From Victorian ice factory to digital innovation.
Exposed brickwork, Chesterfield sofas, hotdesking, and foliage growing on the walls.
No, this isn’t Shoreditch’s latest hipster coworking space, it’s actually England’s prestigious Oxford University, opening its first ‘startup hub’.
Tonight at 5pm Apple CEO Tim Cook will help cut the ribbon on ‘The Foundry’, a £3.2m facility funded by entrepreneurs and Oxford Alumni like LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman (who personally donated £1m).
The space is a renovated Victorian ice factory spread over two floors, and will be free for any of Oxford’s 23,000 students to use, with a programme of speakers, expert business advice and back-office support.
“Some concepts of entrepreneurship can be taught,” said Hoffman, ahead of tonight’s launch.
“But ultimately it is learned from experience and so you can never fully prepare other than by doing.”
It’s not the first time we’ve seen Oxford University diving into the world of innovation, whether via its online-only ‘Fintech’ course or through the creation of the world’s first ‘trustmark’ for the sharing economy.
As part of Cook’s visit tonight, he’s also sitting down with Oxford’s Saïd Business School Dean Peter Tufano for an hour-long interview to discuss “what it takes to be entrepreneurial” which is being live-streamed at 5pm.
We can’t wait to see what he says: