Sirius, the UK government-backed programme for international graduate entrepreneurs, has launched its next phase.

The year-long programme, which is run by UK Trade and Investment, provides graduate entrepreneurs from around the world with the opportunity to fulfil their ambition of becoming successful entrepreneurs in the UK.

They can obtain financial support, mentoring, visa endorsement and access to the UK entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Launched in September 2013, last year's competition attracted 1,500 applications from across 93 countries, which was subsequently whittled down to around 40 top start-up companies.

They were selected by a panel of independent entrepreneurship experts. Successful businesses included premier technology event InnoTech Summit; Bio-Bean, which creates green energy by converting waste coffee into biofuel; and SaveSquared's smartphone charging device.

Since December, these entrepreneurs have undergone an intensive period of mentoring, training and networking, and have travelled across the country to various innovative and creative hubs, such as Newcastle, Glasgow and Birmingham.

The latest intake phase will commence with a launch of the competition on Thursday 8 May, and applications can be submitted until 30 June.

The launch event will be broadcast nationally and internationally on a Google Hangout.

Paola Cuneo, campaign director for the graduate entrepreneurs programme at UKTI, said: "The first Sirius programme was a huge success. The sheer calibre and talent of the applicants we received from all over the world is testament to the attractiveness of the UK, and the opportunities it can provide."