We’re excited to open applications for OpenDoor: our inclusion accelerator programme. Our very first OpenDoor programme, which will start in September, will support products, services or projects that make work more inclusive and enable under-represented groups to access better economic opportunities.
Over 12 weeks, we’ll give teams inside and outside of organisations connections and tailored support designed to help them grow. Teams should have solutions that:
- make it easier for people from under-represented groups to find quality work and thrive in their roles
- make workplaces more inclusive
- support entrepreneurs with inclusion challenges to start and grow successful businesses
We’e also asking that the product, service or project is aimed at creating long-term impact and the team should have a leadership team featuring people facing the inclusion challenge they’re addressing. Alternatively, they should show how they aim to meaningfully include the target audience in their development process.
The programme is part of our work to improve the state of social inclusion in the UK. We’ve recently launched the Social Inclusion Unit together with My Life My Say and we’re bringing together an Open Community of people who are passionate about social inclusion through regular events (like our Open Innovation Day meetup on 14 June). We’ll also work directly with large organisations to help them uncover and pilot solutions to their inclusion challenges.
The launch of OpenDoor follows research by the Social Inclusion Unit which found that two-thirds of people believe that technology companies can help educate people and teach new skills, but only 30% believe tech companies have been effective in supporting social inclusion. There’s a lot of work to do, but we know the innovation community has the right solutions and ideas.
Russell Gundry, head of innovation strategy at Plexal (who’s leading on our inclusion work), said: “By supporting ventures that create better inclusion with the level of focus and drive usually given to startups and scaleups, we can make an enormous difference. We can’t wait to start working with first cohort on building more socially inclusive businesses, workspaces and policies.”
Mete Coban, chief executive at My Life My Say (a co-founder of the Social Inclusion Unit), was equally excited about what’s to come: “Everybody who wants to participate in economic life and do work that’s meaningful to them should have the chance. But whether it’s starting a business or getting a job – a quality job – there are still huge inequalities of opportunity in the UK.
“Workplaces, employers and funders are failing to include people just because they don’t have the right tools, policies or technologies in place. As the co-founder of the Social Inclusion Unit, I’m excited to support the solutions or projects that can make a difference through OpenDoor.”
Applications are now open and will close at midnight on 12 July 2019. It’s time to open the door.