Spark Award is a 6-week introduction to business start-up. The programme equips you with all the skills you need to kick-start your idea into reality.

Apply for Spark 2023/24

About Spark

SPARK is for students, staff* and graduates of 4 years or under from Oxford Brookes.  

SPARK is a step-by-step programme aimed at students from any discipline with little or no business experience providing support to develop an idea into a possible scalable venture. Attendees will gain practical insights and skills to transform their initial ideas into viable and well-prepared business concepts, setting the stage for successful entrepreneurship.

At the end of six-week workshops attendees will walk away with:

  • a clear understanding of their business
  • an understanding of how to develop a basic business plan
  • a first stage pitch-deck which will equip them to compete for £500 seed funding.

The workshops will be delivered in person. Through Spark attendees will get to meet with and learn from experts, successful alumni, and other like-minded people who are on the same path as them. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone that wants to test and develop their idea in a low-risk way and start to build their network.

This is the perfect opportunity for anyone that wants to test and develop their idea in a low-risk way and start to build their network.

*Staff are welcome to attend the Spark programme for learning and development purposes, but are not eligible to be allocated seed funding.

Please note: WE ARE A COMMUNITY and attendance is important. Participants are required to attend 80% of the sessions in order to be eligible to pitch for funding at the end.


The following programme runs twice a year between September to November and January to March.

Three people talking at an event

Week one - Ideas and planning

We will discuss your business idea and explore the problems it is aiming to solve. You will learn various ideation techniques and brainstorming strategies to generate creative and innovative business ideas.

A customer looking at a display

Week two - Customers and your idea

Customers are at the heart of your business, but do you know who they are? This session helps to identify your customer, understand why they want to buy from you and how to market to them.

A group of people sat around a table

Week three - Understanding finance

Understanding finances is a daunting part of setting up a business, but it doesn’t need to be. In this session we will explore finances in a simple and direct way, to show you what your financial forecast looks like.

A small crowd watching a demonstration at an event

Week four - The right type of business for me

A sole trader. A Limited Company. A Partnership. A Social Enterprise. Perhaps these terms are familiar to you already, or perhaps totally new? Either way, this session explores different types of businesses and looks at the advantages/disadvantages they bring with them.

A man stood on a stage giving a talk

Week five - How to pitch your ideas?

Now you know more about your business and what you need to do to make your ideas happen. This session is all about delivery and confidence. We will share some great techniques for delivering a memorable pitch and selling your ideas to others.

A woman stood on a stage giving a presentation

Week six - Pitching event LIVE

An opportunity for you to pitch your business idea in a supportive environment for £500 seed funding.

Contact us

General enquiries and support