The UK government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) helps high-growth overseas companies relocate to the UK.
The GEP is underpinned by the view that entrepreneurs look beyond national borders for the most attractive sources of capital, talent, guidance and access to markets. The key objectives of the programme include attracting entrepreneur led, early stage high growth potential, technology businesses and overseas based entrepreneurs to pursue new opportunities in the UK; and enhance perceptions of the UK as an entrepreneurial economy and location of choice for global entrepreneurs looking to internationalise their businesses at an early stage from a UK base.
The Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP) offers mentoring and business support to non-UK based founders to help them set up and scale their business from a UK global headquarters.
Support is free and includes:
- mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs
- help to develop business plans
- assistance with relocating to the UK
- providing introductions to key networks including investors
- guidance on how to grow internationally
- continued help from DIT once located in the UK, especially around exporting
GEP participants are mentored by experienced entrepreneurs known as ‘dealmakers’, who are experienced in setting up, building, scaling and selling technology companies.
The GEP was set up in 2003 by UK Trade & Investment, now known as Department for International Trade (DIT).
In order to qualify for GEP support, the entrepreneur must be:
- an overseas-based entrepreneur and founder of an innovative technology business
- willing to relocate and establish the company’s global headquarters in the UK
The entrepreneur must have:
- a potentially ground-breaking product or service based on unique technology
- a business plan outlining how the business can expand from a headquarters in the UK
- a customer-validated product either already in the market or ready to launch
- a clear commercial proposition that addresses a large global opportunity
In 2009, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) commissioned London Economics to evaluate the GEP. The purpose of this evaluation study was to:
- assess the economic rationale for attracting global entrepreneurs and early stage businesses to the UK, and
- evaluate the impact and cost effectiveness of the Programme, including the value for money it achieves for the taxpayer.
The results were published in 2010.
According to the 2010 evaluation, the GEP bears many similarities to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) programmes, which seek to encourage foreign companies to invest in and/or relocate operations to the UK. Despite this, the motivation for the GEP is conceptually different to the rationale for traditional FDI programmes, due to the programme’s emphasis on entrepreneurship.