Alice Evans, founder of AENOX Pathology

Photo of Alice Evans

Alice Evans, founder of AENOX Pathology, is a current PhD student working with live patient tumour samples to help improve how we test new therapies for pancreatic cancer. We want to make this kind of research available to every company developing a new cancer therapy to help fast-track clinical trials and get the best treatments to patients.

What is your background? What made you decide to get involved in supporting entrepreneurs?
I came from a scientific background but came across entrepreneurship in the first year of my PhD. Although there’s a lot to learn, I immediately loved the energy that startup founders share and the fast-paced nature of the work.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
I think that entrepreneurship means taking an idea and running with it as fast as you can – I think it takes a lot of courage but it challenges you in the best ways possible.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
Being accepted to a Cancer Research UK accelerator really helped me believe that we might have something good and the support we’ve had from local biotech companies has been amazing ever since.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
AENOX Pathology Logo

Courage, self-belief and multi-tasking. You have to convince people that you and your idea are going to succeed so you really need to believe it yourself!

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love meeting motivated people and hearing about their brilliant ideas – there are so many amazing startups in Oxford.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Trying to do everything all at once really isn’t possible, no one expects success overnight and burning out won’t help a business flourish.

How have you funded your ideas?
Primarily through academic grants and accelerators.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
The CRUK Lean Launch was brilliant for connecting us with a business advisor.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Good – so many amazing people to learn from
Bad – imposter syndrome!

Have you faced any challenges as a woman entrepreneur? If so, how have you overcome them?
It’s really difficult not to be self-deprecating and this often means your ideas aren’t listened to. Listening to other people and understanding how inspiring their confidence is really helped me learn not to downplay my own skills or ideas.

What resources would you recommend for other women?
IDEA peer mentoring – I have met wonderful people through this scheme

Do you have any advice specifically for other women who want to be entrepreneurs?
Find networks – it’s so reassuring seeing people like you succeeding.

Any last words of advice?
If you have an idea, talk to people about it! You never know what a conversation might bring.