OXFO Booster Grants banner

Does your club or society want entrepreneurship funding and support?

OXFO Booster Grants give student clubs and societies at the University of Oxford the opportunity to apply for up to £2,000 grant funding for initiatives that introduce entrepreneurship to people at the university. Our aim is for these grants, and associated support provided by the Oxford Foundry, to enable student societies to expand their reach and experiment with exciting new entrepreneurship-related events and initiatives that engage both current and prospective members. Collaboration between societies is highly encouraged. Activities should aim to:

1. Inspire students to engage with entrepreneurship and explore alternative career paths

2. Upskill: help students build skills and understanding in at least one of three key areas:

  • Entrepreneurial mindset (e.g. critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, resilience, decision making and emotional intelligence)
  • Practical entrepreneurial skills (e.g. user research, market & customer research, product development, sales, marketing, financial modelling, business model design, branding, networking, pitching, startup financing)
  • Technology skills (e.g. AI, coding, blockchain, cyber security, data science)

3. Experience: provide students with entrepreneurial experiences that enhance future careers (e.g. society trips to innovation ecosystems around the UK, including tours and talks with leading companies such as Airbnb, Facebook, Founders Factory, Wayra, Google)

N.B. we are seeking projects that do not replicate current University programmes, including those delivered by the Oxford Foundry. Check out the ‘upskill yourself’ page on the Foundry’s website to avoid the risk of duplicating current programming.

Update about 2020/2021 OXFO Booster grants

The Foundry will not be launching a new fund for student societies in the academic year 2020/2021. However we will be providing the following support: 

  1. Supporting the delivery of booster grant projects from 2019/20 carried over to 2020/21 due to COVID-19.
  2. Providing non-financial support to new student society projects for 2020/21. We are currently reviewing internally what this might look like, and we will share an update before Michaelmas Term 2020.

2019-2020 Booster grants

In 2019-2020 the following societies are supported. Please click to go to their event pages. 

Africa Society: The Africa Society will host two fireside chats with leading African entrepreneurs, two workshops on scaling and raising funds within the African context, and an inclusive townhall discussion on the state of entrepreneurship on the African continent. 

Polish Society: The Polish Society will host a high-profile discussion panel to educate students on the ecosystem of support for start-ups in Poland with speakers including prominent Polish venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. 

African & Caribbean Society (ACS): The ACS Society will run a ‘build-a-business’ workshop series that will include sessions on design thinking, ideation techniques, how to build a brand for your product (esp. for women-owned businesses), teamwork, and public speaking. The project also includes a talk on how to build purpose-driven businesses that simultaneously benefit society and generate profit so attendees can learn how they can incorporate elements of social consciousness into their future businesses.

Engineers Without Borders (EWBOx): The EWBOx society will run four projects spanning 6 months, which include: Building a drone designed for emergency relief/medical aid in collaboration with Drone Society; Designing a pressure tank to improve a rural water supply design scheme in Nepal in collaboration with Oxfam, with a trip to Nepal in order to observe design in practice; Aiding with the design of a new nasogastric tube in collaboration with a biomedical PhD student; Providing Youth Outreach workshops around Oxford, including a week-long trip to India (Bangalore and Goa).

KITE Oxford Nairobi: KITE Nairobi Oxford will focus on a neglected development challenge in Kenya (educational and menstrual health) and develop innovative solutions by utilising the entrepreneurial potential of Oxford’s students who will work in collaboration with local students in Nairobi. Oxford students will pilot projects, deliver proof of concept and work with handover partners to scale implementation of solutions. The project will support a keynote talk about this year’s pilot projects in Nairobi, classes in Oxford focused on solution building, and a trip to Nairobi to provide selected students with on the ground practical entrepreneurship experience. 

Biotech Society: The Biotech Society will run a Biohackathon which will bring students from all courses of study together to tackle global health challenges with cutting-edge technology and a sound commercialization strategy. The initiative consists of five pre-bio-hackathon events and workshop and a 3-day hackathon event focused on solution building.

Oxford Robotics & Additive Manufacturing (OXRAM) Society: The OXRAM Society will run three major robotics projects that members can work on every Sunday in their hackspace. Students will learn by doing as they work on one of the three projects that include: building a robotic arm which is focused on the programming side of robotics; building a Sumo Bot focused on the hardware side of robotics aimed at beginners with no background in tech; and building a robotic bartender focused on the user side. OXRAM will also run up to 10 classes throughout the year where students can learn the theory behind robotics and 3D printing.

Oxford Artificial Intelligence (OxAI) Society: The OxAI Society will run an emerging technologies networking event that will connect members of Oxford University’s tech-orientated student societies to serve as a catalyst for increasing collaboration between societies. The grant will also support a BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) industry tour to London where students will meet with industry leaders across a range of sectors as well as an OxAI demo day where student-led AI research is presented to their fellow students from across the University.

