All you need to know about Graduate Entrepreneur Tier 1 Visas

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Every year, SOAS has a small number of endorsement licenses that mean we can endorse our enterprising graduates.  These are exclusively available to Tier 4 visa holders who are current students.

The process for applying is simple.

If you have a viable and innovative business or enterprise idea and want to take this to market in the UK, this is a great opportunity for you.  The idea must show visible benefits to the local community.

As part of the application process for endorsement from SOAS, you will be expected to submit the following documentation:

  • A business plan summarising your business idea, market research, marketing plan, customer analysis and pricing model.
  • A 12 month financial forecast
  • CV
  • Covering Letter

Shortlisted applicants will be expected to present their business idea to a panel. The next deadline for application is 11.59pm on May 31st 2017.  If you are shortlisted, the judging panel which you will be asked to present at is taking place on Thursday 29th June between 2pm – 4pm (each presentation slot will be 20 minutes maximum).

Before you apply you must first meet with the Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) to determine your eligibility for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.

For support through the application process, you are welcome to book an enterprise appointment with the SOAS Careers Service.  These are available on Friday afternoons.

To apply, please submit the requested documents to studententerprise@soas.ac.uk.

Jai Shah, Careers Consultant

SOAS Make A Difference Awards

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SOAS Careers is excited to announce the launch of the 2017 Make a Difference Awards. These awards recognise the talents of SOAS students and contributions they make to improve other people’s lives.

There are 4 Awards this year:

  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Volunteer Team of the Year
  • Student Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Social Enterprise Business plan of the Year

This is your chance nominate either yourself or a fellow student or student group that you know for an award. The winner for each award will be decided by a panel of judges from across SOAS. All nominees will be invited to a celebration event in May, with prizes for the finalists in each category.

More than that though, nominating those making a difference is a fantastic way to spread the word about what they’re achieving and bring together a community of change-makers on campus.

Nominate here by midnight, Tuesday 9 May, and spread the word with #soasawards

Alexis Fromageot

Guest Blog: Advice on becoming self-employed straight out of university

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk.

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Becoming a self-employed worker straight out of university may sound like a daunting prospect. However, the number of graduates taking this route to work straight out of university is on the rise. Despite being your own boss, there is plenty of support available to you.

The number of self-employed workers is rising

The number of self-employed workers in the United Kingdom is rising, and it has been for some time. There were over 4.77 million self-employed workers in the United Kingdom in November 2016 – over 15% of the entire workforce. This is a 23% increase since 2008 (Office of National Statistics, 2016).

Graduates are contributing to the rise in the self-employed workforce

Interestingly, 87% of graduates with a second class or first class degree have thought about freelancing already and consider the gig economy as a “highly attractive and lucrative career option”. 29% of students who have not graduated yet have considered becoming a freelancer within 5 years of completing their university studies, according to Elance (Elance, 2013).

Why are so many people turning to self-employment?

There is a number of reasons why people are becoming self-employed. Some of the main ones are as follows:

  • If a contract does not go as planned, you can decline future offers from the client.
  • You are in a position to negotiate terms – if there are specific conditions you require, let your client know at the stage of negotiation.
  • Contractors usually earn more money than full-time employees.
  • Working with a variety of clients will help develop your skills.
  • If you are able to have some spare time, you can learn new skills and develop your knowledge. There is an opportunity to become an expert in your field and earn a well-respected reputation.
  • You will avoid the dreaded office politics.
  • You are presented with an opportunity to grow your own business.
  • If you don’t like contracting – don’t worry! If you decide that you no longer want to be a contractor then it is easy to close your limited company (if you decide to operate through one) and look for a full-time role.

If you are self-employed, how do you get paid?

Typically, the self-employed operate in two ways, through their own limited company or through an umbrella company. There are advantages for both of these options.

Being paid through an umbrella company eliminates the large amount of paperwork that a self-employed worker could potentially face if operating through their own limited company (personal service company). If you choose to work through an umbrella company, you effectively become an employee of the umbrella and will receive the same pay as an employee in a full-time position. The umbrella company will make the correct tax and National Insurance Contributions to HMRC on your behalf. You will be entitled to Holiday Pay, Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay. Whilst an easy way to operate as self-employed, working through an umbrella is not the most tax efficient.

If you are looking to legally maximise your take-home pay in full compliance with HMRC, setting up your own limited company may be the perfect solution. By running your own limited company, you will become the director and can appoint yourself as a shareholder. Then you are able to pay yourself legally with a combination of salary and dividends. It is also the most professional way to present yourself in front of prospective clients. Whilst there is a large amount of paperwork involved, you can select a contractor accountant that will provide assistance with this, making your life easier.

To compare the difference in take-home pay between setting up your own limited company and using an umbrella company, you can request a personal calculation using a contractor calculator.

What should you look for from a contractor accountant?

  • They should be specialists
  • They should be accredited by reputable industry bodies (such as APSCo and Professional Passport)
  • They should be fully compliant with HMRC legislation
  • They should make their terms incredibly clear (for example, is there a tie in period?)
  • Their solution should match your requirements
  • They should offer you extra (for example, an online portal for your convenience)
  • They should have experts ready to answer your calls and emails
  • They should provide continued support throughout the setup and running of your limited company

Finding your first role as a self-employed worker

Finding your first role as a self-employed worker may sound scary. However, there is a lot of support and help available. The number of recruitment agencies is always on the rise and there are specialist businesses that exclusively focus on finding work for the self-employed. Don’t forget to make sure you have an updated LinkedIn profile and you are connecting with the right people (recruitment agencies, potential clients etc.). Have a look on local forums – are there any events that you can attend as a networker?

