Innovation and creativity are embedded into the very fabric of the Oxford Guild and our own history is highly entrepreneurial – it is part of our DNA.
Historically Oxford University has been one of the most pioneering universities and has led the way over the centuries with others emulating it and we are the most innovative, entrepreneurial and exciting campus organisation in Oxford. Indeed, just a few months ago we were awarded the prize for Best UK University Organisation for Venture Creation in the Leaders Summit Awards by NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) in addition to the Innovation of the Year Award in the Oxford University Student Union Student Awards for our accelerator and work around developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem at Oxford. In previous years we have won many other national awards including several most enterprising society awards in the national RBS ESSA competition against over 1,000 other organisations. For over a hundred years since our foundation in 1897, our alumni have been amongst the most innovative, creative and pioneering figures in the world. Entrepreneurship is part of our heritage – it has always been central to our culture and is the essential part of both our history and our future.
Creating opportunities and opening doors for you longer than anyone else, we’re here to help. Make the most of the freshest, most inspiring and most stimulating organisation around and benefit from the huge range of services and support we offer. Whether your entrepreneurial ambitions are for today or tomorrow, we make sure you’re as prepared as you can be and equip you with the skills and provide you with everything you need to turn vision to venture and pursue your ambitions.
Our offerings encompass the full entrepreneurial journey – starting at the very beginning with inspiring young people to think about building solutions to problems and empowering them by equipping them with the skills and tools needed through to the inception of ideas and the creation of early stage ventures, all the way to the acceleration of their businesses and investment to grow and scale.
There are several key areas of support as part of our aim to inspire, engage and support, connect, accelerate, enrich and develop entrepreneurs (both of today and tomorrow) and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UK.
Inspiration and engagement: Entrepreneurs play a hugely important role in stimulating economies and are key drivers of growth all over the world. Today global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play an even greater role in solving the world’s greatest and most pressing problems. We want to inspire people to be more entrepreneurial, either by embracing its spirit and traits such as less aversion to risk taking in their lives and careers at companies they work for, or by becoming an entrepreneur and founding a business. We want to inspire you to think big, aim long term and feel excited about taking on some of the biggest challenges. Through our wide range of events from high profile speakers through to networking events, the aim is to give you a taste of what entrepreneurship involves, whet your appetite and connect you with like minded people with similar interests who could be potential future partners as colleagues, business partners, investors, customers or a combination of these. At the same time we don’t want to sugar coat it and want to give you a true overview of what is involved, both positive and negative. When you first join us you might be wondering: 'What does entrepreneurship actually mean? Can I be an entrepreneur? What does it take and is it for me?'. Pretty soon after we’re confident you'll be asking yourself: 'How can I not be entrepreneur or at the very least think more entrepreneurially?'.
Training and education (skills development): It is all very well telling people about how great some entrepreneurs are and about all the potential benefits of being entrepreneurial but we want to do more than that to empower you to act upon entrepreneurial ambitions in a successful way. Inspiration is great but action is even greater and unlike a lot of other societies and organisations on campuses we go further so you can stop merely dreaming and start scheming by actually turning vision into venture. There are many myths about entrepreneurship, particularly with regards to the idea that it is something that only ‘special’ people are born with and cannot be taught. We believe that entrepreneurial behaviours and mindsets can be learned by anyone. Traits such as creativity, a positive attitude to risk taking and ambitious long term visions, to name just a few of these, are not just for the very few. We believe the best learning comes from doing and we seek to equip you with the skills you need through targeted workshops, hackathons, lectures and training sessions on particular areas. Make the most of the experimental learning so you are best prepared for the challenges ahead when you try the real thing and apply your classroom learning!
Enablement (development and investment support): We provide you with the tools you need to successfully launch and grow your business and then accelerate and scale. We can help you in a huge and unparalleled range of ways, from support with the commercialisation of research and intellectual property challenge through to mentorship, technological development support and investment from grants and our partners. We work with the world’s leading venture capitalists and angel investors and have dedicated large amounts of energy into investing in and building partnerships with the key movers and shakers. Our Oxford Accelerator has arrangements with these investors that mean that you can be put in front of the right people directly. We connect you with seasoned experts and successful entrepreneurs who can be committed mentors for you and help you get to the next level(s).
Ecosystem development and growth: We are trying to instigate a culture change and want to develop the entrepreneurial mindset in all our members an students across the UK and Europe. Oxford has the greatest minds in the world, all in one place and only one hour from London. The university’s computer science degree one of the best ranked in the UK, beating even Harvard internationally. The business school is exceptional, and the academic standard impeccable. The talent pool is there and we want it to ensure that the next huge companies grow from within some of Oxford’s colleges. We are aiming to make Oxford one of the entrepreneurial capitals of the UK and Europe. The Guild wants to show what the UK and Europe’s brightest minds can do – with the talent pool available, and the culture shift we plan to engender, there is no reason why Oxford can’t produce the next unicorn and help Europe catch up with our neighbours over the Atlantic! The brightest and best of Oxford combined with the our guidance, could soon achieve remarkable things. Watch this space…the silicon spires will soon be a reality.