Oxford Law Society and Fintech & Smart Law Society: The Law and Fintech and Smart Law societies are collaborating on a LegalTech hackathon which will convene Oxford students from different courses of study to build tech-enabled solutions to challenges facing the law industry. This will include workshops and high-profile panel discussion before the event followed by two days of solution building where student teams would be supported by expert mentors from the legal sector. 

The Oxford University Computer Society: The OU Computer Society will run this year’s official Oxford student hackathon, where over 300 people gather to collaborate, innovate, learn and experiment while creating a project from scratch in 24 hours. Participants will be provided with all the resources they need from APIs to workshops. 

Oxford RAG (Raise and Give): The Oxford RAG aim to inspire and support student fundraising by; running a skills training day to equip students with the practical skills to fundraise for social causes, deliver a Third Sector Careers Fair to educate students on alternative career pathways, and hold the second Oxford University Charity Awards to recognize students’ achievements in their fundraising.

Oxford Venture Capital Network: The Oxford VC Network will run a panel discussion with leaders in venture capital from diverse backgrounds, including women and People of Colour. The discussion aims to provide people from minority backgrounds with advice and practical guidance on how they can start and build a career in venture capital with the hope that this will serve a catalyst for encouraging more of Oxford’s women and People of Colour to consider venture capital as a career option. The grant will also support four workshops to equip students with the practical skills they need to build a successful career in venture capital.

Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE) Society: The PPE Society will run four of talks and panel discussions on alternative career pathways for PPE students at Oxford. These will include: a panel discussion with Oxford-PPE-alumni entrepreneurs, one talk by the economist Charles Goodhart focused on how businesses can run more effectively, and two other panels related to careers in business and entrepreneurship for PPE students. 

The Oxford Guild Society: The Oxford Guild Society will run an Ascend Speaker Series which aims to educate students from all courses of study on alternative career pathways in entrepreneurship and business. The speaker series consists of eight ‘in-conversation’ events with prominent industry leaders and accomplished entrepreneurs, especially those who identify as women and People of Colour

The Foundry is not responsible for the content of events and initiatives organised by student societies.

Happy people at the Foundry

Who can apply?

Any student society or club – be it sports-related or non-sports related – or other Oxford University student organisation registered with the Proctors.

Are OXFO Booster grants open to student societies of all types?

Yes. We define entrepreneurship broadly, and believe that entrepreneurial people can be found in a wide-ranging spectrum of professions and industries – we class all sorts of individuals as entrepreneurs, from William Shakespeare to Serena Williams and Beyoncé. Therefore, we encourage applications from societies of all disciplines to demonstrate that entrepreneurial skills can be applied by people from all backgrounds and specialisms.

How much funding can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £2,000 grant funding.

Can our society submit more than one application?

Societies are only permitted to submit one solo application e.g. a grant for your own society. You can also choose to submit a second joint application with other societies for an additional grant of £2,000 to be split between the respective societies.

Got any more questions?

Take a look at our FAQ, or email us directly at info@oxfordfoundry.ox.ac.uk

“The talks put on by OUAC and supported by the Foundry were very helpful to a student athlete such as myself. They catered for different disciplines and aspects including mental health, recovery from injuries and dealing with set backs. I think learning from top level athletes who have dealt with the problems we ourselves might go through is one of the best forms of safeguarding our sporting interests through our degrees”

Isaac Kitchen-Smith, Oxford University Athletics Club

“OxfordHack 2018 has been one of the most exciting events I have ever taken part in. It has taught me that projects are built in teams, usually with clear steps in mind and always by having fun!

Serban Slincu, Computer Science

“I came to this workshop wanting to know how to develop a brand for myself as well as any business idea I may have in the future and I really feel like I got that.”

Kalyna El Kettas, PPE

The funding received allowed us not only to secure an impressive lecture theatre at the Mathematical Institute but also to provide refreshments after the talk, thanks to which a passionate discussion on the global consequences of implementing AI solutions carried on for a long time.

Dominika Bakalarz, Oxford Artificial Intelligence society

The Foundry’s support this year has been invaluable, and aside from financial support, it has been a pleasure to work with the members of the Foundry, who helped us to engage with other societies and widen participation.

Harry Orchard, former President of OxRAM

Enterprise has a long history of captivating students from our university, and I hope that we have helped to promote a more sustainable direction for budding entrepreneurs in the future.

Greta Thompson (Oxford Climate Society Committee member)

Even societies with ample funding will find that the support of the knowledgeable and capable team, and resources of the foundry, are a hugely valuable addition.

Noah Sprent, Biotech Society President

The joint OSOP-DOTW conference, entitled “Pediatrics of the world” was a success! We are grateful to the Foundry for their financial contributions, and could not have hosted this conference without their help.

Michaela James, Doctors of the World President