It is always a great idea to ask the people close to you for advice. Do any of your friends or family members know people that can help you? As a student, your university will provide careers assistance – get in touch with them to find out how they can help and support you.

If you are looking at becoming self-employed straight out of university – best of luck!

This guest article has been written by Andrew Trodden, Marketing Executive at Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd – specialist contractor accountants

Guest Blog: What I Learned From My Internship At A Fast-Growing Startup

Guest blog from Dániel Hegman, SOAS student, BA Politics (Graduating summer 2017)

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk

How did you start working for start-up?

In my first year at SOAS, I was really keen to get some real work experience. So I went to SOAS Careers Service to ask for their advice. They drew my attention to a couple of interesting opportunities that I could do part-time. After looking through them, one stood out – a Brand Ambassador position at a start-up. I liked the fact that the company is based on an innovative idea and that they are  providing a relevant service for students. They are sorting out summer storage for students, amongst many things, in an innovative way. So I applied and became a Brand Ambassador.

What is your work like?

After my successful application, I received marketing training and I was then responsible for running my own online and offline marketing campaigns. For the offline marketing I put up posters in strategic locations around campus and handed out flyers to students. For the online campaigns I researched relevant SOAS societies on social channels and crafted personalised messages for each one to increase awareness. These efforts resulted in me being the top Brand Ambassador in terms of generating sales! This has not only given me first-hand experience in marketing but also boosted my confidence.

After the successful campaigns, I joined the company as a Finance and Sales intern. On the one hand my job is to ensure the financial sustainability of the company by analysing our expenditures and incomes then making sure all the payments go through. On the other hand, I am helping the sales department with market research and contacting potential customers. However, being a startup I am helping out other departments too.

What is the favourite part of your internship?

My favourite thing at the start-up is the friendly atmosphere. The teams are under the same roof, there is no strong sense of hierarchy and everybody is free to sit wherever they wish. As an intern I get to interact with the different departments and I sometimes have the chance to engage with other aspects of the business. On one of our record days, I got the chance to join one of our drivers on his collection route in London. These experiences truly made me understand how the business is run from different perspectives.

On my first week when my father asked me about my internship the following analogy came to mind. I am working on a ship as a chef, responsible for cooking. However, the ship is in a constant storm so I often have to help out on the main deck!

What advice would you give to others?

Definitely give it a shot and try the start-up life for yourself! Life is too short to spend it all in a corporate office. Start-ups are not for everybody but they provide a unique atmosphere where you can grow and feel that you are truly part of the team, working towards a common dream.

Many thanks to LOVESPACE, the student storage company, for providing the internship! Check out their website if you’re interested in future internships or becoming a student brand ambassador.

Dániel Hegman, SOAS student, BA Politics (Graduating summer 2017) June 2016

 

Guest blog: Why should I consider working for a startup?

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not those of SOAS Careers Service. If you consider this content to be in breach of the SOAS values, please alert careers@soas.ac.uk

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It might come as a surprise to many to learn that the percentage of UK graduates who end up working for one of the well-known graduate employers is under 20%. Our recent research shows that there has been a significant shift in the type of role that graduates seek when they leave university, with over 50% of recent graduates now wanting to work for startups.

So, why are graduates moving away from traditional roles and what opportunities can startups offer to them?

You’ll receive a huge education – Working in a smaller company means that you’ll gain a real insight into how a business truly operates. You’ll also be given the chance to try on a lot of different hats as, being part of a small team, you’ll most likely be required to be involved in all aspects of the company – this is great if you are still making your mind up about what you’d like to do after university.

You’ll have responsibility from the word go Working in a small team means that there’ll probably be nobody else in the company with the same skill set as you or doing the same thing as you. You’ll be given freedom to explore and bring to life your own ideas. It also means that you’ll be an integral part of the team, which is pretty amazing for a recent graduate.

Youll really have an impact  – The high level of responsibility you’ll have means that you’ll really be able to see the value of your own footprint. This is not only very exciting but also incredibly rewarding! And your hard work and successes will definitely not go unnoticed.

Youll learn from true innovators – Working so closely with the founders of a startup gives you a unique opportunity to soak up all their knowledge and experience. Exposure like this is especially useful if you think you might like to start your own business one day.

Youll work in a great environment – Аt a startup up you get to know your co-workers very well very quickly! The atmosphere is relaxed (you can wear what you want and there is little or no hierarchy), but you can rest assured that there will never be a dull moment. At a startup up you are really encouraged to be yourself in order to realise your full potential.

Working at a startup presents you with an amazing opportunity to grow both personally and professionally – a great starting point for those of you straight out of uni. Of course, this does not mean that working for a startup is for everyone… But, to put it simply, if you like the sound of a fast-paced, energetic and creative work environment where you’ll get to try and learn about lots of new things then it’s probably for you!

For more information and exciting career opportunities in startups & SMEs, check out our website http://www.talentpool.com. 

 Guest blog by: Sophie (Head of Marketing at TalentPool)