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Head-to-Head: Wendy Tindsley, Innovation Director for Oxfordshire’s Innovation Centres

What is your background and what did you do before this role?

Having started out with a scientific PhD, I moved straight into the world of commerce; setting up several small, non-scientific businesses of my own, which proved to be a great training ground for the next stage in my career which was in Government funded business support. I have spent 9 years with Oxford Innovation supporting lots of ambitious businesses to achieve rapid and sustainable growth.  I had three years away from Oxford Innovation, co-founding an Accelerator Programme and most recently was involved in Business Development for a high-tech start-up, until I re-joined Oxford Innovation again to support businesses in Innovation Centres in Oxfordshire.

What attracted you to the role of Innovation Director?

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing great ideas make their way to the market and have a big impact. I love hearing about new technologies, new business models and new ways of working. Science is my thing, so working with innovative entrepreneurs really does get me out of bed in the morning.

What are you looking forward to in this role?

I’m looking forward to finding out more about all the innovative companies we have in the centres I support and to see if there is anything I can do to help them along their journey to success.  However, a bonus for me will be to try and harness the power of the community. In my mind, there is so much information and experience locked away behind lab and office doors and if we can unlock that to share with the community, imagine the strides forward that can be made.  Because I have worked in Oxfordshire for a long time I know and understand the ecosystem and one spin-off from re-joining OI has been the ability to re-connect with a lot of familiar faces.

What are your aims?

Along with helping individual companies I want to create a learning community, where companies share ideas and experiences, and gain benefit from being in a diverse and innovative environment.  I feel that my role is also to search for opportunities outside the centres so that I can share them with the right companies.

What do you do in your spare time?

I am a horse geek and I am never happier than when I have my wellies on and am doing all things horsey.  Recently I seem to be getting good at falling off and so, currently, riding is taking a bit of a back seat, but for how long?  I own 2 horses, so it may not be that long!  I also have 2 grandchildren, who seem to keep me pretty busy!

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