs who have resided in the UK on an Entrepreneur Visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years. After six years of living in the UK, British Citizenship can be applied for.
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa also allows for an accelerated route to ILR if the applicant’s business is able to create 10 or more jobs for at least 12 months. If this is the case, ILR is acquired after three years on the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. The holder is then able to apply for a British passport after two years of holding ILR.
4. Entrepreneurs are valued in the UK and even have the backing of the Royal Family
Entrepreneurs are highly valued in the UK. In a recent article, entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den judge, Peter Jones praised the work of His Royal Highness The Duke of York in his unending support for UK start-ups. Three years ago, the Duke launched Pitch@Palace, where twice a year tech start-ups are able to pitch their ideas in front of hundreds of potential investors, mentors and supporters.
The UK Government also provides strong support to international entrepreneurs. The UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Global entrepreneur Programme (GEP) helps overseas entrepreneurs and early stage technology businesses or start-ups that want to relocate their business to the UK.
Support is free and includes:
- help to develop business plans
- assistance with relocating to the UK
- providing introductions to investors
- guidance on how to grow internationally
- mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs
- continued help once located in the UK
In return for this support, overseas entrepreneurs are encouraged to set up their headquarters in the UK.
5. Low taxes
The UK has one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G20. Currently, the rate of corporation tax is 20%. However, the Government has announced that this rate will be cut to 17% by 2020. This will mean that the UK will have one of the lowest rates of corporation tax in Weston Europe.
These are just some of the factors that make Britain such an attractive destination for entrepreneurs. Others include:
- a stable and democratic government
- unfettered access to the European Union market
- a large, well-educated labour force
- world-class cultural, recreational and sporting activities
- some of the world’s finest schools and universities
- a booming property market
Applying for an Entrepreneur Visa can be a complex process and it is important to collate the correct documentation to support your application. By engaging a lawyer who is experienced in sending Tier One Entrepreneur Visa applications to the Home Office, you greatly increase your chances of successfully obtaining a visa in a short amount of time.
Based in the heart of London, OTS Solicitors specialises in Employment and Immigration law. Our expert team are committed to delivering the best results for our Employment and Immigration clients. We have years of experience in submitting Tier One Entrepreneur Visa applications and have a strong success rate in having them approved in the first instance. If you wish to make an appointment, please phone our office on 0203 959 9123.