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From founding a startup to scaling the business in - and from - the UK: How the Global Entrepreneur Programme helped FinalRentals' founder land in Wales caught up with the founder and CEO of fintech scale-up FinalRentals, Ammar Akhtar, to talk about how the UK's Department for Business and Trade helped him relocate to Wales to continue developing his business in and from the UK, thanks to its flagship initiative – the Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP).

Recently, we highlighted how the Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP for short), one of the flagship initiatives from the UK's Department for Business and Trade, makes it easier for ambitious and innovative tech scale-ups to relocate to, and grow in the UK as they prepare to scale their businesses internationally.

We caught up with one of the startup founders who successfully leveraged the GEP to relocate his business to the UK.

Ammar Akhtar, the affable founder and CEO of Finalrentals (which recently raised seed funding to help car rental showrooms make the shift to e-commerce), explains how he became aware of the programme, the process of applying to and going through the GEP, and how it has helped him in scaling the business so far.

You can watch the video interview above, or directly on YouTube.

The Global Entrepreneur Programme and how it works

GEP is a free programme for ambitious entrepreneurs and their innovation-rich companies to scale and grow from the UK. 

The available support from the GEP includes:

  • mentoring,
  • support in developing business plans,
  • assistance with relocating to the UK,
  • providing introductions to key networks including investors,
  • guidance on how to grow internationally,
  • continued support from the Department for Business and Trade once located in the UK, especially around exporting and scaling.

Support starts at the relocation stage, where the Department for Business and Trade is able to ease the way for startups through endorsements for the Innovator Visa and recommendations for setting up – such as where to open a bank account, which city to establish the HQ in, etc.

Who is eligible for GEP support

GEP is open to entrepreneurs around the world who are interested in relocating themselves and their company HQ to the UK. The Programme's focus is on innovative and scalable tech businesses that have already demonstrated a decent amount of traction. 

They're looking for a product or solution that is beyond proof of concept.

While there are no geographical limitations for eligibility, GEP particularly welcomes founders from Nigeria, Ghana, Australia, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Eastern Europe, LATAM (Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia), India, and Turkey.

Becoming part of Europe's largest start-up ecosystem

The UK's tech ecosystem has a lot to offer – not only is it growing on average 7% YoY, but it was also home to over 140 unicorns in the UK in 2022; more than Germany, Spain and France combined.

The reasons for this are certainly too many to list, but they include having a vast amount of available financial capital ($15 billion in VC tech funding in 2020), social capital (over 3,500+ Tech Meetups across the UK supporting 1.6m people), and advanced infrastructure (governmental tax and R&D activity support), to name a few.

GEP makes all of these benefits available to scale-ups from around the world. Your first step will be to learn more by going to the GEP website.

And when you're ready, simply write to [email protected] and send them your pitch deck.

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