Grant round: Youth Employment

We are looking for organisations that:

  • Support young people to find work or develop work related skills
  • Primarily work with young people from ethnic minority* and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds

See detailed eligibility and selection criteria below.

Successful organisations will receive:

  • £100k in unrestricted grant funding per year, for two years (with potential to continue thereafter)
  • Expertise, coaching and capacity-building support from our Investment team
  • Access to our peer learning forums, a chance to network with and learn from other portfolio charities and their senior teams
  • Access to sector-based coalitions to influence policy and the national conversation on the issues faced by the young people you serve
  • Access to our world-class pro-bono network of specialist advisers including PwC and Bain
  • Access to further grants through co-investment with our network of donors

Application deadline: 11:59pm, Sunday 7 April

*A note on language: In the Connect Fund, we are particularly interested in working with organisations that serve young people from Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black communities, because the data shows these groups are facing the most significant barriers to employment.

However, we are not exclusively focused on these groups, so we will often refer to “young people from ethnic minority backgrounds” more generally. We recognise that language is important, and that others use terms such as “global majority”, “racialised communities”, or “communities experiencing racial inequity”, each with specific and important nuance. In the interests of using language that is familiar and widely understood by potential applicants and broader stakeholders, we have decided to use “ethnic minority backgrounds”, but we acknowledge this is not perfect.

About Impetus

Impetus [is] 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 has over 21 years’ experience finding, funding, and building the best organisations working in the youth sector. Since 2013, we have given over £92m worth of support to 38 charities, which includes £29.6m of core unrestricted funding.

But we are more than a funder. Our backing comes with focused, structured, hands-on support from our experienced investment team and network of pro bono experts across all aspects of our charity partners’ work - deepening their impact, upskilling their leadership and helping them achieve sustainable growth. Our approach is working - our charity partners become bigger and better organisations that transform the lives of the young people they serve.

About the Connect Fund

The Impetus Connect Fund was set up to partner with charities that support young people from ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds into employment.

We know that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely as their better off peers to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET). There is also clear data showing that young people from ethnic minority backgrounds are disproportionately impacted by unemployment, in particular young people from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Black communities.

We currently have six fantastic organisations within our Connect Fund, and we are looking for up to three more to join.

Find out more about the Connect Fund and this grant round from the webinar below:

What we are looking for

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet ALL of the following eligibility criteria in order to receive an application form:

  • Be a UK-registered charity or social enterprise (see FAQs for detail on exceptions)
  • Deliver all or most of your work within England and Wales
  • Young people (aged 14-25) from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds must make up >50% of the young people you serve

Definitions of socio-economic disadvantage vary. Definitions we commonly use include: 1) Young people eligible for Free School Meals or the Pupil Premium; 2) Young people from low-income households; 3) Looked After Children (LAC) and children who have been adopted or fostered from care (post-LAC). Measures such as IMD or IDACI are also relevant.

  • Young people from ethnic minority backgrounds must make up >50% of the young people you serve
  • You must have at least 5 members of staff
  • You must deliver a programme/intervention that targets employment or employment-related outcomes for the young people you work with
  • You must have achieved at least break-even in two of the past three years, OR you must hold at least two months of operating costs in your reserves

If you are unsure if your organisation meets the eligibility criteria or if you have any questions, please consider one of the following:

How will we select organisations

For eligible applicants, we will be selecting organisations that best demonstrate the following criteria:

  • A programme or intervention delivering – or with high potential for delivering – measurable, positive employment outcomes for young people. This doesn’t necessarily mean young people have to be in a job by the end of your intervention, but securing a job should be the long-term goal. Examples of interventions targeting employment outcomes may include, but are not limited to:
    • Supporting young people to develop employment-related or sector-specific skills (e.g. interview practice or skills bootcamps)
    • Connecting young people with work experience or apprenticeship opportunities
    • Providing mentoring for young people
    • For examples of this type of work, take a look at our Connect Fund charity partners Babbasa or Sister System

We ultimately want to help close the ethnic minority employment gap, and so we are looking to partner with organisations that support young people to secure jobs. You do not necessarily need to be achieving this outcome consistently, or at all currently, but you will need to make a strong case for why you will in future.

