30th October 2023, London, UK: OakNorth, the neobank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, and Founders4Schools, the award-winning ed-tech charity for teachers, today announce a new partnership to support 100,000 secondary school students (11-16 year-olds) – including 40,000 from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds – over the next three years.
The programme will provide secondary school students with mentorship and inspiration from university students who have chosen subjects that require maths. In return for their volunteering to mentor, the university students will have the opportunity to secure work experience and internships with OakNorth and other leading businesses from across the Founders4Schools’ network in critical sectors such as green/climate science, fintech, life sciences, data science/AI, therapeutic care services, hospitality/tourism, and creative/performing arts.
There’s a direct link between equipping our younger generation with skills in emerging key sectors and economic growth, as pointed out in a recent report, Full Scale, from the Social Market Foundation, commissioned by OakNorth.
The new partnership will be one of the flagship programmes of OakNorth’s 1+1% philanthropic commitment, where OakNorth donates 1% of its annual group profits and 1% of its workforce’s time (two working days per year) to supporting charitable causes and socially minded enterprises around the world. Founders4Schools will utilize its online platforms and networks to connect disadvantaged school students with university mentors, who in turn will gain work placement opportunities with some of the UK’s most successful growth companies.
Sherry Coutu CBE, Co-founder & Chair of Founders4Schools and Author of the Scaleup Report on UK Economic Growth, commented: “I’m incredibly excited to launch this flagship programme with OakNorth based on a singular vision: to ensure that every young individual, regardless of background, is inspired by first hand career insights in entrepreneurship and STEM. Our collaboration builds on the F4S Maths initiatives and OakNorth’s Mentoring initiatives, both proven to elevate student confidence and problem-solving. We’re not merely prepping young people for jobs – we’re crafting enhanced career pathways that benefit both their future and the UK’s economic growth.”
Rishi Khosla, co-founder and CEO of OakNorth, continued: “From a young age, I was always interested in maths and computer science, and fortunately benefitted from parents, teachers, and family friends who helped encourage me in these subjects. I studied Economics for my undergraduate degree at university and Finance and Accounting for my masters, and mentorship played a huge role in helping me choose these subjects and ultimately where to study them. We want to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators by providing them with the mentorship and career opportunities needed to help them break down barriers and shape a brighter future for themselves and their communities.”
Notes to editors
Launched in September 2015 and founded by entrepreneurs, OakNorth is a neobank focused on serving and empowering established businesses that are seeking to scale but are routinely underserved or overlooked by traditional banks: what we call the ‘Missing Middle’.
To date, the bank has provided over £10 billion to these businesses across a wide range of sectors, achieving performance metrics that place it amongst the top 1% of commercial banks globally. Its loans have directly contributed to the creation of 40,000 new jobs, and 29,000 new homes across the UK – the majority of which are affordable and social housing.
It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Visit www.oaknorth.co.uk for more information.
Launched in 2015 and founded by serial entrepreneurs, Founders4Schools is an award-winning edtech charity focused on serving and empowering teachers who are seeking to inspire their students from disadvantaged backgrounds so they learn about the world of work and make better decisions about their future careers.
This is achieved by harnessing the power of AI and the private sector to support teachers, students, small businesses, and charities. Through our skilled volunteering programs, we enable partners’ employees to mentor and support others in a manageable and flexible manner. Volunteers from companies of all sizes across the world participate, engaging with beneficiaries through one-on-one or small group interactions, sharing their knowledge, expertise, and passion. They make a positive impact in their communities, gain valuable skills, and find inspiration from the vibrant curiosity of students. Real- time tracking of their impact and feedback from mentees further enhance their experience.
To date, Founders4Schools has provided over 2 million encounters between role models drawn from a wide range of roles in the tech sector achieving jumps in student confidence and attainment for 2,000 teachers and 600,000 students.
Founders4Schools is a charity regulated by the UK Charities Commission.
Visit https://www.founders4schools.org.uk/our-impact/ for more information.