Calling all Oxford University students!

If you would like to explore what it takes to be an entrepreneur, then this is your chance.

Summer Sprint: 1-26 July 2024

Applications are OPEN

What is StEP?

StEP Ignite is a Student Entrepreneurship Programme that brings teams of entrepreneurial students together to develop innovative business ideas. At the end of the programme, all teams will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges who will select a winner.  

The winning team will receive a cash prize to spend on taking the first steps in setting up the business they pitched. In addition you’ll receive a package of support from OUI and will be partnered with business & technology mentors to help make the dream a reality. We’ll help you get investor ready and support your bids to raise funds through our extensive network of investors who already invest millions into the ideas which come from Oxford; we’ve got a panel of investors ready and waiting to meet you!

All the teams who complete the programme will have the opportunity to continue with their business idea through the OUI incubator programme which comes with both financial & mentor support.

New this year – we’re inviting you to bring your own idea and find a team or if you don’t have an idea of your own, to come along and join an existing team and help work on their idea.

Success Stories

Winners of StEP 2019. You can find further information on their website:

Runner-up StEP 2020. You can find further information on their website:

Is StEP right for you?

You have the spark; let's ignite it together!

StEP Ignite is for any student who wants to see if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

We’ll give you the opportunity to develop YOUR idea and train and support you with loads of people who have been there and done it for real.

There’s no need to be an expert in anything, no prior training needed, and no minimum experience level required. It’s a unique chance to give it a try – and probably make some great new friends along the way.

There’s no risk and lots of rewards. When you finish the programme you’ll have a load of expertise, a ton of training and a bucket load of experience to add to your CV. And who knows – you might even have created the next exciting new start-up!

And in case you’re wondering what it costs? It doesn’t! It’s fully funded and better still we can offer a limited number of stipends of up to £1500 for any student who needs it to cover living costs for the month.

StEP Ignite Summer Sprint is brought to you by the Incubator Team at Oxford University Innovation in partnership with Enspire Oxford.

Programme Timeline

Which ideas can we choose from?

This year we're inviting you to bring your own ideas so you can choose ANYTHING YOU LIKE

However, the best ideas are SIMPLE and FOCUSED on real world problems.

We’re keen to see how the wonderful minds of Oxford look at the big issues for this generation which WE think are around the future of our planet. So, ideas addressing key items like NET ZERO, the impact of Al on business and SPACE TECH for example would be very welcome so if you have ideas in that area, all the better!

What if i have NO ideas?

Actually, not a problem at all. You’re still very welcome to come along and join a team which has an idea.

If you’re a D.Phil student, with the permission of your supervisor, we can explore with you if there is an opportunity to work on the technology you’re researching in the lab. If you are interested in this route you’ll need to talk to us and we will need to speak to your supervisor before confirming your place so PLEASE get in touch and we’ll talk you though how this works.

Application Process

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Fill in the online application form by 25 October 2021.

You can apply as an individual looking to form a team or as part of a team.

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Build your team

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Once you have found a suitable team, you will choose a technology from the OUI portfolio to work towards creating a new company based upon that technology.

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Each team will submit a 3-minute pitch video. The best pitches will be invited to join the full programme. 


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Entrepreneurial learning

StEP is all about giving it a go. You’ll get to try out the world of Entrepreneurship for real. We’ll help you take an idea, test it, build a business proposition out of it and pitch it to a panel of investors and experts.
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We will run our workshops in person BUT we also have access to a wealth of resources to support your skills development which are available to you online and on demand as well.

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Competition prize

There is a fabulous first prize including cash & mentoring to get you started in making your dream a reality. We’ll connect you to our investor network &
help you get ready for that first investor.

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Expert and mentor network

As a programme participant, you’ll have access to domain experts, industry-specific support, mentors and networking opportunities.
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A stipend of up to £1500 to cover living expenses is available for those students who need it to attend (full-time) and can commit to the full-time programme (3-28 July 2023)

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Pitch day

At the end of programme, teams will pitch their business ideas to a panel of enthusiastic early-stage investors and members of the University innovation community.


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Competition Winner

The winning team will get cash funding to help start their new business and a package of support to make the dream a reality.

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After StEP

For all teams that wish to continue, OUI will help incorporate the new company, in partnership with the same great legal & financial teams who have dealt with many of our spinouts. Then we’ll support you on the journey to making a real business out of your idea. And in most cases, 95% of the founding equity will remain with the student team.

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OUI Incubator

All teams that wish to continue with their business idea will join the OUI Incubator.

If you would like to explore what it takes to be an entrepreneur, then this is your chance.