Date: 12 March 2014

Some £3million will go into the Young Foundation’s new project to support social entrepreneurs who are tackling inequality in education, it was announced today.

The Young Academy will run over four years, training social enterprises and supporting them to transform the way young people are prepared for life. Applications for the Young Academy’s first cohort are being accepted until Monday (17th March 2014) at

The Young Foundation programme includes a social investment fund of £1.5million that will invest directly in highly innovative social enterprises. The programme is supported by the Cabinet Office Social Incubator Fund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn, Metropolitan Housing Association and UBS. Together they aim to create a wider movement of social ventures that shares the Young Foundation’s commitment to creating an education system fit for the 21st century.

The Young Academy will support two cohorts of entrepreneurs each year, one in London and one in Derby and Nottingham. The Young Foundation is looking for entrepreneurial applicants who are committed to changing young people’s lives for the better, are keen to develop an organisation that will have a transformative effect on the education system, and are hungry to learn.

The new academy will offer a unique in-depth learning experience and unrivalled access to schools, thought leaders, government bodies, charitable foundations and investors to help entrepreneurs shape and grow their organisations.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: “Britain is blessed with fantastic social entrepreneurs. More than ever we need to back their desire to find better solutions to our social problems. That is what the Social Incubator Fund is for.”

Anna Smee, Director of Ventures at the Young Foundation, said: “Inequality is a persistent and pervasive problem that begins with the way we educate our young people. This is unacceptable. We believe that social ventures are part of the solution, which is why we’re delighted to be launching The Young Academy to support a new wave of social entrepreneurs constructing a holistic education system fit for the 21st century.”

Andrea Sullivan, Head of Corporate Responsibility, EMEA and Latin America, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: “Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a long-standing global commitment to creating better opportunities for the next generation through education initiatives. Our investment in the Young Academy to support innovative entrepreneurs is all about thinking for tomorrow by acting today. Our teams across the firm look forward to supporting the social economy both through funding and sharing expertise.”

Sandra Ferguson, Head of Community Regeneration at Metropolitan Housing, said: “As a leading provider of affordable housing, Metropolitan is passionate about delivering community regeneration in the communities where we work and empowering our residents to get into employment and improve their prospects. The Young Academy will help deliver vital education and employment opportunities for Metropolitan residents and the wider community and help drive entrepreneurship where it is needed most.”

Nick Wright, Head of Community Affairs EMEA at UBS, said: “UBS is delighted to be a part of this initiative and we are confident it will have a transformational effect in reducing the attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers. Our 25 years of support for education and entrepreneurship in Hackney makes our support for the Young Academy a natural step for us. Additionally, our staff have consistently committed their skills and time to helping entrepreneurs and this partnership allows us to develop further their and our contribution.”


Notes to editors:

For more information on the Young Academy, please visit

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