  • A committed leadership team, eager to engage with the Impetus partnership, and sufficient organisational capacity to absorb our support.

The Impetus partnership is long-term and involves significant time commitment, and so it is essential that the leadership team actively wants to engage in this kind of partnership. Organisations with fewer than 5 members of staff typically are not able to absorb our capacity-building support, and we often find organisations with 10+ members of staff are best placed to benefit.

  • We are keen to partner with organisations supporting young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and in particular those from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Black communities.

Young people from these communities are the most likely to be impacted by unemployment in the UK (see here).

  • Credibility and sensitivity in working with the particular needs of the young people you serve. This can be demonstrated in a number of ways, including but not limited to the following:
    • A leadership team and/or frontline staff that have particular insight into the young people you serve based on shared identity, shared location, or shared experience with those young people (sometimes called proximate leadership);
    • Intentional and meaningful incorporation of the views and experiences of the young people you serve into your programme design and organisational decision-making;
    • Demonstrable inclusion of expertise around race equity in programme design
    • For a good example of this, take a look at our charity partner IMO

We believe that organisations that demonstrate credibility and sensitivity in working with their specific group of young people will ultimately be more successful in helping them to achieve positive change. Therefore we are keen to understand if, and how, your organisation does this.

  • Programme delivery in areas of England and Wales outside London. We have a particular interest in organisations operating outside of London as these organisations are disproportionately underfunded. Organisations operating within London may still apply, but we will be reserving at least one place for a non-London organisation.

We recognise that there are fewer funding opportunities for organisations operating outside of London, and that the need in these regions is often acute, and so we are keen to prioritise organisations from these regions.

We know that organisations led by individuals and leadership teams from ethnic minority backgrounds have been disproportionately underfunded in our sector and so we would particularly encourage applications from these organisations.

How to apply and timelines

We have designed an initial application process that focuses only on information that is relevant to our investment decisions and minimised the demands on applicants' time - the majority of information should be easily accessible to organisational leads.

If you think you are what we are looking for (as outlined above), and you would like to be considered as a potential Impetus charity partner, please complete the following steps.

Please note, the below timeframe is indicative.

Step one

Eligibility form

Review the eligibility and selection criteria below, then complete the eligibility checker form (5-10 mins to complete)

Opens from 19 February 2024. Closes at 11:59pm, Sunday 7 April 2024.

Step two

Application form

Eligible organisations will be sent an application form (1-2 hours to complete). We will also give you access to a document containing all the application questions should you prefer to compile your answers before accessing the online form.

Closes at 11:59pm, Sunday 7 April 2024.

Step three


  • We expect to shortlist 10-15 organisations
  • All applicants will be notified of the outcome by 6th May at the latest
  • Interviews will last around 90 minutes

Interviews will take place on the 24th; 25th; 29th; 30th April, and 1st May (your CEO must be available on one of these dates)

Step four

Site visits

We will visit your office or delivery site to meet other members of your team and – if possible – observe delivery of your intervention.

  • We expect to conduct site visits to 5-6 organisations
  • Visits may last 3-4 hours
  • Organisations that are not successful at this stage will be compensated for their time.

Visits will take place between 20th – 30th May (specific dates to be shared nearer the time).

Step five

Partnership building and due diligence

Up to three organisations will be selected for a more intensive period of assessment in preparation for approval from our Investment Committee. This is an opportunity for Impetus and the selected organisations to get to know each other, and confirm the foundations for a long-term partnership

This phase will run from June to mid-September.

Additional information


We appreciate that our selection process can be time-consuming for applicants. Therefore, any organisation that makes it to our site visit stage and is unsuccessful will be compensated for their time. Similarly, organisations that go through our partnership-building and due diligence process and are unsuccessful will also be compensated for their time.


At Impetus we are actively trying to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of our funding rounds. If you require any adjustments to enable you to engage with our process, or if you would like to provide any feedback on the accessibility or inclusivity of our process, please do email us at

Your data

All information collected is used and stored in order to make informed decisions throughout the application process. We will only ever share this information externally if it is with pre-vetted individuals providing external scrutiny on our interview and selection process, who will have signed a confidentiality agreement. Our privacy policy has more information about how we use your personal data.

Find out more