Have you guys heard of the Oxford Foundry?
The site, which for some of you might bring back hazy memories of nights spent in the nightclub 'Wahoo', has transformed in recent years, into an entrepreneurial hub at the heart of Oxford Uni.
Their aim is to inspire students to become more entrepreneurial in their outlook and action, enhancing employability, building confidence, creating networks and supporting venture creation.
There are so many workshops, schemes and events to get involved in. All you have to do is show up with your Bod card, and register for your free OXFO pass card. Plus, alumni within 10 years of graduating can also use the Foundry up to 10 times per academic year.
This summer I applied to the L.E.V8 Women Pre-accelerator programme with 'That Oxford Girl' at the Oxford Foundry and following a written application and Dragon's Den style pitch and interview, I was so excited to be offered a place.
As many of you know, 'That Oxford Girl' started as a stop-gap for my CV and then took off in ways I never imagined. It has impacted so many young people and now feels far too valuable to simply walk away from. There are so many potential avenues to pursue but where do I take it? How do I elevate it? How do I turn my future ideas into a reality? Well, that's exactly why I couldn't wait to get started at the Foundry.
The programme involves an immersive learning programme, including masterclasses, workshops, and one-to-one mentoring sessions with the L.E.V8 Women Ambassadors and venture teams from the main OXFO L.E.V8 accelerator.
The course began with what you might deem a 'crash-course' in business. With sessions from angel investors, entrepreneurs and seed funders, we were learning from the best in the field and the information they shared was invaluable. By day two, my brain was ready to explode and my notepad was fit to burst! I now have practical next steps and a plan for the summer to take 'That Oxford Girl' to the next level. So, watch this space...
It was amazing to meet so many other inspiring female founders; our cohort covered everything from vegan honey, to crowd funding platforms and diabetes control. It was fascinating hearing about everyone's startup journey and to see some of the innovative ideas coming out of Oxford Uni.