Six months ago, we convened 18 of the most exciting social innovators across the UK - with proven solutions to deep-seated social issues - to take part in the Inclusive Economy Partnership's scale-up programme, BOOST. The programme was delivered by a unique partnership between the government (The Cabinet Office & DCMS), civil society (The Young Foundation) and business (EY) and has seen 94% of the innovators highlight their confidence to scale their organisations thanks to the programme. To date we have delivered the following:
- Over 200 introductions have been made to civil society, business and government partners, which have resulted in 130+ established and developing partnerships;
- Leveraged over £4.4m in funding, investment and capital support for the cohort;
- Delivered 12 tailored workshops to support the cohorts’ development; and
- Formed 44 bespoke, mentoring relationships.
Most importantly, BOOST has contributed to social innovators reaching 46% more people in need - this equates to over 75k more people!
Delivering the programme during COVID-19 brought new and unexpected challenges for the social innovators as well as the programme design. We had to pivot BOOST to become a purely digital programme, whilst also supporting the cohort with their immediate needs during the pandemic - including delivering services virtually, accessing hardware and cash flow issues.
The team overcame these challenges and delivered a high-impact programme that offered the social innovators tailored scaling support and partnership matching. Here is a taste of some of the partnerships we have set up to date:
- We connected Toolshed, who support young people who leave school with minimal qualifications through training and work experience in construction, to the Education and Skills Funding Agency. As a result of the advice provided, Toolshed has forecast they can support an additional 270 young people over the next two years.
- MyKindaFuture, who connect disadvantaged young people with employers through an app that provides digital mentoring and content to potential hires, is now working with the Department for Work and Pensions, to pilot the use of their digital platform with the JobCentrePlus, to provide jobseekers with mentors.
- The Hummingbird Project NI, who build emotional health and resilience through workshops and mentoring services, benefited from mentoring support from Nationwide, to develop their digital marketing strategy; pro bono support from National Grid, who gifted over 20 laptops; and marketing support from the creative agency WMW, who produced a free video for them.
Last week, to close off the programme and celebrate all that had been achieved, we brought together like-minded leaders to discuss the partnerships we had already set up and to explore new opportunities to form partnerships to drive systemic change.
In the spirit of collaboration, the event kicked off with an opening panel bringing together all three delivery partners - Shevaun Havilland, Deputy Director of Business Partnerships & Lead for the Inclusive Economy Partnership, Cabinet Office; Helen Goulden, CEO, The Young Foundation; and Victoria Evans, Director, London Lead for Local Public Services, EY - to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of working together
Three panel discussions then followed, which explored: how collaboration shaped the role and insights of leaders; how partnership working enabled leaders to be well placed to scale; and how partnerships unlocked new markets.
Key lessons and insights from the panel discussions:
- Cross-sector partnerships are mutually beneficial, and can positively impact the client base of both organisations.
- Leaders that are seeking to scale their organisations need to adjust from “pitching” to “listening mode” in order to understand new markets.
- Founders, who become CEOs from day one, may not necessarily have leadership or managerial experience; however partnership working can help new CEOs to develop these skills.
- Develop a Board where members provide diversity of thought and challenge as this is critical in helping businesses to scale.