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OxLEP are delighted to bring to you a brand-new podcast, OxTalks, for businesses in Oxfordshire and beyond wanting to take their organisation to the next level.
Hosted by seasoned broadcaster Howard Bentham, OxTalks aims to answer some of the biggest questions in business – from efficiency levels to staff motivation – to support and nurture business growth in Oxfordshire.
As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, OxLEP’s role is to champion the county’s economic potential, acting as the driving force to create a dynamic, sustainable, and growing place to live, work and enjoy.
Supporting OxLEP’s ambitions and helping local organisations to take their business to the next level, the second series of the podcast is sponsored by leading national law firm Mills & Reeve.
Episodes of OxTalks are released fortnightly throughout each series and are available across all good podcast platforms.
Watch our latest and previous, exciting episodes below.
Series two, episode five: 'How to nurture a world-class innovation ecosystem'.
Released 22 January 2024
How do we create and nurture a dynamic business landscape which attracts new companies, innovation and investment?
In this episode of OxTalks – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – host Howard Bentham is joined by Artem Korolev, Founder and CEO of Mission Street.
Oxfordshire is one of the world’s most well-regarded destinations when it comes to science and innovation. As competition from the likes of Silicon Valley, Boston and Beijing stiffens, how can Oxfordshire stand out as the innovation destination of choice?
To help answer the question on OxTalks, Artem Korolev shares his thoughts on the foundations of creating a dynamic business landscape and how Oxfordshire can secure its continued future as a world-leading science and technology cluster.
Howard and Artem are joined by OxLEP's Richard Byard who provides further context and highlights its commitment in this area.
Series two, episode four: 'How to create a happy and motivated workforce'.
Released 8 January 2024
What is the key to creating a happy and motivated workforce? How can you improve your staff retention rate?
In this edition of OxTalks – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – host Howard Bentham is joined by Sarah Powell, HR Director at luxury Oxfordshire hotel Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Today, we live in difficult times, where many vacancies remain unfilled, and employers are on a constant hunt for the right person to join their organisation. It’s a buyer’s market for job hunters – so, what can employers do to make sure they are finding the right talent for the role?
On OxTalks, Sarah Powell shares her career journey and the knowledge she has gained through working her way up the hospitality ladder. Having worked for big organisations such as Hilton Hotels, Crowne Plaza and Soho House, she now works for Belmond where she is in charge of HR at Le Manoir, and Interim Area Director of HR for Northern Europe and Africa. Find out the key to Sarah’s success on OxTalks.
Series two, episode three: 'Top Tips For Building Your Personal Brand'.
Released 4 December 2023
What if you were to turn your hobby or passion into a full-time job? Where would you start? Is there any help out there and to whom should you turn?
In this edition of OxTalks – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – host Howard Bentham is joined by Paul Wilkinson, multi-award-winning photographer and founder of Paul Wilkinson Photography.
Many of us have hobbies and interests outside of work that occupy our spare time, playing an important role in our social life, as well as our mental health and well-being. But turning your hobby into a career is no mean feat.
Paul has been named the UK Portrait Photographer of the Year and boasts an impressive client list including Cadbury, The Sunday Times Magazine and Le Manoir – but he wasn’t always a photographer and left behind a high-earning career to pursue his passion.
Series two, episode two: 'How to Start a New Business: Feasible vs. Fantasy'.
Released 20 November 2023
How exactly do you start a business? What is realistic and what is fantasy?
In this edition of OxTalks – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – host Howard Bentham is joined by Fiona Reid, Associate Professor of Bioscience Entrepreneurship at University College London, to explore her top tips for starting a business and becoming a successful entrepreneur.
The word entrepreneur sums up what it means to be proactive, innovative and passionate about business – someone who is ready to seize the opportunity. But accessing the tools and finding the means to start your own business is not always easy.
Before joining UCL, Fiona was the founder and former Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for nine years at the Said Business School, Oxford University. She helps to build and fund science-based start-ups from the ground up with her wisdom and expertise.
Fiona has 15 years’ experience teaching, and her expertise focuses on complex innovation spaces, the interface between science and business, and entrepreneurial thinking within organisations. She holds the belief that entrepreneurship can be taught.
Series two, episode one: 'How to Lead By Example: Shaping Leaders of the Future'.
Released 6 November 2023
What makes a good leader? How exactly can you lead by example?
In this edition of OxTalks – sponsored by leading national law firm, Mills & Reeve – host Howard Bentham is joined by Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive of Bicester Motion, as they delve into his career journey and how his organisation is shaping leaders of the future.
Almost everyone that has ever had a job will have had a boss. Leaders must inspire, cajole, motivate, be a great speaker and an even better listener, and of course, lead by example.
So what exactly does it take to be a good leader? Find out in the first episode of a new series of OxTalks, brought to you by OxLEP.
Series one, episode six: 'The changing face of the workplace'
Released 10 July 2023
In this episode, which is the sixth and final in this first series, OxTalks looks into the topic of the ‘changing face of the workplace’.
With a tight labour market – not only in Oxfordshire but across the UK, coupled with many businesses looking into different ways of working following the pandemic – workplaces have needed to embrace transformational working like never before. This episode looks into the four-day working week in particular, an approach to business being considered by more and more organisational leaders.
If we take a long look back to the industrial revolution, the typical Victorian mill owner had workers operating six long days per week, with Sunday as a day of rest. In 1922, it was the Ford Motor Company that experimented with the five-day week, something that became permanent in 1926.
