The Growth Impact Fund announces funding into organisations that boost inclusion in schools and universities

13th December 2023

10:00am

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The Growth Impact Fund has announced a total of £320,000 of funding into two organisations that look to boost inclusion in schools and universities.

£200,000 and £120,000 will be awarded to Inclusion Labs and Generation Success, respectively.

The funding will help the organisations in their efforts to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in schools and to give young people access to mentoring opportunities.

Inclusion Labs, established in 2021, helps schools improve their inclusion efforts through a digital platform that aids in identifying and prioritising DEI activities. Generation Success runs diverse graduate schemes and mentoring programmes to support young individuals from under-represented backgrounds in entering the workforce.

In recent years, universities have made efforts to improve DEI. However, many schools lack the necessary resources and expertise to implement sustainable changes. As a result, some students, particularly those from racialised and transgender communities, may not receive the support they need.

Temi Akindele Barker, the mother of two mixed race children, found their school had no approaches in place to deal with the racism her daughter was facing. Temi, through Inclusion Labs, built the solution she was looking for.

“My belief is that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is at the very centre of the story that communities tell themselves (and others) about who they are. At the core of Inclusion Labs’ mission to empower inclusive communities for all is a commitment to ‘truth simply told’ — embracing both the unfiltered truth of each individual’s experience and the simple reality that, at any given moment, there might be a single person requiring this effort — whether for support, correction, or education.”

As part of the process with Inclusion Labs, schools have a DEI audit to assess their stakeholders' experience of inclusion and detect the most pressing issues. The process then determines the actions the school should take and how to prioritise them. After completing the audit, schools are expected to put in place its recommendations and have a follow-up audit to track their progress.

Sarah Faber, Investment Director for the Fund, at Big Issue Invest, said: “These investments are the first we have made following our second close, which saw Macquarie and Barking and Dagenham Giving join the Fund. Our mission has always been to support organisations to create a more equitable Britain. Generation Success and Inclusion Labs are both fantastic examples of this in action. The founders have first-hand experience of the issues that they’re tackling and the expertise to help build a more equitable society for people across the country.”

Generation Success' founder James Adeleke said:

“I started Generation Success after the London Riots, as a youth led society, based on inspiration from a conversation with a homeless man and a dream that I had to change the world. I believe in a world where your career is not determined by your birth and through the investment from the Growth Impact Fund, I can make that happen."

James immigrated to the UK at the age of five, and despite discovering his dyslexia and dyspraxia in his 20s, was one of the only young people from his estate in his age group to go to university. Having faced and tackled multiple barriers in his own life, James is committed to supporting young people to access the opportunities that they deserve. Through their work, Generation Success reaches 800 individuals each year and of the people who took part in the programme last year 93% found it improved their confidence and 35% found work before the programme period ended.

The organisation was recognised through this year’s Natwest SE100, and James won this year’s Most Influential Social Enterprise CEO.

Joshua Kong, a student who is part of the Success Seeker programme said:

“I’d been applying for internships since the start of September 2022 and had no luck. The application process with Generation Success was the most responsive, smooth and supportive process I’ve ever had. I appreciated the feedback, quick responses and preparation support for each interview. Generation Success gave me a lot of clarity and confidence for each step of the process. It was life-changing.”

Social enterprises interested in the Growth Impact Fund can visit growthimpactfund.org.uk

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