Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable

About the event

Annual event bringing together senior policy makers, industry players and academics.

The event was established in 2015 and is led by Professor Thomas Hellmann. The event takes a deep dive into one focal topic every year, with the aim of producing valuable insights that participants can take back into their professional activities. We discuss in a small circle of experts the challenges faced by industry and the ways public policy can provide informed support.

5th annual OXEPR

Building Fintech Ecosystems: Emerging Trends & Policy Implications.

The 5th annual Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable OXEPR (17 May 2019).


  • Gilles Duruflé (Tech Innovation Platform, Quebec City Conference)
  • Thomas Hellmann (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)
  • Karen Wilson (OECD & Affiliate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)

The 5th Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable (OXEPR) explores the challenges of developing Fintech ecosystems, and the implications for public policies. The roundtable brings together select decision makers from diverse backgrounds across the Fintech ecosystems to discuss the recent trends and challenges of starting and scaling FinTech companies, and the regulatory and non-regulatory government approaches that promote this type of activity.

Fintech continues to offer much promise for better customer experience and improved market structures. Sectors such as payments and lending are maturing, whereas areas such as Insurtech and Regtech are still experiencing growing interest. Yet, structural changes in the financial markets appear at times fragmented, and FinTech companies are often slow to scale up. Despite the broad interest in the potential of Fintech startups for improving today’s financial system, harnessing this potential introduces unique challenges, not only for the Fintech companies themselves but also for the other participants in the ecosystems, including venture capital investors and incumbent financial institutions. Policymakers who influence the Fintech ecosystems face several contradictory challenges, including (i) how to support the sector in a technology-agnostic fashion, (ii) how to enable a level playing field between incumbents and Fintech entrants, (iii) how to foster both collaboration and competition, and (iv) how to support both experimentation and financial stability. In this roundtable, we will explore the challenges faced by Fintech start-ups and scale-ups and consider options for appropriate and effective policy responses that help to facilitate the beneficial development of Fintech ecosystems.

The roundtable brings together selected practitioners, policy-makers, and academics. Under Chatham house rules, participants discuss cutting-edge approaches. The roundtable engages an interactive discussion about these leading initiatives and collectively explores the implications for public policy.


4th annual OXEPR

Cross-border financing of high-growth entrepreneurs: Emerging trends & policy implications.

The 4th annual Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable (OXEPR) May 18, 2018 was hosted in partnership with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme.


  • Gilles Duruflé (Tech Innovation Platform, Quebec City Conference)
  • Thomas Hellmann (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)
  • Karen Wilson (OECD & Affiliate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)

The roundtable focused on the role of cross-border investments in the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. It examined the extent to which such investments benefit the local ecosystem, as well as the role of public policies in facilitating them. The roundtable presented trends in the evolution of cross-border financing over time and discussed the impact of different cross-border financing combinations, with a focus on US investments in Europe, Israel, and Canada, as well as cross-European investments.

Evidence indicates that cross-border investments play an important role in the scaling up of high-growth companies. However, when European start-up companies obtain funding from US investors, especially at the later scale-up stage, there is concern that this financing may transfer the majority of economic activity in the direction of the investor country. On the one hand, start-up ventures welcome the foreign capital, expertise, and networks that accompany cross-border investments. On the other hand, policy-makers worry that cross-border investments predominantly benefit foreign economies and fail to benefit local ecosystems. Cross-European investments, as well as US and Asian investments in Europe and abroad, are becoming more common, yet policies regarding cross-border financing vary widely. Policies in some countries like Israel and Canada actively encourage foreign investments, especially from the US. Many other countries, however, lack policies and/or implicitly discourage cross-border financing. In this roundtable, we explored the challenges faced by companies, investors, and policy-makers, and considered options for appropriate and effective policy responses.

3rd annual OXEPR

Entrepreneurship in and around Universities.

The 3rd annual Oxford Entrepreneurship Policy Roundtable OXEPR.


  • Gilles Duruflé (Public Policy Forum, Quebec City Conference)
  • Thomas Hellmann (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)
  • Karen Wilson (Senior Fellow at Bruegel, Brussels, & Affiliate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford)

The 3rd OXEPR focused on the ways that universities are innovating to promote entrepreneurship, and the potential role for public policy. Select decision-makers from diverse backgrounds across the entrepreneurial ecosystem discussed new and innovative approaches to promoting entrepreneurship in and around universities.

In the past, university-based entrepreneurship was synonymous with technology transfer, but over the last decade there has been an explosion of novel approaches to promoting university-based entrepreneurship more broadly. Lower costs to launching start-ups, and the decline of traditional career opportunities, have created a more rigorous interest for student-led entrepreneurship. Innovators within and around the universities have responded to this by devising new models of promoting student-led entrepreneurship. Amongst other things, universities and private market actors have responded with newly designed programmes, freshly built spaces, new partnerships, and new financing sources. More recently a diverse set of policy makers have begun to ask whether and how government policy should support these novel initiatives.

This roundtable brought together selected practitioners, policy makers, and academics to discuss these new practices. Under Chatham house rules they discussed cutting-edge approaches from across different parts of Europe and North America, with a view to exploring the role of public policy. The roundtable focused on an interactive discussion about these leading initiatives, and collectively explored the implications for public policy.