Today, post-Covid 19, our working world is changing shape with an overriding mantra of those championing this new way of working being: 'Don't think about the hours, think about productivity and outcome'. What does it mean for recruitment and retention too?
In this edition of OxTalks, host Howard Bentham is joined by Abena Fairweather – the founder and MD of Legacy – an award-winning, sustainable events agency that has been operating with a four-day week since 2018.
OxLEP’s Sadie Patamia also features in this episode, discussing the company’s recent transition to a four-day working week trial period, which was launched in April this year.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode six: 'The changing face of the workplace'
Series one, episode five: 'Backing business, right now'
Released 24 April 2023
In this episode – which is the fifth in this series – OxTalks looks into the importance of SMEs for both the Oxfordshire and UK economies.
Small and medium-sized businesses are the ‘engine room’ of the UK economy and it is of vital importance that they continue to be backed.
They account for around 99% of the business population in the UK and – although that drops to just under 90% in the city of Oxford itself, attributed by Oxford City Council to the lack of workspace available for start-ups – SMEs still play a very critical role in Oxfordshire.
Nationally, SMEs employed nearly 16.5 million people and in 2022 had a turnover of £2.1 trillion, which is just over half of the UK's total according to government figures.
In this edition of OxTalks, host Howard Bentham is joined by Emma Gibson – South Hub and Reading Office Senior Partner at KPMG Law (covering the Thames Valley) – to discuss the importance of providing support to small businesses, particularly in the current economic market, as well as the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) in business growth, plus SMEs being able to create a legacy.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode five: 'Backing business, right now'
Series one, episode four: 'Oxfordshire on the global stage'
Released 10 April 2023
In this episode – which is the fourth in this series – OxLEP welcomes Tim Bestwick, the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Strategy, Communications and Business Development for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, based at the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire is home to some of the world's best and most innovative technologies, helping to address many of the planet's most pressing issues, most recently demonstrated via the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.
An eminent leader at the forefront of Oxfordshire's world-renowned innovation ecosystem discuss why investment into sectors championing transformative technologies is critical for everyone's future – not just in Oxfordshire or the UK, but worldwide – and following on from COP26 and COP27, the role that Oxfordshire has to play in helping to create a cleaner future for everyone.
Joining Tim Bestwick in this podcast is OxLEP’s Head of Innovation and Inward Investment, Sebastian Johnson.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode four: 'Oxfordshire on the global technology stage'
Series one, episode three: 'Retaining world-class talent for Oxfordshire'
Released 27 March 2023
Some of the world's most-talented people work in the county with a host of globally-significant companies calling Oxfordshire home. Last year alone spin-outs, start-ups and social enterprises from Oxford University Innovation generated over £30 million of income.
Many of these people, and the organisations they work for, are delivering critical responses to major issues within fields like energy, medicine and emerging technologies.
But as one of the most expensive locations to live in the UK, how can we ensure that Oxfordshire retains - and importantly develops - the world's best talent for the benefit of everyone, nationwide and internationally?
In this episode, Howard Bentham is joined by Chas Bountra and Dr Rajarshi Banerjee for their thoughts on mapping out a clear and affordable path to building a successful business in Oxfordshire.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode three: 'Retaining world-class talent in Oxfordshire'
Series one, episode two: 'Destination Oxfordshire: Is tourism the key to all sectors?'
Released on 13 March 2023
With major retail locations, an award-winning World Heritage site and an area of outstanding natural beauty, Oxfordshire has a visitor economy offer like no other – but like all four corners of the globe, following the Covid-19 outbreak, its tourism industry has suffered from a lack of footfall.
Working with its local destination management organisations, OxLEP has recently-launched a new programme, aimed at promoting Oxfordshire as a ‘staycation’ of choice in the UK. But is there more we should be doing collectively?
In this podcast, we find out in the company of Dominic Hare from Blenheim Palace, why the county’s visitor economy must be supported and highlight its criticality to many other related sectors too, helping them to be both profitable and successful.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode two: 'Destination Oxfordshire: Is tourism the key to all sectors?'
Series one, episode one: 'Creating Opportunities For All Communities'
Released on 27 February 2023
Despite being home to the world's best university for a seventh year running, Oxfordshire has many communities that suffer from deprivation, major cost of living difficulties and a lack of opportunities.
The county contains 17 wards, specifically in Oxford, Banbury and Abingdon, that fall into the 20% most deprived areas in England.
For those struggling communities, what are the barriers they are facing? Are there realistic solutions? And is there the will to fix this?
Host Howard Bentham speaks to Andy Edwards, one of the key players at Makespace Oxford, who are helping to reimagine spaces, and locations for the benefit of all. We'll also learn just what OxLEP are doing to support this change through its latest batch of business support programmes.
WATCH: OxTalks – series one, episode one: 'Creating Opportunities For All Communities'
OxTalks is hosted by broadcaster, Howard Bentham:
“I am delighted to be working with OxLEP on this brand-new podcast series for the Oxfordshire community.
"It’s a tough time for businesses in the current market, so whether you’re based in Oxfordshire or beyond, we’re here to listen and answer your questions with the help of some of the county’s most respected leaders.
"You don’t want to miss it!”
Our OxTalks podcasts are produced by and recorded at the studios of the Oxford-based, Story-Ninety Four.