The UK’s six most entrepreneurial universities

4. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the largest employer in Oxfordshire, with 16, 200 staff. It contributes £750m to the local economy. Oxfordshire’s growth rate in high-tech jobs is the highest in the UK – many of which are connected to the university.

What makes Oxford so unique is that since 1997, Isis Innovation has been responsible for creating spin-out companies based on academic research generated within and owned by the university. It has spun-out a new company every two months on average.

Over £266m in external investment has been raised by Isis spin-out companies since 2000, and five are currently listed on London’s AIM market. Oxford was also crowned the most innovative university in Britain in 2011, with Imperial College coming a close second.

Among its alumni are: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web; Love Home Swap’s Debbie Wosskow; Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of; Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summly; Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England; Chef Nigella Lawson; financier Nat Rothschild.


5. University College London (UCL)

UCL was ranked joint fifth in the world’s top ten universities by the QS World University Rankings of 2014. The UCL Institute of Education is ranked number one for education.

The institute truly stands out, however, when it comes to science. In fact, an NIHR survey in 2011 showed that UCL led the UK in most-highly-cited biomedical engineering publications. The scope of its research was hailed in an REF 2014 report, which suggested that it far outpaced other universities when it came to biomedical research and the impact that it had.

It also has a track record in implementation and impact – from licensing deals through to spin-out companies, and from novel devices to clinical breakthroughs. It is therefore hardly surprising that UCL is associated with several major teaching hospitals – such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, the Royal Free Hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital – which provide Londoners with first-rate healthcare and contribute to major advances in medical research.

Among its alumni are: Edwin Waterhouse, founding partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers; both of the managing directors of the Jack Wills clothing chain; Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars; Richard Martell, creator of the controversial social network “FitFinder”; Susan Ma, managing director of Tropic Skin Care and finalist on The Apprentice.


6. London Business School (LBS)

The school is ranked number one in the world for its full-time MBA programme and is ranked among the top ten for its executive MBA programme. LBS was also ranked as the top business school in Europe by the Financial Times in 2014.

LBS is truly a collaborative institution in the sense that it not only strives to connect students with different companies, but also across various countries. Launched in 2001, EMBA-Global Americas & Europe was jointly developed by London Business School and Columbia Business School to develop global business leaders. the school built on its existing partnership with Columbia Business School to launch the EMBA-Global Asia with The University of Hong Kong in 2008 – the first programme of its kind to offer learning and networking opportunities in London, New York and Hong Kong.

Among its alumni are: Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet; John Sunderland, chairman of Cadbury; Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One Financial Services; Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, chairman and CEO of the Tata Group; Richard Greenbury, CEO of Marks & Spencer; John Egan, chairman of Svern Trent after being known as CEO of Jaguar Cars and BAA.

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