“Maximising the opportunity from cross-sector collaboration here is going to be key”.
In the latest episode of OxTalks series two – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – we sat down with Artem Korolev, Founder and CEO of Mission Street, to discuss how to nurture and grow Oxfordshire’s world-class innovation ecosystem.
Artem founded Mission Street, a specialist investor, operator and developer for the evolving science and innovation sector, in 2017. He has overall responsibility for the organisation’s investment activities and the delivery of its expanding portfolio.
In this podcast, Artem discusses how his upbringing and experience in the real estate industry have shaped his passion for the growth of the science and innovation sector.
Born in Russia in a household of scientists and engineers, Artem’s family emigrated to New Zealand and later, the Netherlands, before he relocated to the UK for university. Having graduated with a MA in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge, Artem now runs Mission Street, and sits on the Investment and Development Committee for the Institute of Cancer Research.
An entrepreneurial character, Artem has always been interested in being independent and having the ability to realise his creative vision. After gaining a good education and relevant experience, he started Mission Street with the vision to deliver creative solutions for the growing science and innovation sectors in the UK, with a focus on Oxford and Cambridge.
WATCH: OxTalks series two, episode five: 'How to nurture a world-class innovation ecosystem'
To explore how we can collectively nurture Oxfordshire’s world-class innovation ecosystem, read on…
Scaling up requires confidence and investment
Oxfordshire has a wealth of incredible opportunities, in terms of the anchors, clusters and skills that are available. With the longstanding reputation of the University of Oxford, it can be easy for innovators and businesses in the region to become complacent and presume that the county’s global position is safe.
However, there is more to be done to support the pipeline of emerging organisations in Oxfordshire, especially in the current global economic climate. Many organisations are struggling to raise money and there is a distinct lack of infrastructure to support them. To remain competitive in the global market, start-ups must be encouraged to grow, and remain in Oxfordshire as they do so, employing people at different levels of seniority and roles.
Creating nurturing learning environments
For start-ups to thrive in Oxfordshire, they must be able to access an environment where they can thrive through collaboration and innovation. As an investor and developer, Mission Street’s aim is to act as a facilitator for this growth. They are not focusing on building out-of-town science parks – but instead on parts of cities, locations, or clusters where there is science – to encourage urban innovation between local companies.
By providing this infrastructure in towns and city centres, where there is connectivity to public transport and amenities, opportunities are opened to local people – placing them at the heart of the growth of emerging sectors.
Engaging local people
While building physical infrastructure is an important part of creating opportunities for local people, there must be an element of collaboration to spark interest. Public realm is a key method of attracting local attention – by creating spaces such as cafes or shared working areas, we can encourage spillover from growing industries to people who may not have had exposure to careers in STEM, tech, or creative industries from a young age.
Mission Street call this ‘public science’ and aim to be an “active facilitator of apprenticeships and internships” through making their buildings interesting for the local community.
While Oxford has established a successful global brand from hundreds of years of innovation, when you look more closely, there are many local complexities in the wider county that are yet to be unlocked. To address these challenges, collaboration between local partners across sectors is essential.
Oxfordshire has many strong emerging economies, including pharmaceuticals, quantum, biotech and green tech – but the opportunity lies in maximising collaboration across these sectors. At OxLEP, we are helping to grow investment in the county by acting as the “connective tissue” across various elements of the ecosystem.
Working with national government, the Department for Business and Trade, and investors, we seek to identify premises, strategic partnerships, supply chain opportunities, and links with academia, skills and employment opportunities to create bridges for investment. Since 2017, we have helped land just under 300 foreign direct investment projects in the county, showcasing that collaboration really is the key to growing a successful innovation ecosystem.
Interested in hearing more on the topic? Tune into the full episode wherever you get your podcasts.
Or watch all episodes via the OxLEP website.