Insight into Start-ups

The Insight into Start-ups programme aims to inspire and equip Oxford University students with the skills, knowledge and positive behaviours to start, work in and lead a new venture. 

The content and experiences on the programme will consider start-ups and entrepreneurial activity in a wide context including in business, social enterprise, and the charity sector. Taking place over a term, Insight into Start-ups is made up of inspiring guest speaker sessions, group exercises, and in-person training, all leading to a micro-internship placement to put the learning into action.

Insight into Start-ups is a skills development programme from the Careers Service and EnSpire Oxford developed exclusively for Oxford University students.


Applications for the Michaelmas term programme are now closed. The deadline for applications was on Monday 16 October 2023 at 23:59.

There are 45 places available for the programme. The selection process consists in an application form and video assessment task. You will be invited to submit a 2 minute video with your responses to questions set. Successful applicants will be offered a place on the programme and then invited to a launch event for the programme.


After applications close on 16 October 2023 you will be invited to complete an assessment centre task on Canvas. You will need to complete this task by 19 October 2023.

Successful applicants will be offered a place on the programme by 23 October 2023 and then invited to a launch event for the programme on 27 October 2023.

Programme structure

Insight into Start-ups consists in a blend of learning activities and range of experiences: you will learn and work individually, in small teams and as a whole group. The programme will run through Michaelmas term and the winter vacation.

Lunch event

We will launch the programme with an informal reception event for successful applicants at the start of Michaelmas term.

The launch takes place at the Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road, on:

  • Friday 27 October 2023 at the Careers Service building.

Group sessions

The learning activities will be delivered over three half-day Saturday sessions. The sessions will be an interactive mix of presentations, guest speakers and group activities covering a range of content relating to starting and sustaining a new venture. They will take place at the Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road, on:

  • Saturday 28 October, 10:00-14:00
  • Saturday 11 November, 10:00-14:00
  • Saturday 25 November, 10:00-14:00


The micro-internship placement is an integral element of the programme.  You will work on an internship in an early stage or recent start-up organisation. This is a chance to gain hands-on work experience and meet people starting something new in the real world. The micro-internship take place over 2 to 5 days in:

  • Week 9 of Michaelmas term or
  • Week 10 of Michaelmas term

A micro-internship is a voluntary learning and development opportunity and is unpaid.

You will be assigned to the placement in an organisation. The dates and arrangements will depend on the organisation and their specific needs. More details will be available closer to the start of the internship.

Graduation event

We will wrap up the programme with an in-person graduation event for the whole group in Hilary term. This will be an opportunity to reflect on and share your experiences and learning, as well networking with others.

What to expect

The programme will provide an insight into the people, challenges, models and good practice for starting a new venture. Topics will include marketing and the customer proposition, financial planning and investment funding, vision and strategy, team working, recruitment and people development. 

The learning activities and micro-internship will offer development opportunities across key employment skills: team working, communication, initiative, creativity, planning, self-management, business awareness and leadership.

At the end of the programme, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate to prospective employers a broad understanding of start-ups.
  • Explain the marketing essentials that are core to a start-up strategy.
  • Explain business finance principles, commonly used reports and funding options.
  • Know how to prepare a business plan.
  • Prepare a development plan for yourself and others in a new venture.
  • Ask informed and relevant questions at interviews.


The programme is open to Oxford University Undergraduate (with the exception of freshers) and Postgraduate students, and DPhils.

We cannot accept applications from first year students (freshers starting in October 2023) or from Saïd Business School students, visiting students, research staff or alumni.


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