About Oxfordshire Business First
We have many business organisations in Oxfordshire. Most spend their time and effort helping businesses to be successful — and rightly so. Operating a business in the current economic climate requires significant support at every level: training for employees, practical assistance to managers, and guidance for directors. But for many of our smaller businesses, access to high quality learning is often difficult and expensive to obtain. Short, bite-sized learning events provide a format for business people to invest small amounts of time in gaining highly valuable knowledge from those who have experience and expertise.
Oxfordshire Business First is a not-for-profit organisation set up to address this need of enabling business people to learn from other business people. Our goal is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Oxfordshire. It is our belief that by helping individual businesses to overcome obstacles to growth, the outcome will be a positive impact on our county’s economy.
Oxfordshire Business First is different to other organisations in that it provides a forum for business people to give freely of their time to share good practice and experience for the benefit of other business people in their community. In other words, it enables business people to learn from those who have been successful – or those who have failed – based on their real experience rather than theory.
For the past three years, Oxfordshire Business First has organised a range of monthly events. At each, two speakers present case studies or teaching sessions around topics such as driving innovation in your organisation, utilising the web the grow business opportunities or investigating new sources for commercial funding. Events are held across the county and attract some 50 – 100 participants who, following the formal presentations, engage in lively debate and discussion. All the events are free of charge.
Oxfordshire Business First has also run successful events with young people including a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event run at locations such as Said Business School and Abingdon and Witney College, which encourage young entrepreneurs to take their first steps in starting a business. A book capturing the ‘warts and all’ stories of local entrepreneurs and aimed at young entrepreneurs is currently in production.
As an organisation, Oxfordshire Business First also supports Fredrick’s Foundation, an organisation whose mission is to stimulate start up businesses by providing finance to those who are unable to obtain it from other channels.
It is our belief that to grow the economy in a sustainable way, business people require the ideas, confidence and knowledge to overcome the issues in today’s markets and prepare for the emerging markets that will present opportunities in the future. Our goal is to oil the wheels of the wealth-creating engine in our community by tapping into the generosity and goodwill of those business people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with others.