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Customer Stories
Oxford Innovation

Oxford Innovation Advice

Oxford Innovation delivers an EU-funded financial readiness programme to small businesses.

Oxford Innovation adviceOxford Innovation advice

Organisation

Oxford Innovation Advice

Sector

Professional skills: Business Consulting & Services

Date of activity

2022

The challenge

Oxford Innovation Services (OIS) is the UK’s leading specialist business support company.  They work with businesses at all stages of development to maximise their growth potential.

Access to Finance (A2F) is an EU funded programme run by Oxford Innovation. A2F delivers financial readiness support to SMEs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

A core element, teaching Start Up Businesses how to build the components required to secure seed capital, was being delivered through a 2 day in-person workshop.

Oxford Innovation saw an opportunity to improve the support that it provides businesses in the region by augmenting its current workshops with online peer group learning. This is targeted initially at a minimum of 1,100 Cornwall and Isle of Scilly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The solution

Learning with Experts worked with Oxford Innovation to develop a new online course. 

As with the face to face workshop, this course is designed to help SMEs to understand the finance options available, decide which is most appropriate to them and then develop a business plan so that they can apply for finance. 

The online classroom allows the course to be broken up into smaller modules and taken over a longer period.  At the end of each module, participants complete an assignment and can receive feedback both from their peers and from Oxford Innovation’s specialists. 

This means that they will have completed their business plan by the time they finish the course.

This course is hosted on an Oxford Innovation branded version of the Learning with Experts' platform.

We already help Cornish businesses through face-to-face workshops. Extending this to give the same support online, knowing that business-owners are also building up a valuable peer network is such a positive use of technology. We’re proud to be helping Cornwall realise its potential in a business sense.Andrew Finley, Commercial Director Oxford Innovation Advice

What next?

A second A2F course, providing support to more established businesses, launches in summer 2022.  Oxford Innovation, Learning with Experts and the River Cottage have also since collaborated to develop a course that is aimed at helping independent food producers to build successful and scalable businesses.


The results

The course was launched in early 2022 and initially made available to 600 previous participants in the face-to-face workshops.  The next step will be to open it up to those who have not attended face-to-face training.

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