Oxford University launch social enterprise support for academics

Oxford University, through its innovation arm Oxford University Innovation (OUI), is launching specific support for social enterprises for the first time.

OUI hope that it will lead to the creation of new business models that are ‘adaptable, dynamic and supports all divisions equally.’

Since it was created in 1987, OUI has supported the creation of two types of business: regular startup businesses created by the student body, and startups based on academic intellectual property supported by OUI, known as spinouts.

Typically, spinouts are formed around a patentable technology, such as a new medicine or an engineering project.

The university has created over 160 spinout companies since 1987, 19 of which were launched in the past year.

Dr Matt Perkins, chief executive officer for Oxford University Innovation, added: ‘The social enterprise option opens the door to innovation for impact-driven staff across all divisions of the University, supporting both the serial academic entrepreneur and the researcher looking to make their first innovative steps alike.

‘Unlocking the potential of social enterprise is key to both the development of Oxford as a world-leading ecosystem and in shaping the future of business, and OUI stands ready to support this endeavour.’

To meet demand for the new service, which OUI anticipates will create at least an additional 10 spinouts per year, OUI has created a group led by Dr Mark Mann, innovation lead for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr Mann said: ‘Everyone at the University wants to get as many of these great solutions deployed as widely as possible.

‘To do that, you need a broad range of methods to maximise an idea’s impact. With our new social enterprise service, we can now get far more of the great ideas generated in Oxford deployed across the world and improving people’s lives.’

OUI say the first new social enterprises will be announced in the coming weeks.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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