Building a Business

Identify key aspects of successful entrepreneurship.


  • 5 weeks

Time commitment:

  • Short programme


  • Oxford


  • Free

About the programme

Building a Business is a co-curricular event series open to all current University of Oxford students and staff who are either:

  • in the early stages of exploring their own potential ventures
  • beginning to consider their entrepreneurial potential and want to deepen their understanding of what it takes to run their own business.

The foundation programme is aimed at introducing the journey of an entrepreneur and gives you the opportunity to broaden your network, learn how to navigate the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Oxford and build your entrepreneurial skill and mindset.

The programme is supported by EnSpire Oxford, a University initiative, and delivered by the Entrepreneurship Centre.

The below table shows the programme outline for the 2023 cohort.


The Journey from Student to CEO panel

Join us for the 'The Journey from Student to CEO' panel and hear from our alumni, Holly Reeve, Mina Bekheet, and Husayn Kassai, who will be discussing their own entrepreneurial journeys and sharing guidance with those who might be thinking of starting their own ventures.

In addition to the panel discussion, the session will introduce the business model canvas framework, and our panellists will be providing an overview of their own business models and how this tool can be used successfully.

This session will be facilitated by Leah Thompson, Head of EnSpire, University of Oxford.

Customer Development workshop

This session, with Bolaji Sofoluwe, will cover a vital part of the entrepreneurial journey - building a customer base. This session will also unveil the well-guarded strategies of world-class customer-centric enterprises, which will help to shape the overall business strategy.

In this talk, you'll learn:

  • to explore essential concepts
  • how to decipher your target audience
  • to foster growth by designing the customer journey.

An Introduction to Entrepreneurial Finance for Startups

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between funding at the seed stage and funding at a later stage? Do you wonder where a venture capitalist’s valuations even come from? Then this will be the session for you.

Edward Keelan is a partner with Octopus Ventures, one of the UK’s most active and recommended venture capitals. He’s also an alumnus of the Saïd Business School Executive MBA and a regular speaker on entrepreneurship and early-stage finance.

In this talk, you'll learn:

  • an understanding of key financial terminology to help kick-start your own venture
  • tips on how to finance your ideas and turn them into a reality
  • the answers to any burning questions you may have about your own finance model, in the question and answer session.

Developing a Successful Brand and Client Loyalty

By analysing the success of iconic brands that have been able to survive market challenges, Flavilla Fongang has developed the ‘Beyond Marketing Approach’, helping businesses to develop their brand ecosystem to maintain high client engagement and increase their lifetime value. During this session, Flavilla will discuss this approach and share marketing strategies developed to improve brand engagement and convert more prospects.

In this talk, you'll learn:

  • how to create a following of faithful individuals who buy from you frequently
  • about beyond Marketing activities which create the most engagement
  • how to create your brand ecosystem to increase your client lifetime value.

Scaling For Success panel session

Join us for the final session of the Building a Business series and hear from the ‘Scaling For Success’ panel which includes Oxford alumni, Lily Elsner, Henry Majed and Sushma Shankar. They will be discussing the challenges and hurdles you might face when scaling your own venture and how to navigate this journey.

This session is facilitated by Maria Zubeldia, Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre.