The new student-led and student-centric hub will be open to all 23,000 Oxford students. Its aims at helping students develop their entrepreneurial skills as well as creating and mounting ventures. The hub builds on the success of Saïd Business School’s Oxford Launchpad and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.
The Oxford Foundry will welcome students from all academic disciplines, from engineering and medicine to history and business. The goal is to take these students from diverse backgrounds and bring them together to learn from one another, generate new ideas, and tackle business and societal issues.
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The main tasks of The Oxford Foundry are:
- Community Building: The Oxford Foundry will bring world renowned and inspirational figures to speak to students, creating an environment that encourages the exchange of ideas and views on the role of entrepreneurship and future ways of working. The Oxford Foundry will have a student advisory board and partnerships with student societies across the University, including Oxford Entrepreneurs, Europe’s largest society for entrepreneurship with over 10,000 members.
- Experiential Learning: Students will be able to take part in problem solving competitions and workshops in areas such resilience, leadership, and digital skills. The Oxford Foundry will also work with both community and corporate partners to try new things and put ideas into practice.
- Start-Up Support: Each year the Oxford Foundry will support the starting and mounting of a select number of student ventures. Support will include dedicated working space at the Oxford Foundry, access to networks, industry experts and back office support.
Oxford has a strong history of entrepreneurship and has produced more founders of “unicorn” businesses (worth USD 1 billion or more) than any other school in Europe. The new Oxford Foundry promises to only further strengthen this entrepreneurial community. Oxford Foundry Director Ana Bakshi said:
Entrepreneurship is of increasing importance to students. As a generation, millennials desire to be more socially responsible, innovative and to make an impact. Whether starting their own ventures or aspiring to lead in organisations, the Oxford Foundry will develop students’ entrepreneurial skills, understanding, and self-efficacy. The aim is to create future leaders whatever career they pursue.
The Oxford Foundry spans two floors in a renovated Victorian ice factory. It offers a co-working space, presentation areas, a café, and incubator space for accelerating new ventures.