The University of Oxford has a great selection of organisations and student groups providing opportunities to learn and explore entrepreneurial thinking, and support entrepreneurship (to start a startup). No matter if you’re a student or staff, what your background or field of study is, age or gender, there is something here for you if you want to start a business.
Oxford’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is varied and diverse, with links in the local area and across the globe, due to the amazing engagement and generosity of our students, alumni, staff and academics. Check out the links below to find out more about which organisations can help you on your path.
Research Services works with Oxford’s researchers, divisions, departments, collaborators and funders to facilitate world-class research.
Enterprising Oxford is a University of Oxford initiative to help encourage and support entrepreneurs, and promote entrepreneurship across Oxfordshire.
- #StartedinOxford Demo – a celebration and showcase of the Oxford-linked entrepreneurship community
- Social Shifters – a revolutionary digital space for creating change in the world. Learn, collaborate, and get inspired with bite-sized expert e-learning and a global community of social entrepreneurs.
- Social Enterprise Awards – in collaboration with Oxford Hub, helping members of the University to test their ideas and start up social impact projects that benefit the Oxford Community
IDEA (Increasing Diversity in Enterprising Activities) is a new initiative from the University of Oxford, designed to tackle some of the key challenges and inequalities faced by groups who are currently vastly underrepresented in enterprise and industry across the world.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights Management Team
The main role of the IP Rights Management team is to help establish whether parties outside of the University have a claim to any rights in the intellectual property (IP) created by members of the University, by virtue of involvement in, or support for, the creation of the IP.
The Humanities Division brings together nine faculties and the Ruskin School of Art. Our faculties are among the largest in the world, enabling Oxford to offer an education in Arts and Humanities unparalleled in its range of subjects, from music and fine art to ancient and modern languages.
Every year the Humanities training team organises around 200 training courses, workshops and events for doctoral students and postdocs. The training team work closely with the team that support TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities. The aim is to support activities under the ‘Researcher Development’ umbrella, covering the skills and professional development needs of doctoral students and postdocs.
MATHEMATICAL, PHYSICAL AND LIFE SCIENCES (MPLS) DIVISION
The MPLS division is home to the mathematical, physical, engineering and life sciences at Oxford. Our research is the best of its kind in the country according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which is used to assess university research across the UK.
The MPLS Enterprise programme offers you ways to develop entrepreneurial skills by combining a progressive series of half day and 1-day workshops with a variety of seminars, networking events and activities supporting you to participate in national and international competitions.
- Enterprising Women – Enterprising Women aims to encourage, inspire and support the participation of female STEM researchers (those who identify as women or non-binary) in innovation and entrepreneurship, through a variety of events and programmes.
Oxford HealthTech Labs
Oxford Healthtech Labs teaches the Needs-Led Innovation Process, a systematic and proven approach to ‘needs’ finding, designed to de-risk the invention of suitable innovative technologies that take into account the important stakeholders of current healthcare and industry settings. Oxford Healthtech Labs also has a particular focus on social entrepreneurship during the fellowship programme.
Begbroke Science Park
Begbroke Science Park is a science park in Oxfordshire wholly owned and managed by Oxford University. Our flexible, supportive environment encourages links between high-tech science-based spinouts, their more established counterparts and the University. The interaction between industry and learning constantly produces new synergies, and we support entrepreneurs as they translate those synergies into innovations which meet tomorrow’s industrial challenges.
MEDICAL SCIENCES DIVISION
The Medical Sciences Division is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for biomedical and clinical research and teaching and is the largest of the four academic divisions within the University.
The BioEscalator is a hub for the commercialisation of bioscience and medical research and innovation in Oxford. The aim is to help more innovative ideas to move out of the lab and into the clinic and in doing so to realise the potential of the world-class research and expertise in Oxford.
SOCIAL SCIENCES DIVISION
The Social Sciences Division is characterised by a wide range of methodologies, themes and fields of scholarship, where multi-disciplinary research and innovative ideas thrive in an environment underpinned by excellence across the disciplines.
Research & Skills Training
The Social Sciences Division and its departments run a range of research and professional skills training for DPhil students and early career researchers.
Aspect (A Social sciences Platform for Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Transformation) is a network for organisations looking to make the most of commercial and business opportunities from social sciences research.
SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL
Saïd Business School at Oxford University blends the best of new and old. We are a young, vibrant, and innovative business school deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university.
The Oxford Foundry
The Oxford Foundry is a new entrepreneurial centre for the University of Oxford. Our aim is to create a diverse, student led community where innovation and creativity lives and breathes. We want to support all of our 23,000 students across the University – whether they are lawyers, medics, engineers or philosophers – in becoming more entrepreneurial people.
- Elevate – The OXFO Elevate accelerator is building a new generation of high-potential, transformational ventures.
- All-Innovate – All-Innovate is Oxford’s inter-college idea competition. Any student can pitch entrepreneurial ideas for a chance to win a top prize of £10,000 prize money, and two runner up prizes of £5,000 each. All-Innovate is led by Oxford Colleges, in partnership with The Oxford Foundry.
The Entrepreneurship Centre at Oxford Saïd provides a range of programming to educate and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. The aim is to give our students the skills and support to either start their own venture or to be a force for entrepreneurial change within existing organizations.
- Ideas2Impact – This innovation and enterprise skills initiative is convened at Saïd Business School, in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Centre and the University of Oxford sciences division.
- Oxford Seed Fund – A student led fund (up to £50,000) that provides capital to Oxford University’s most promising start-ups
- Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum (OSEF) – A one-day conference, held annually at Oxford Saïd to promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is a social impact centre within Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Our mission is to accelerate the impact of ‘entrepreneuring’ activity that aims to transform unjust or unsatisfactory systems and practices.
