A TWO-WEEK festival is being staged by Oxford Brookes University to encourage the county’s entrepreneurs.

Thrive Festival, hosted by the university at the Headington Campus in Gipsy Lane, will start on Monday.

The programme of free events is aimed at anyone in Oxfordshire with an entrepreneurial spirit or an interest in business.

Students, graduates, members of university staff and Oxford residents looking to start a new venture have all been promised 'a warm welcome and lots of good advice'.

The Brookes Enterprise Support team runs a year-round programme for enterprising students, staff and recent graduates.

In addition to the two-week festival, the team provides mentoring, workshops and additional events to help aspiring businesspeople develop their skills, knowledge and in some cases work towards building a business idea or startup.

The festival will bring together 'experts, insight and big names from across industry' including Bianca Miller from BBC’s The Apprentice and founder of Bianca Miller London, Matt Richardson, comedian and TV personality from ITV’s Xtra Factor, and Lucy Askew, chief executive and creative producer of Creation Theatre Company

Mehjabeen Patrick, chief financial and operations officer of Creative England and Sebastian Thiel, founder, writer, director, producer of Upshot Entertainment, will also be attending.

Thrive is being delivered by the Enterprise Support team at Oxford Brookes.

The festival will cover practical tips on developing skills and ideas that visitors can use in any industry or new business.

Through free panel events, competitions, workshops and social events, the programme will also offer focus on sustainability.

The festival supports Oxford Brookes’ guiding principles - promoting confidence, enterprising creativity, connectedness, and generosity of spirit.

Speaking about the festival Lydiah Igweh, enterprise support manager, said: “The world is changing, and at Oxford Brookes we’re encouraging more out-of-the box thinking and solutions to help improve some of society’s most pressing issues.

“We’re also looking to support entrepreneurialism and ambition. Through the Thrive Festival, with inspiring tools, activities and opportunities, we want to help those who are willing to challenge themselves and develop their ideas.

“We’re providing a real opportunity for students and our community to take tangible next steps and turn ideas into reality.”

Students will also be able to access funding for their ideas, with up to £3,000 available through the Fuel Awards - the university’s in-house idea-pitching competition.

The diverse programme of events includes a panel of speakers sharing stories on how they turned their dreams into reality. This panel will give those attending the ideas, information and inspiration to kick-start a business or social enterprise scheme.

Another Thrive panel is Creative and Cultural Industries Live, with experts from across the creative industries discussing the opportunities and challenges for anyone wanting to build ambitions in the arts, digital, film, tech, games or design industries.

The 15-event Thrive programme also features workshops on crowdfunding, how to pitch, what employers look for, and a creative competition on communicating sustainable impactful ideas - the Ideas Change the World competition.

The Ignite Bootcamp is another highlight, a three-day intensive session which will help to turn a spark of an idea into a business, social enterprise or career opportunity.

Innovation Open Doors, meanwhile, will be a chance to see behind the scenes at some of London’s most exciting organisations, including Tate Modern.

For details see brookes.ac.uk