Entrepreneurial thinking is part of our fabric


At Saïd Business School, entrepreneurship occupies a unique position within our curriculum, our extracurricular offerings and within our values; all vital to our success.

By underpinning our educational offering with a complementary programme of extracurricular activities, we embed entrepreneurial thinking into the mindset of our students. Formal teaching provides the theoretical understanding required, but the ability to test and develop ventures within and with the help of the Skoll Centre, the Creative Destruction Lab, and the Entrepreneurship Centre provides hands-on, practical experience. We’re therefore extremely grateful to the donors that support these initiatives, whose contributions have a significant impact on shaping the experience that our students have at Oxford Saïd.

Skoll Centre

The mission of the School, to educate leaders capable of tackling world-scale problems, is at the heart of the Skoll Centre, which champions purpose-driven organisations who aim to achieve positive systemic change. Funded by the Skoll Foundation and launched in 2003, the centre has pioneered social entrepreneurship education and is a huge asset to the School. In 2004, the centre welcomed the first Skoll Scholars. This highly competitive scholarship attracts MBA candidates who are developing entrepreneurial solutions to address urgent social and environmental challenges – read more about the 2021 scholars.

The Skoll Centre offers a unique perspective on entrepreneurship, focusing on social entrepreneurship, and the educational programmes that the centre offers develop the next generation of leaders capable of transforming unjust systems to address the world’s greatest environmental and social challenges. The centre offers regular seminars and conferences for the whole community, and Impact Lab offers impact leadership development which complements MBA teaching.

Creative Destruction Lab


The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a programme for scalable, early-stage, science and technology-based start-ups, which pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors to set objectives in order to maximise value creation and the probability of success. CDL-Oxford is the first CDL site in Europe and was launched in 2019, offering an AI stream.

Strong support has enabled it to go from strength to strength, expanding its offering to include the Health stream in 2020 and FinTech and Climate streams in 2021. Key partners include Dennis Kavelman, Patrick Pichette, Robin Klein, John McCall MacBain, Kjell Skappel, and Niklas Zennström among others. 

I consider CDL to be one of the best learning experiences in the MBA programme. You get to learn from some of the best people across the globe and then have an opportunity to test your learnings from the MBA in the real world.

MBA 2020 Candidate

Entrepreneurship Centre

The Entrepreneurship Centre supports entrepreneurship and innovation across the globe, and the personal and entrepreneurial goals of Oxford students with programming designed to support and enhance the student journey. The centre offers courses on venture creation as well as workshops, skill development, and networking opportunities via the oNetwork, a curated group of experienced entrepreneurs who are able to help accelerate initiatives. They also run an extensive range of student-focused programmes, including the Entrepreneurship ProjectThe Oxford Seed Fund, Ideation Lab, and Liber Project, which enhance the formal teaching and underpin theoretical knowledge with practical application.

The learnings from this course were very helpful to define the strategy. It represented an opportunity to test hypotheses and understand the path from ideation to implementation.

Entrepreneurship Project Student

In addition, the Entrepreneurship Centre host the Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum (OSEF) a one-day conference, held annually at Oxford Saïd to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. The flagship event brings together prominent entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, and investors from across the global ecosystem for a meaningful exploration of how individuals and businesses can transform the world. OSEF has benefitted from excellent keynote speakers, with Emilie Colker, Partner, Ideo, Timo Boldt, Founder and CEO, Gousto, and Dr Gordon Sanghera, Co-Founder and CEO, Oxford Nanopore Technologies speaking at OSEF 2022. Entrepreneurship is supported widely by our community, with philanthropic funding for the centre’s extra-curricular offerings.

In 2017, the Oxford Foundry opened, supported by entrepreneurs including Reid Hoffman and Biz Stone, as well as corporate partners such as EY, Santander, Ripple, Meltwater, and Oxford Science Enterprises, providing skills training and solution-focused programming addressing global issues such as climate change and healthcare. In October 2021, the School concluded programming and sustainability would be strengthened by consolidating the Foundry, bringing the delivery of much of the programming into the Entrepreneurship Centre, as our entrepreneurial ecosystem is rapidly evolving.

The entrepreneurial mindset is a critical part of Oxford Saïd, and the opportunities we can offer our students to apply their learning in a practical way is hugely important in shaping the experience that they have whilst at the School. Philanthropic support is crucial to our ability to deliver this programming and ensure that we can continue developing it in line with innovations over the next 25 years as the University moves towards its aim of being the innovation hub of Europe.