What is StEP Ignite?

StEP Ignite is the University of Oxford’s Student Entrepreneurship Programme that offers the opportunity to develop innovative business ideas from a pool that has come from University of Oxford research. Students will be provided with a stipend, at least four weeks of training and skills development to help them create their business plan for one of the IP ideas in order to pitch to OSI for a pre-seed investment of £25,000 at the end of the programme. The team that wins the OSI investment will then receive onward support to create a new spinout company, a generous portion of the equity and a roadmap to pitch for further investment. Other teams who wish to continue will be supported by the OUI incubator programme.

What are the projects?

Approximately 30 University of Oxford ‘Projects’ will be on offer for StEP Ignite.
Each Project is based upon Intellectual Property (IP) that was developed by a group of University researchers (“the Originating Team”) as part of their University research work. There’s something for everyone regardless of your subject.

Who is StEP Ignite for?

StEP Ignite is for anyone who wants to see if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. We’ll give you the opportunity to develop your skills with real technologies, ideas and IP and train and support you with loads of input from 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. No risks 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.

Who is eligible?

Only current University of Oxford student members (fully matriculated students) are eligible to join the programme. Applicants may not be employees of the University.

Applicants may not be a member of the Originating Team of the project they choose to work with.

D.Phil students must discuss their application with their supervisor prior to submission. We're happy to answer any questions they may have about the programme via step@innovation.ox.ac.uk

When do I apply

All applications must be made on or before 22nd November 2019 using the application form on the StEP Ignite website.

When is it?

The programme will run daily for the two weeks of 6th - 10th January and 13th - 17th January 2020.

During Hilary term we’ll meet with successful startup CEOs and inspirational entrepreneurs every Tuesday evening at OSI’s offices (46 Woodstock Rd). For the weeks 16th – 20th March and 23rd - 27th March 2020 we’re back to daily sessions with final pitches on Thursday 26th March followed by a celebration party. Our final day is 27th March when we chat with all of you about ‘what next’ & gather your feedback.

Where is it?

StEP Ignite will be run in Oxford at the OUI Start-up Incubator, The Oxford Foundry and OSI’s offices.

How do I apply?

The application form is online here

How much is the student stipend?

The stipend is £1,500 for applicants who can commit to the full-time programme.

A small number of applicants who can only commit to the mornings will also be considered for a stipend of £750. Please note: you will be needed full-time for the first two days (Mon 6th & Tue 7th Jan) and for the day of the pitch (26th Mar).

How does it work?

Successful applicants will be informed by end of November 2019.

StEP Ignite will start on 6th January 2020 and is a four-week programme on weekdays which is split two weeks in January 6-17 January, then March 16-27. Most days will involve 2-3 hours of training in the morning and then use of the same location(s) to develop your project with support services on hand for the remainder of the day. You will be required to come during Hilary term once a week to the OSI premises for talks with startups CEOs.

Applicants will be encouraged to create teams of 4-5 to develop their ideas into a business plan over the period of the programme.

The ‘Originating Team’ may be available to provide limited technical input or answer some questions but are not expected to do any practical work in support of the StEP Ignite project and their involvement is not guaranteed nor expected to be extensive.

At the end of the programme each team will pitch competitively to OSI. The winning team will receive an investment of £25,000 to develop their idea further. The £25,000 investment will be provided in the form of a convertible loan i.e. it will be converted to equity on the next investment round at a share value agreed for that round.

The winning StEP Ignite team will receive the £25,000 investment and onward support to incorporate a spinout company. On company creation, up to 90% of the founder equity will be divided equally among the student team. The remainder will be allocated equally between the researchers that originated the IP and the University. If the inventors do not want to take any equity, then the full remainder will be allocated to the University of Oxford.

All participants will receive a certificate of achievement for completion of the programme, detailing the skills learned.

If I win, what happens to the rest of my studies?

This StEP Ignite programme is designed to take place from January to March in 2020 and specifically intended to fit around study. We know you need to complete whatever it is you’re doing at the moment! It’s also likely that each member of the team will be at a different stage of study so, for that reason, there is no fixed timeframe for subsequent spinout incorporation work. We’ll sit down with you and help you figure out the 'what next' part on a case by case basis.

Deadline for applying for the StEP Ignite programme:

22nd November 2019

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Application to StEP 2 ‘Ignite’