Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you need to know about the Lab
Is the Lab for me?
If you have an interest in business, whether it’s a fully commercial venture or a social enterprise, then the Lab is where you need to be. Our ambition is to create an innovative community of entrepreneurs, working together to develop ideas, encourage radical innovation and produce exciting new start-ups.
Do I need a business to join the Lab?
The Lab has two levels of membership which are available to students and alumni - Venture and Academic membership.
Venture membership is for those who are interested in moving towards starting a business, or already have a business. Venture membership requires a brief business plan which you can submit by completing our online application form and clicking ‘Venture Membership’.
For students who are not yet ready to start a business, we offer Academic membership which will allow you to network within our community, attend exciting events and share ideas, which might inform a future business or career. We would love for you to get involved, with or without a business.
Is there a charge to join the Lab?
All services are available free of charge to all members as long as they are, or were, students or staff of the University of Nottingham in the UK, Malaysia or China.
Is membership competitive?
Because we want to support and develop business ideas and entrepreneurs at every stage, membership is not a competitive process. We simply require you to take the time to think through the various aspects of your business idea and complete our online application in full.
What happens once I submit my application?
Once you submit your application online, you will be contacted by our team and invited to a new members meeting. During this meeting you will have the opportunity to meet fellow members and discuss your idea, while also meeting the Lab team and learning more about how we can help you develop your business.
What type of support can I get from the Lab as a Venture member?
Venture Membership includes:
- Space to work
- Use of the Lab Workspace
- Use of the Lab Lounge
- Access to Lab meeting room as well as other facilities of UNIP (some charges may apply for UNIP services)
- Free phone and printing facilities (reasonable usage policy applies)
- Use of the Lab as a business address (conditions apply)
- Daily lockers to keep your belongings secure (according to availability)
- Business advice
- Mentoring from industry experts (as available)
- Business seminars and surgeries
- Business development opportunities
- Business start-up grants (as available)
- PR and marketing opportunities for your business
- Ingenuity Prize (annual competitions for undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni)
- Community events
- Peer-to-Peer socials
- Disruptive debates
- Industry challenges
What type of support can I get from the Lab as an Academic member?
Academic membership is designed for students enrolled in the Haydn Green Institute’s postgraduate courses. This membership provides access to Ingenuity Lab events and networking opportunities.
What do I do if I want to apply for the Start-up visa?
The Start-up visa is designed for those who have a business idea which is viable, innovative and scalable according to the Home Office’s requirements and would like the opportunity to remain in the UK for up to two years to develop a business. Students who would like to apply for this visa must submit an online business plan via our online application form. Applications which meet the above criteria will be shortlisted. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch their business idea before a judging panel.
Contrary to venture membership, Start-up visa sponsorship is a competitive process, so sponsorship is not guaranteed upon applying. This visa option is for those who are serious about the path of entrepreneurship and have thoroughly developed their idea with much thought, advice, and market research. Please note, applicants must apply to this visa programme no less than six weeks before their current student visa’s expiration date to allow for processing. You also should not have a registered business before applying to this visa. Those with a registered business will be in breach of student visa regulations, so please be aware of this before applying.
To learn more about the Start-up visa and your eligibility, please visit the Government website.
What if I have a potential business partner who would like to apply a Start-up visa endorsement as well?
The Lab allows two individuals to apply for a Start-up visa under the same business application. However, if their idea is shortlisted, both applicants will be required to pitch with a clear understanding of their individual roles within the prospective company.
Can I meet with the Lab team before submitting my application to discuss my business idea?
In order to manage the interest of the thousands of students at our university, we ask that you speak with teachers, tutors and mentors outside the Lab before submitting your business idea. Once your application is submitted, we will then contact you for a meeting and look forward to hearing more about your amazing idea then!