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

9:00 am - 4:00 pm 22/02/2023

Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 0BP

Oxford Brookes logo

Wednesday February 22nd 2023, to coincide with the Oxford Brookes Festival of Al Green Room and Music Room, Headington Hill Hall, Oxford Brookes Headington Campus.

In-Person event 


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.

Through a mix of short presentations, panel discussions, audience debates and Q&A, the event will engage the delegates with the following questions:

– What does good practice look like in enterprise support via university incubators?

– What are the respective roles in enterprise education of university incubators and other ecosystem mechanisms, such as innovation accelerators and growth advisers?

– How should universities support digital entrepreneurs, particularly when they may be working with technologies in a range of specialist disciplinary areas?

– 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?

As well as presentations by Oxford Brookes and Oxford University staff on their incubator work with client businesses, Peter Harrington of SimVenture will present findings from interviews with people from incubators in Edinburgh and London South Bank University.

Delegates will 

▪ 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

▪ Be able to discuss the role of universities as part of the broader ecosystem of enterprise support for digital entrepreneurship

▪ Have the chance to reflect on the requirements of digital enterprise support (particularly for AI-related businesses) as a subset of more general enterprise education

▪ Have opportunities to share thoughts on the merits of “narrow and focused” forms of enterprise support versus broader, multi-client – and

individual-focused – mechanisms

▪ Be able to 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, Oxford Brookes Business School and Chair of Brookes’ cross-faculty AI and Data Analysis Network

▪ Dr Philip Clegg, Associate Director (Enterprise), Oxford Brookes University

▪ Dr Sarah Irons, Bioinnovation Hub Manager, Oxford Brookes Faculty of Health & Life Sciences

▪ Elizabeth Cameron, Support Manager for Catalyst, Oxford Brookes’ erstwhile AI-incubator

▪ Professor Nicolette Michels, Professor of Applied Enterprise, Oxford Brookes Business School

▪ Dr Samia Kamal, National Teaching Fellow, ICE Cube (Oxford Brookes’ Start-up incubator)

▪ Steve Burgess, Chief Executive Officer the Oxford Trust (owner of Oxford Innovation)

▪ Dr Deborah Spencer, Innovation and Business Partnerships Team, Oxford University

▪ Peter Harrington, serial entrepreneur and head of SimVenture (TBC)

▪ Arjit Mitra, Founder and CEO, Alturis (a Catalyst Client)

▪ BioInnovation Hub Clients, Sunbear Bioworks (A BioInnovation Hub Client)

▪ Simon Yates, Director and Founder, DigiReg (an ICE Cube client) 

Cost to attend

Non-Members £100


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Attendee details


Ticket Type Price Spaces
Members £0.00
Non Members £100.00

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