UKTI’s Sirius Programme brings in entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Vietnam and Italy to start up in the UK

The government has launched its Sirius Programme and accepted seven start-ups into the accelerator system.

A business which converts coffee grounds into biofuel is one of the seven successful ventures set to become the first crop of Sirius Programme companies.

Set up by the government and UKTI, the Sirius Programme is part of a drive to encourage overseas entrepreneurs to found and grow their businesses in the UK.

Having whittled down a list of 160 entrepreneurs from 30 countries, the seven successful start-ups contain 19 young entrepreneurs from 13 nations.

The ventures will receive start-up support in the form of a 12-month place on a business accelerator programme. Contained within the process will be mentoring, help with clients and financial support of £12,000 per team member and visa endorsement.

According to the government and UKTI, the Sirius Programme aims to entice hundreds of entrepreneurs into the UK during its first two years. It is hoped that this will create new jobs, bring in foreign investment and have a positive impact on the economy.

The Sirius Programme was first announced back in September, when trade and investment minister Lord Green said, ‘UKTI’s Sirius scheme will be one of the most comprehensive start-up support packages offered globally, and the best in Europe.

‘Ensuring that Britain becomes the country of choice for talented graduates to start and grow their businesses will help our economy to grow, boost productivity and create jobs.’ 

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One of the successful start-ups is ToBe, a company set up by former New Zealand professional footballer Tim Brown. ToBe has created a wool material called FitWool, which will be used to create a seamless, sock-free running shoe.

Brown says he and the business are delighted to have been chosen to be part of the Sirius Programme.

He adds, ‘It’s the perfect opportunity to help us fulfil ToBe’s ambitions. Being based in the UK will enable us to start up and develop alongside like-minded entrepreneurs and gain access to world-class strategic advice and support.’

Alongside New Zealand, other countries represented in the first crop of Sirius Programme companies are India, China, Italy, Germany, Canada, Kenya and Nigeria. Businesses are set to be launched in sectors ranging from energy to health technology.

Vietnam’s Duy Nguyen, India’s Amit Pate and the UK’s David McGee are coming together to create, a technology business which reduces fraud by providing consumers with instant proof that a branded product being purchased is genuine – via a mobile phone.

Social enterprise Sport for Food is being set up by Frenchman Jean Eyoum and Canadian Richard Loat to form a new model for philanthropy through flashmob-style sports events, where participation is linked to food bank donations.

For the next wave of Sirius Programme ventures, entry is open until 15 January 2014.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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