- Map the System – Map the System is a global competition that asks you to think differently about social and environmental change.
- Skoll World Forum – The Skoll World Forum is the premier international platform for advancing entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
- Skoll Venture Awards – Up to £50,000 for ventures that get to the root of some of the significant issues affecting our world, ventures that are solving systemic problems.
Oxford Business Networks
Oxford Business Networks sit within the framework of the overarching Oxford Business Alumni Network as industry, interest or geography specific networks for students, alumni and academia. They exist to promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge surrounding an industry, interest or large geographic region.
Creative Destruction Lab (CDL)
CDL is a nonprofit organization that delivers an objectives-based program for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies.
OXFORD UNIVERSITY INNOVATION
Oxford University Innovation helps staff and students to apply their expertise and research for wider social and economic benefit. Our role is to help University staff and students bring the benefits of their research and expertise to create impact in wider society.
The Startup Incubator is aimed at members and alumni of the University of Oxford wanting to start or grow entrepreneur-driven ventures that are not University spinouts.
StEP Ignite is a programme for any Oxford student, which has been developed by Oxford University Innovation (OUI) and supported by Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), The Oxford Foundry, and Oxentia.
Oxford University Innovation is here to help staff and students in the University of Oxford who want to protect and commercialise the results of their research.
Consulting Services is the academic consultancy arm of the University and part of Oxford University Innovation. We draw upon the depth and breadth of Oxford’s world-class multidisciplinary research base to provide answers to many of the challenges faced by organisations today.
Support for Social Enterprise
We also work with a number of partner organisations across the UK and welcome people from outside of the University to help us build our social ventures together.
THE CAREERS SERVICE
The Careers Service’s mission is to attract, educate and resource students and employers, to enable them to make the best-informed career decisions.
The Oxford Strategy Challenge provides Oxford students with real-world client work experience and development opportunities across eight key employment skills: business awareness, team working, communication, initiative, creativity, planning, leadership, and self-management.
On the programme, you also have the opportunity to develop skills in working effectively as part of a remote team, managing a client relationship, collecting data under time pressure, reacting quickly to unexpected changes, and summarising and presenting your findings to a client.
Once you have successfully completed the Oxford Strategy Challenge, you can sign up for The Student Consultancy. This 4 to 6-week programme invites past Oxford Strategy Challenge participants to address a strategic issue or business challenge for a client organisation and allows them to gain more in-depth consulting experience.
The Internship Office was established in 2012 to provide research and professional work experience placements exclusively to Oxford students, with adjunct funding and support. It now runs a range of highly successful internship programmes to support any Oxford student in securing useful, exciting work experience opportunities throughout the year, in the UK and across the globe.
The University of Oxford endorses applicants whose business proposals demonstrate innovation, viability, and scalability. The endorsement process is run by the Careers Service. It is separate from the visa application, which is the second stage of the process and is administered by the Student Immigration team.
The Continuing Education Department offers more than 1000 part-time, flexible courses and programmes for adult learners.
STUDENT-LED INITIATIVES AND SOCIETIES (ENTREPRENEURSHIP RELATED)
Oxford Entrepreneurs is a student society supporting budding entrepreneurs at Oxford University and beyond to find, define, and realise their purpose by going from idea to a sustainable enterprise.
Innovation Forum is a global network of forward-thinking scientists, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs and investors with 15 branches spread across 3 continents. As part of this international network, Innovation Forum Oxford is committed to accelerating the development of innovative technology by bringing together academics, industry experts, clinicians and policy makers.
Science Innovation Union
The Science Innovation Union (SIU) is a non-profit organization led by graduates, post-graduates and young professionals. Our core focus is to provide a first of its kind globally interconnected communication, networking and training platform for scientist.
The Rhodes community represents over 40 countries and hundreds of diverse personalities. We are the first incubator to operate in this space, with a mission to bring people with big ideas together and harness the innovative potential of these future leaders.
OX1 is a start-up incubator programme designed by student entrepreneurs, for student entrepreneurs, which does not take equity or IP
Oxford Social Entrepreneurs
OSE is a high-intensity, milestone driven programme built to recruit, equip, and leverage Oxford-based social startups created to tackle pressing global challenges.
Oxford Women in Business
A thriving student society providing a platform for opportunities for enterprising young women at the University of Oxford
Oxford Hub is a student-led group offering practical volunteering, skilled placements, project incubation and events to help you shape a better world.
A meetup group for startups and people interested in the startup scene in Oxford. It is particularly intended to help people inside and outside the universities meet up.
TheHill is Oxford’s healthcare ideas and innovation lab, building the next generation of healthcare projects and businesses. We are open to everyone, including: nurses, researchers, doctors, engineers, healthcare professionals, designers, patients, developers, entrepreneurs, carers, investors and others.
Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership (OSEP)
OSEP has been set up to help existing and prospective social entrepreneurs plan, develop and grow their businesses. We aim to be the best network of support and funding for social entrepreneurs in the UK.
Oxford Angels Network
Oxford Angels Network is a business angels network for investors and private companies interested in investing in spinout companies from the University of Oxford. It provides a vehicle from which private individuals and companies can meet, discuss and invest in the early stages of a University spinout company.
Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI)
Oxford Sciences Innovation is, for a minimum of 15 years, the contractually preferred partner of the University to provide capital to, and develop spin-out companies based on research from the University’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division and its Medical Sciences Division.
Oxentia works in partnership with our global clients to build capacity, develop capability and enable innovation for the benefit of economies and societies. We excel at delivering services to suit the needs of diverse world economies.