Announcing grants to four new charity partners supporting young people from ethnic minority backgrounds into employment

Generation UK Jan 2023 5

Impetus today announces £600k in grants to Babbasa, Generation UK, IMO Charity and Sister System.

In backing these charities, Impetus will be supporting four new impact-led organisations who support young people from both ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds into work. Together, these charities are on course to support over 5,500 young people this year.

These new investments join Career Ready and MAMA Youth Project in our Connect Fund, which aims to help decrease the employment gap faced by young people from ethnic minority, disadvantaged backgrounds and promote systemic change towards a more racially equitable society.

Alongside financial grants, all of our charity partners receive co-investment opportunities, access to our world-class pro bono network and the dedicated support of our Investment team, who will help their leadership to deliver meaningful, benchmark beating, sustained outcomes for young people.

We’re excited to start working with these organisations. All four bring real understanding, commitment and empathy working with this demographic - we will work shoulder-to-shoulder with them, helping them become stronger organisations that can transform the lives of more young people.

- Sebastien Ergas, Portfolio Director, Impetus

Why these four organisations?

We received more than 160 applications to become an Impetus charity partner through our open grant round for organisations who help young people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK get into employment.

We ran a rigorous process to select these four organisations. We reviewed each application thoroughly and paired responses with desk-based research to reach a shortlist of 20 organisations. We then had calls with the CEOs of each shortlisted organisation to review their leadership, programme, impact and growth potential. Finally, after identifying our top four, we spent eight weeks carrying out further due diligence while building partnership potential with each charity.

Through this process, we got to know these four organisations well – here’s what we learned about Babbasa, Generation UK, IMO Charity and Sister System…

Babbasa is an award-winning organisation, based in a high need area, delivering a promising, evidence-backed programme.

Babbasa operates in Bristol which is ranked the 7th worst out of 348 districts in England and Wales for inequalities experienced by ethnic minorities and has an ethnic minority employment gap that is over twice the national level.

Babbasa’s mission is to inspire and support young people from low income and ethnic minority communities in Bristol to pursue their professional ambitions. They deliver youth empowerment programmes which support young people to improve their confidence, get a job and become a ‘Youth Ambassador’ in their community.

Their CEO, Poku Osei, founded Babbasa in 2010, leaving a paid job to set up Babbasa with no start-up investment. Babbasa is now a Queen’s Award Winning enterprise, which has supported over 2,200 young people to date. In addition to his role at Babbasa, Poku occupies several high-profile local positions including membership of the West of England Regional Recovery Task Force and board membership of Bristol City Council’s City Funds. Babbasa's OurCity2030 campaign, in partnership with Bristol City Council's One City Office, aims to support young people from low income households, starting from inner city Bristol, to secure a median salary role by 2030.

Generation UK is a charity that is already supporting over 1,000 people per year, has high growth potential, and is motivated by mission and impact.

They first launched programmes in the UK in 2019 to address two needs in the UK labour market at once: persistent youth unemployment and unmet employer demand in key growth sectors like tech. In 2022, 67% of the young people on Generation UK programmes were from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Generation UK delivers skills bootcamps in a range of professions – including data engineering and analysis, cloud engineering, IT support and an innovative green sector retrofit advisor programme. They’re currently delivering programmes across London, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Scotland. Their programme combines the technical skills demanded by employers, the wraparound support that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds need, and exceptional employer links to get young people into employment. Following the conclusion of each bootcamp, learners are supported into paid work by the Generation UK team.

A strong leadership team and experienced board – with support from McKinsey and Generation Global – have steered Generation UK from foundation to an established organisation employing 75 full-time members of staff in just four years. Their CEO, Michael Houlihan, has strong experience of growing organisations, including Chief Operation Officer roles at two award-winning technology start-ups. The organisation is chaired by Dame Vivian Hunt, senior partner at McKinsey, Chair at Teach First and a thought leader on diversity.

