Dr Philippa Christoforou

When the covid-19 pandemic hit, many people worldwide hoped that we would all take a hard look at how the global economy worked and try to make business more fair and equitable. One of the solutions to this dream is socially responsible businesses. At OUI, we call them social ventures. I was thrilled to take on the role of social venture lead in 2022 after 4 years of supporting members of the university to build such businesses.

Our definition encompasses any company which has a social or environmental mission in its company documents, thereby  enshrining a vision and aims into the company culture. To date, we’ve created social ventures that help companies and countries identify households in poverty and do something about it, others that help people out of homelessness, or advise companies how to set targets to mitigate climate change impact. Our social ventures address some of the world’s biggest unmet needs. I’m delighted to be leading the next stage of our social venture journey. We want to build a strong ecosystem of socially responsible businesses, and we need your help. We need investment, we need good people to advise companies or sit on boards, and we need connections to make things happen.

I was drawn to OUI because of the impact that I could see research having on the world. Since then, we’ve had a ball. Together with my colleague and inspirational friend, Sarah Deakin, we started a crazy adventure in crowdfunding with the Development Office. OxReach was born and six campaigns, and a lot of public support later, those projects continue to thrive, creating local and international change. Greater Change was the first OxReach supported social venture, and as of 2022 has helped over 500 people out of homelessness. I’m very excited to see where the coming years takes us!

Spinouts supported: Inkpath, Oxford Molecular Biosensors,  PalaeoPi, Greater Change, The Global Health Research Accelerator, Oxford Simcells, OxDx Limited.

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