He announced that he will give a million dollars to support entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School and across the University of Oxford. In addition to his generous donation, Hoffman will also serve as senior advisor at the “Oxford Foundry,” a new dramatically increased space for entrepreneurship designed to serve not only Saïd but the larger university and the local community. In this way Hoffman will give his time and expertise to help start and scale new ventures for talented students.
Hoffman made the announcement at the Distinguished Speaker Seminar, in which he and Saïd Dean Peter Tufano discussed topics ranging from entrepreneurship and blitzscaling to trends in technology and career trajectories in the modern world. An audience of more than 500 students and entrepreneurs turned out to hear what they had to say and pose their own questions.
Entrepreneurship is not new at Saïd, of course. Most recently it has been supported by the Launchpad, a 100-square-metre space that has attracted nearly 2,000 members since its founding two years ago. Tufano announced that the Oxford Foundry is intended to maintain the Launchpad’s spirit of pan-university collaboration while offering more events, programming and business support to engage more entrepreneurial students and local community members.
Dean Peter Tufano said:
The Launchpad at Oxford Saïd has proven to be a phenomenal success since it opened in 2014, and has been a hothouse for entrepreneurial ideas that will transform businesses, communities and the world. Our research at Oxford Saïd suggests that we need to not only start enterprises, but scale them. Reid’s work on ‘blitzscaling’ develops this idea even further. We need to follow our own advice and dramatically scale up our support for student entrepreneurs, making the network deeper and richer.
He added also that these plans to “go big” and grow further require both financial support and expert guidance—which make Reid’s contributions invaluable. Tufano noted:
His visionary founding gift is a challenge grant that can match other donors to the Foundry. His kind willingness to serve as senior advisor provides us with the wisdom of someone who has started, and invested in, some of the most iconic businesses in the world today, including LinkedIn.
The Oxford Foundry will be located outside the current Oxford Saïd premises, a fact that implies that it will be open to all. After its completion it will provide facilities for co-working, meeting and networking, with presentation areas for lectures and conferences.
The generous contributor Reid Hoffman said:
From my experience in Silicon Valley, I’ve learned that the ecosystems that most strongly support entrepreneurship are those that truly understand and harness the power of networks—for talent, capital and ideas. The Foundry will be a hub for Oxford’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to advance ground-breaking new ideas, prototype and experiment, connect to funders and to build strong transformative ventures that will impact the world in positive ways.
Hoffman has a lot in common with Oxford University. He was a graduate student there and holds a Master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University. In addition he was a Marshall Scholar there.
The Oxford Foundry will pick up and continue the programmes, events and funding competitions established by the staff and faculty at the Launchpad. Among these are the Building a Business lecture series, the student-led Oxford Seed Fund competition and the Oxford Venture Idea Exploration Workshop (VIEW). This school will also this year launch a new Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum (OSEF)—an intensive and immersive one-day event further cementing entrepreneurial thinking within the makeup of the University of Oxford.
Source: Clear Admit