Through our entrepreneurial initiatives and offerings as well as through our Oxford Accelerator (www.oxfordaccelerator.com) we aim to help students turn their ideas into real funded companies. We love innovation, technology and those looking to make a difference and their own dent in the universe. We want to shape today’s young people into the leading business innovators of tomorrow who can make their mark and literally build the future. University campuses are hotbeds of entrepreneurial thinking, disruptive creativity and innovation, and we seek to harness that truly exciting potential. We work hard to support the best and brightest talent, and help them put their classroom learning into practice in the real world. It is our firm belief that the best learning comes from doing. University is a time of discovery and we want to help you make the most of the opportunities available and have the best possible university experience. We provide an environment equipped with all the necessary tools for starting a successful company and turning your ideas into real funded businesses: like-minded and talented people; experienced mentors; invaluable guidance and advice; theoretical knowledge and practical skills for starting and running a company; and access to capital and contacts required on every step of the way – in short the fertile soil, light and water for your visions to grow. We do not merely invest in the entrepreneurs of today but are committed to cultivating and supporting the future generations who will shape our collective future.
WE ARE ALSO ORGANISING THE UP-START WORLD SUMMIT. Up-Start (www.upstart.world) is the world’s largest conference and entrepreneurial competition for students, graduates and young people and provides an exciting, one day masterclass for those attending. The aim of the conference and competition is to inspire the next generation of future leaders, to encourage young people to start their own ventures whilst empowering them by providing them with invaluable advice and initial tools needed to become successful entrepreneurs. This is all with the aim of turning bright ideas from ambitious aspiring entrepreneurs into successful real businesses. The event itself will be a one day extravaganza with a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style/TechCrunch Distrupt-esque pitching finale (the culmination of two previous rounds), world renowned top entrepreneurs, respected leading VCs and investors and high profile CEOs. It seeks to act as a ‘Davos for students and young people’. It is a one-stop opportunity for business representatives and young people, students and graduates from Oxford, the UK, Europe and the rest of the world to convene in an interesting, interactive and social environment, showcasing the very best of the best talent, ideas and businesses being developed.
Up-Start encourages imagination, initiative, and innovation. The very best of the best around the world will compete to secure investment. It is a great opportunity to see the latest trends coming out of the top Universities globally. It aims to showcase just how much talent there is coming out of universities around the world and how young people will be driving innovation increasingly in the future, particularly in the UK and Europe, which has traditionally lagged behind the US. The Competition is comprised of 3 rounds. The first round involves students summarising their business idea in just 200 words and giving some basic details about their team and progress so far (if any). If successful in the first round, you qualify for the second round where you then develop your idea further and are given guidance and feedback from experienced mentors and professionals. After this the top 8 entries qualify for the Grand Final at the Conference where, in true ‘Dragon’s Den’ style, each team will pitch to a group of investors for about 5 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions. They will receive feedback after. Here, the best entrepreneurs of the future here have the chance to get in front of experienced investors looking to put their money into some best new enterprises around and convince them why they are most likely to succeed and merit investment. Ahead of the final, the finalists will be given pitch training and further guidance. There are investment prizes for first, second and third places followed by a people’s choice award and runner up highly commended award, where those attending vote online on their phones or tablets for their favourite pitch.
If you are interested in speaking with us and finding out more about how we can help you pursue your entrepreneurial ambitions, then email email@example.com. We can assist with investment through grant funding, angel investors and venture capitalists, as well as connect you with mentors and any other usual people or partners that can help you. If you would like support and an introduction get in touch and tell us about what would assist most. We will do our best to help.
- We work with the world’s leading venture capitalists and angel investors and have dedicated large amounts of energy into investing in and building special partnerships with the key movers and shakers. Our Oxford Accelerator has arrangements with these investors that mean that you can be put in front of the right people directly. We connect you with seasoned experts and successful entrepreneurs who can be committed mentors for you and help you get to the next level(s).
- Together with our partners we have full end to end capability and provide continuity from startup to scale up and beyond. This covers grants, pre-seed, seed and Series A stage with the ability to provide follow on later stage investments.
- When it comes to commercialisation of research our main partner is Collegiate Capital (www.collegiate.capital). They help turn cutting edge research and academic innovations into successful, impactful and rapid growth commercial propositions that can be taken to wider markets around the world. Through technology transfer we aim to apply the knowledge, innovative ideas and discoveries or inventions from academic research and translate it into products, solutions and businesses that benefit the world both in terms of society and the economy but also in terms of solving civilisation’s most pressing problems. Such challenges include environmental protection and sustainability, global health, clean energy and much more. Collegiate Capital have created a unique commercialisation platform that sits alongside their incubator programme to identify, support and invest in the commercial development of R&D from academic and research based institutions. Whilst we have seen that many of the most significant market opportunities are based around cutting edge technology and scientific or medical research thus far, we support all research fields, from physical and life sciences, engineering, medicine and mathematics to computer and design technology, the arts, social sciences and humanities.
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We are always eager to learn more about you and what you are working on so we can see how we can help. Up for a chat? Each week we enjoy sitting down and speaking with talented, interesting and passionate people who have exciting and ambitious ideas and goals. We want to be of assistance and would like you to get in touch initially so we can discuss further.
If you would like support and/or are looking for investment then we can help and will arrange time to explore how we can work together.
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