Future Leaders 2019

2019 marked the first edition of our Future Leaders program. Our Mission? To shake up the boardrooms of tomorrow by investing in underrepresented talent today.

Women, ethnic minorities and people from low-income backgrounds are still massively underrepresented at senior levels in business. The Future Leaders Incubator sought out young entrepreneurs from these communities and gave them the skills, network and support they will need for success. 

Following the footprint of The Panoply network, the Future Leaders programme was open to young people in London, Canterbury, Oslo and Sofia. In total, we received 54 brilliant applications from the following backgrounds:

 

0 %
BAME
0 %
Disability
0 %
Low Income
0 %
Female

After a rigorous application and recruitment process, five candidates were selected for the programme. These entrepreneurs were then placed at one of our group offices; Manifesto, FutureGov, Deeson, Questers or Bene Agere.

 

The programme kicked off in October with a three-day induction in London where the five participants got to know each other a little better and set their goals for the programme. The future leaders then returned to their host office where they would be based for the remainder of the programme.

Throughout the incubator the participants received; free desk space, a weekly allowance to buy time to focus on their project, weekly professional development workshops to hone their skills as entrepreneurs and 1:1 guidance from a dedicated careers coach.

“The program really makes you experiment, push out your comfort zone, and think fast. It was great.”

Natalie Angelova

“My experience has been pretty life changing, I have had a space to work, learn and be around others.”

Miranda Hatson

Tell us a little bit about your business?

I am the founder of Girl Got Curves, where I design and create plus size bikinis to empower women to love their bodies.

Can you talk a little bit about your experience on the programme?

My experience has been pretty life changing, not to be dramatic but I needed it so much. There isn’t much business support where I live and not anywhere people actually understand what a 2019 ecommerce business is like. I have had a space to work, learn and be around others. I have had support that I really needed, one thing that has been very useful is knowing I was doing the right thing or to guide me in the right direction. It’s been sooo much fun meeting the other people on the programme and everyone at Deeson has been SO kind. I have loved learning again, I haven’t really been physically taught anything since I left school so that’s been fun.

“The Future Leaders Programme is a beacon of hope in a world which still has not fully appreciated diverse talent”

Chi Nguyen

Tell us a little bit about your business?

RISE FITNESS is an online platform which connects personal trainers to clients in their area. The workouts are provided at home, at the office, a local park – essentially, anywhere the client wishes. The business aims to tap into the growing sharing economy by providing an on-demand service for individuals who are seeking to empower themselves through personal fitness.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given through the programme?

I received an array of brilliant advice during my time on the programme. However, one piece of advice which resonated with me deeply was given to me by Jim Bowes, CEO at Manifesto. His advice was simply: “don’t get lost in the details […] find your way of taking a step back to tweak something”.

Essentially, what he meant was that sometimes when you’re working on a business you can be so utterly consumed by the endeavour you forget to live life. You forget to take a step back and just breath — to appreciate the journey. This advice helped me greatly as it reminded me to give myself time out when I needed it and as a result when I returned to working on my business I was more creative and productive – thanks, Jim!

 

“The program really makes you experiment, push out your comfort zone, and think fast. It was great.”

Natalie Angelova

Tell us a little bit about your business?

My business is a domestic cleaning social enterprise, which aims at improving the communication process between Roma (Roma women particularly) and native Bulgarians, by providing high-quality service, matching a client to a housemaid (based on their needs and expectations), and also developing Roma women’s soft and work skills through different workshops.

In what ways have you grown professionally or personally through the incubator?

Professionally I gained a lot of new knowledge and skills. For instance, I was aware of what a SMART goal is, but in the program, I got to know how hard it might be to be set. Personally, I feel more mature and responsible for my business idea. Because, it’s just mine and I don’t just want to see it growing, but make it happen. My self-confidence has also increased due to the program. It gave me the opportunity of giving value to myself, my family, and my community.

 

“I've grown into a more secure and structured person. If I was having a bad week, my coach was there to support me!”

Awo Abdulqadir

Tell us a little bit about your business?

My business is a consultancy agency that helps companies create a multicultural strategy in order to be more inclusive and to expand their reach and growth. 

In what ways have you grown professionally or personally through the incubator?

I’ve grown into a more secure and structured person. If I’d feel like I’m having a bad week, I could tell my coach or Bryony and they’d assure me that it’s normal but that I need to be stronger and more focused the next week.

 

“There is lack of support out there for young entrepreneurs, it can feel lonely at times. Im glad for this program!”

Emily Banks

Tell us a little bit about your business?

Stack is a social enterprise that operates as a specialised recruitment agency. We aim to help get autistic job seekers into meaningful employment with inclusive employers.

Why do you think it is important that boardrooms of the future look different than the boardrooms of today?

I think it’s really important to see a change in the boardrooms of the future in order to propel positive change for future generations and the economy. With such a diversity of thought we are now moving away from the ‘white male CEO’ and into diversity, where there are fantastic people of all races, religions, abilities and sex. This needs to be represented within the future boardrooms to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, generate innovation and think of ways to solve pressing issues such as climate change, poverty and global health.

The Results of the program

  • 54 applications for the pilot programme from underrepresented young candidates. 
  • 82 hours donated by Panoply employees through skills-based volunteering opportunities on the programme. 
  • 100% of participants felt more motivated and confident about their businesses and their futures at the end of the programme.
  • Two of the participants secured their first clients on the programme, another launched a new product line and two of the Future Leaders went from concept to registered, fully branded business within the 8 weeks. 

 

Bryony Wilde
Bryony Wilde
Social Impact Manager