The facility was opened by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc. The student-centric venue aims to build a community of innovation across the University, inspiring and supporting Oxford’s 23,000 students to develop their entrepreneurial skills or create and scale commercial ventures.
The Oxford Foundry will embrace students across all academic disciplines from engineering, medicine, history, philosophy and more. It will be a place for students from different backgrounds to experiment, learn from one another, and generate ideas and initiatives that address business and societal issues: whether their ambition is to launch their own start-up or to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set to drive innovation from within an organisation. Students will be encouraged to play a major role in designing and leading activities.
As a world-leading university, Oxford University has produced more founders of Unicorn businesses ($1 billion upwards) than any other in Europe, and has a strong history of students launching and establishing successful start-up companies. The Oxford Foundry will support the institution to continue to translate its academic research into innovative solutions with commercial and societal impact, on an international scale.
Building on the success and popularity of the Oxford Launchpad at Saїd Business School, which is home to the Entrepreneurship Centre and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the Oxford Foundry was initiated and developed by Oxford Saїd for the benefit of the whole of the University.
The Oxford Foundry is housed in a renovated Victorian ice factory in central Oxford and is spread over two floors. It offers co-working space, presentation areas, and a café at ground level - enabling entrepreneurially-minded people to meet, collaborate, create new ventures, or build the skills to bring innovation into their careers. Upstairs, there is an incubator space for accelerating new ventures.
Ana Bakshi, Director of the Oxford Foundry 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 has been made possible by the generous support of the some major donors: Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn, the Amersi Foundation, EY, Barclays, Meltwater Fairhair.ai, and DeTao Education Group. An Advisory Board, chaired by Brent Hoberman, will bring expertise, insight and advice to the Foundry community.
Reid Hoffman comments: ‘I am a firm believer that to solve big issues and challenges, we need more entrepreneurial thinking and development, and what better place than within education. The Oxford Foundry will act as a hub to support and develop entrepreneurship within Oxford and bring students together from lots of different backgrounds and academic areas to experiment and prototype new ideas. This will create amazing, transformative ventures that will make a real impact, and ultimately make the world a better place.’
Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean, Saïd Business School, concludes: ‘The Oxford Foundry will be a hub for innovation and idea-generation. By inspiring and developing new generations of Oxford student entrepreneurs we can hopefully transform their lives and our collective future.’
Ecotricity is to revise its existing planning application for its Eco Park development by junction 13 of the M5, scrapping its business park plans, and expects to submit its changes to the council before the end of the year.
The current proposal was submitted back in January 2016, and with no end date still in sight Ecotricity has decided to adapt the application to focus solely on facilities for Forest Green Rovers football club – as part of this the Zaha Hadid Architects designed wooden stadium will move to the north side of the A419, on the site of the currently proposed Green Technology Hub, and there will be no development on the south side.
This means there will be no Business Park in the revised plan, where facilities for up to 4,000 jobs would have been created, generating a £300m a year boost to the local economy.
The revised plans will be accompanied by updated environmental reports, looking at key issues including traffic, noise, lighting, biodiversity and landscape.
Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, said: “We’ve taken this decision because of the on-going delays with the planning process for the original concept. It’s a pragmatic decision recognising that Eco Park as proposed was just a bit too much for the council to get their heads round right now. The stadium is the most important part in the short term – the thing we need the most, and the easiest thing for planners to approve, so we’re removing the obstacles, which ironically we thought were the major benefits to the District, the 4,000 job green tech business park.
“Eco Park has just been earmarked by the council for employment use as part of the local plan review. The message we’re getting is that we need to come back in a few years’ time. We may do that.”