Venturefest 2019 proves it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Venturefest-Entrepreneurship-Village-800x450

Oxford Brookes University once again opened its doors to host Venturefest Oxford this week (11 September) as the event celebrated its 21st anniversary.

More than 700 people attended the business innovation event which was themed on Oxfordshire’s response to the four Grand Challenges of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and on Inward Investment, Global Growth highlighting commercial opportunities in three  regional markets targeted by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); USA, China and India.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and Board Member for Venturefest Oxford said: “It was a real privilege to open up our doors and host Venturefest Oxford for the second year running. Oxford Brookes is committed to helping those with bright ideas access support, mentorship and networks. It was therefore great for us to showcase this through the new Entrepreneurship Village, a space which enabled investors and business to meet with students and graduates behind exciting new trial products and companies.

“It was particularly heartening to welcome back Harrison Hall who graduated in Construction Project Management last year and who has had great success with his start-up OneCup. This is just another example of how Oxford Brookes provides students with the skills they need for a successful future."

Oxford Brookes is committed to helping those with bright ideas access support, mentorship and networks. It was therefore great for us to showcase this through the new Entrepreneurship Village, a space which enabled investors and business to meet with students and graduates behind exciting new trial products and companies.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University

The Entrepreneurship Village brought together around 20 start-up businesses and projects from the Oxford Brookes community. It featured a range of innovative products and services, including an app to support mental health, cricket-flour cookies and a robotic glove aimed at the healthcare and gaming markets. The Entrepreneurship Village also included graduate, Harrison Hall, who last year won the pitching competition at Venturefest and secured a £1,000 investment for his business, OneCup.

OneCup, which applies a library lending model to replace disposable coffee cups with high quality reusable cups on loan, ran a successful trial at Venturefest this year and witnessed over 120 people taking advantage of reducing disposable cups across the day.

Venturefest-OneCup-800x450Speaking about the success of the trial, Harrison said: “Last year’s pitching award bought us 500 cups with which we were able to run a two month trial at Oxford Brookes University. We learned and improved our business case. We are now talking to the University about making OneCup a permanent proposition as well as talking to other educational organisations and businesses.”

Venturefest Oxford is the county’s premier networking event for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and other like-minded people. It also recognises the fact that budding innovators with ambition need access to strong and sustainable business ecosystems to help them develop into companies that deliver beyond their potential.

By partnering with Venturefest, Oxford Brookes is leading its promising entrepreneurs into the next phase of development, seeking out networks and contacts that help support this latent talent.

More information about enterprise support at Oxford Brookes University can be found on the Business and Employers webpages.