Supporting digital entrepreneurship: the role of incubators, accelerators and innovation centres

9:30 am - 4:30 pm 22/02/2023

Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP

Oxford Brookes logo

Festival of AI event – in collaboration with Enterprise Educators 

Supporting digital entrepreneurship: the role of incubators, accelerators and innovation centres

Headington Hill Hall Campus, Oxford Brookes Headington

In-Person event

Wednesday February 22nd 2023, 9.30am-4.00pm


Enterprise education covers a spectrum of activities, from classroom-based learning to active business support. University incubators are one instance of the latter; as such, they seek to provide an environment in which start-ups can gestate and accelerate the development and launch of their products and services.

Incubators have become particularly relevant in an era of growing digital innovation – whose complexity may well demand multiple forms of support. This is especially so with developments in artificial intelligence, which are making inroads across sectors and disciplines, from engineering to life sciences.

How should universities support such businesses, particularly when they may be working with technologies in a range of specialist disciplinary areas? How do they balance the need for guidance in enterprise and entrepreneurship with highly technical demands related to underlying technologies and application areas?

Finally, given the resource-intensive nature of incubators – and the time-limited interventions they imply in a business’s life cycle – what support should and shouldn’t universities provide? In particular, what are the respective roles of university incubators and other ecosystem mechanisms, such as innovation accelerators and growth advisers?

Delegates will have the opportunity to 

  • Learn about university experiences with technology incubators and the role they play in enterprise support
  • Hear from clients of incubators on the difference they have made to them in developing their skills in enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Discuss the role of universities as part of the broader ecosystem of enterprise support for digital entrepreneurship
  • Reflect on the requirements of digital enterprise support (particularly for AI-related businesses) as a subset of more general enterprise education
  • Discuss the merits of “narrow and focused” forms of enterprise support versus broader, multi-client – and individual-focused – mechanisms
  • Network with enterprise and entrepreneurship educators and support bodies from Oxfordshire and across the UK

Speakers, panel members and facilitators that have expressed an interest in the event include: 

  • Dr Paul Jackson, Chair of Oxford Brookes’ cross-faculty AI and Data Analysis Network
  • Professor Nicolette Michels, Professor of Applied Enterprise, Oxford Brookes Business School
  • Dr Philip Clegg, Associate Director (Enterprise), Oxford Brookes University
  • Dr Samia Kamal, National Teaching Fellow, ICE Cube (Oxford Brookes’ Start-up incubator)
  • Elizabeth Cameron, Support Manager for Catalyst, Oxford Brookes’ erstwhile AI-incubator
  • Peter Harrington, serial entrepreneur and head of SimVenture
  • Arijit Mitra, Founder and CEO, Alturis
  • Ben Williams, CTO, Sunbear Bioworks
  • Simon Yates, Director and Founder, DigiReg
  • Steve Burgess, CEO, The Oxford Trust (co-owner of the Oxford and Wood Centres for Innovation)
  • Megan Morys-Carter, Director of TheHill, Oxford University Hospitals
  • Dr Deborah Spencer, Innovation and Business Partnerships Team, Oxford University 

Cost to attend

Non-Members £100

AGENDA (subject to change) 

Please note: all sessions will be plenary, with space provided for audience questions and debate 

9.30 – 10.00   Registration, networking, refreshments
10.00 – 10.20   Welcome and overview of key issues of the day

Professor Nicolette Michels and Dr Paul Jackson

10.20 – 11.30   Presentations and Panel Discussion (Chaired by Dr Philip Clegg)

Supporting digital entrepreneurs through university incubators

Dr Samia Kamal, Elizabeth Cameron and Peter Harrington


11.30 – 11.50   Coffee break
11.50 – 13.00   Presentations and Panel Discussion (Chaired by Dr Paul Jackson)

Inside the incubator: a client-side view of digital entrepreneurship support

Arijit Mitra, Ben Williams and Simon Yates

13.00 – 13.50   Lunch
13.50 – 15.10   Presentations and Panel Discussion (Chaired by Professor Nicolette Michels)

Incubators, accelerators and the innovation ecosystem

Steve Burgess, Megan Morys-Carter and Dr Deborah Spencer 

15.10 – 15.30   Coffee break
15.30 – 16.00   Concluding discussion (Chaired by Dr Paul Jackson)

What next for enterprise support for digital entrepreneurs? 


Welcome – Nicolette Michels and Paul Jackson

The Successful Incubator

The Hill – Creating a Culture of Innovation

Attendee details

Bookings are closed for this event.