Inspire Motivate Overcome (IMO) Charity is a well-connected, respected and ambitious organisation grounded in the community.

IMO Charity operates in Blackburn with Darwen, which is the 9th most deprived local authority in England (out of 317) - the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in the area are disproportionately disadvantaged, with a 19% unemployment rate compared to 4% for all ethnicities.

IMO was founded by volunteers in 2006 to serve this need, and has since grown from grassroots to an established organisation recognised as the go-to provider of youth programmes for the South Asian community in Blackburn. Since their founding they have worked with the local council, job centres and the Police and Crime Commissioner, while their Board members have local council and NHS experience.

Their new CEO, Mohammed Tayyab Sidat MBE, was previously IMO’s Operations Director, driving significant income growth during his four years in the role. He was a founding volunteer of the organisation and is well-respected in the community, connected with mosques, which play a critical role in the lives of young people, and agencies, including the Council and NHS. In 2020 Mohammed received an MBE for charitable services to the community.

IMO currently delivers a wide range of programmes with young people, predominantly in schools and mosques. We will support IMO to use their existing expertise, reach and networks to develop and deliver a new employment-focused programme.

Sister System is an expert-led, high-potential organisation delivering a unique programme targeted at the young people most in need.

Black and minority ethnic young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as their white peers. Experience of care compounds this disadvantage, with care leavers three times more likely to be NEET. Sister System provides specialist early-intervention support to care-affected young women in North London aged 13-24, predominantly from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. They help them sustain positive relationships and mental wellbeing, and continue to engage in education, employment, or training. Sister System’s approach is centred around peer and therapeutic mentoring and co-created alongside those with experience of the care system.

Sister System was founded in Haringey in 2017 by their Director, Okela Douglas. Okela has spent over two decades supporting children and families in London, across the UK and in the Caribbean. Her rounded experience in the sector ranges from programme design and safeguarding to training and business development. Recently inducted Chair Rachael Saunders is Deputy Director of the Institute of Business Ethics and was an elected Councillor for ten years.

Babbasa has been on a mission to develop an evidence-based practice; that truly transforms the lives of minoritised young people - one that recognises that talent is evenly distributed but opportunities are not. This is why we are incredibly excited to partner with Impetus, an impact driven partner that equally aligns with our mission, believes in using enterprise principles for societal good and is prepared to work alongside our team to scale our efforts across the globe.

– Poku Osei, CEO, Babbasa

Impetus and Generation are clearly very mission aligned, and so for us this was always a partnership that we hoped to launch and grow. Both organisations share a commitment to understand impact at a deep level, using data and learner feedback to improve, innovate, and scale. We look forward to working closely together on all of those fronts and hope to change many more lives in doing so.

– Michael Houlihan, CEO, Generation UK

Our partnership with Impetus will enable us to provide support for young residents of Blackburn to find work or training, which is essential to ensure that future generations are given opportunities to learn and earn, and build successful lives.

– Mohammed Tayyab Sidat MBE, CEO, IMO Charity

This empowering partnership will enable Sister System to further our expertise and enhance our ability to demonstrate our unique model enables some of the most marginalised girls in society. Together with Impetus we will increase our reach ensuring our transformational programmes reach and empower, enable, and enhance care affected girls and young women to fulfil their life potential.

– Okela Douglas, Director and Founder, Sister System

Why youth employment and race equity?

Our research shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely as their better-off peers to be out of education, employment or training (NEET).

There is also clear data showing that ethnic minority young people are disproportionately impacted by unemployment.

We believe that, with the right support, these young people can succeed in school, work, and life.

What next?

In addition to funding, we will also work shoulder-to-shoulder with these charities’ brilliant leaders to help them grow their charities so they can transform the lives of more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Find out more

Grant round: Youth employment and race equity

We are no longer accepting applications for this grant round.
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Connect Fund

We’re working to close the employment gap faced by young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
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