SOMEWHERE EDI is delighted to be co-creator in three new Masters scholarships supporting the LGBT+ community, launched by the Princess Royal in Edinburgh
FEBRUARY 2019 - As part of the University of Edinburgh Business School centenary celebrations, to mark 50 years since the founding of the global LGBT+ rights movement, and to commemorate LGBT History Month, we are pleased to announce that our social enterprise start-up Somewhere EDI has joined with the University of Edinburgh Business School to co-create three pioneering LGBT+ Masters scholarships, including a flagship "Somewhere EDI" MBA LGBT+ Scholarship.
Launched by The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, earlier this month, this is the first home-grown initiative of its kind, supporting all UK, EU and international students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBT+) or as LGBT+ community allies. Both the Somewhere EDI MBA LGBT+ Scholarship (£10k bursary against fees) and two further Positive Action for LGBT+ MSc Scholarships (2 x £10K bursaries against fees) applicable to a wide range of MSc courses are open to students starting in September/October 2019, with an application deadline of 10 May.
The MBA and MSc initiatives are also a first for Scotland (and second only in the UK to the MBA at Cambridge University). In the case of the MBA, the successful candidate will also benefit from mentorship and business development opportunities with Somewhere EDI, our new Edinburgh-based social enterprise championing LGBT+ visibility, diversity and inclusion in business and cultural spaces. The genesis for the scholarships came from Somewhere’s Founder Kathryn Pierce who addressed a major gap in LGBT+ entrepreneurship research with a new study as part of her Master of Enterprise research degree from the Institute of Cultural Practices and Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester (recently named the most LGBT-inclusive university in England in the Stonewall 2019 Workplace Index).
The study (the basis for a new book to be published by Emerald Publishing next year) consulted with a diverse group of LGBT+ entrepreneurs, revealing first-hand the challenges and experiences of reconciling a mainstream business world with an authentic LGBT+ identity, and the particular isolation and risks involved with being an LGBT+ business owner, rather than employee. It also revealed a lack of LGBT+ entrepreneurial role models, and a lack of community-specific enterprise support for LGBT+ people wanting to start their own businesses, and a stark difference in the career-based experiences for entrepreneurs with career histories in the public sector versus the private sector.
Now resident in Edinburgh, and with the help of Business Gateway and Interface's connections, Kathryn and the Somewhere EDI team were connected with the University of Edinburgh Business School equipped with the research findings. This struck a chord with the Business School's diversity and inclusion priorities and resulted in this fantastic suite of initiatives, and a grassroots LGBT+ community collaboration, providing both academic opportunities for the successful applicants, and a direct connection to authentic LGBT+ business and the wider LGBT+ community.
Somewhere EDI's founder, Kathryn Pierce said “It is time for bolder steps towards championing LGBT+ people in every walk of life, and the world of enterprise and entrepreneurship in particular. Running your own business is a risky undertaking at the best of times, but LGBT+ people experience greater personal risks than others, simply for being who they are. As well as supporting the economic case for entrepreneurship, this new initiative showcases the right to authenticity, challenging continuing social barriers to inclusion in business spaces."
"Somewhere is an action-focused collaborative organisation, designed to work with progressive partners to enable meaningful social change, and we are delighted to partner with the University of Edinburgh Business School in making this much-needed opportunity a reality."
“The MBA and MSc LGBT+ Scholarships are intended to champion authentic lives in business, and it is hoped the successful applicants will benefit personally and professionally, raising the visibility and impact of authentic LGBT+ contribution to enterprise. The MBA candidate may be inspired into venture creation, or to open their existing organisation up to the idea of intrapreneurship, or even to be a more open role model for inclusion; whichever way they will have both academic and authentic LGBT+ community support in that endeavour."
"The Positive Action for LGBT+ Scholarships apply to a wide range of the Business School's MSc courses, offering a real draw for Edinburgh, extending pioneering opportunities to undergraduates wanting to make their mark as LGBT+ people in enterprise and entrepreneurship.”
"It is vital that LGBT+ business people can live openly and have the chance to reach their full potential, and the Business School plays a pivotal role in supporting LGBT+ people to thrive authentically outside the "corporate closet". The collaborative and progressive spirit of these new scholarships aligns with Scotland's growing reputation for equality and inclusion, combining to make this initiative the right idea, in the right place, at the right time.”
FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH BUSINESS SCHOOL:
Dr Peter Flett, Director of MBA Programmes, said "The Business School holds Athena Swan Silver accreditation, indicating our strong and ongoing commitment to mainstreaming diversity. By bringing her research to us through Interface, Kathryn has enabled us to co-create this pioneering active inclusion initiative. Our scholarship offer and this unique partnership with Somewhere combines to create impactful inclusive business opportunities for the LGBT+ community supporting authentic lives at work, while building on the University of Edinburgh Business School and Scotland’s reputation for welcoming and nurturing diversity.”
FROM INTERFACE: (https://interface-online.org.uk)
Louise Arnold, Business Engagement Executive at Interface, said “It was clear from my initial discussion with Kathryn, that Somewhere EDI had identified a unique opportunity to support LGBT+ people in enterprise and entrepreneurship. Her ambition, to create something new, that hadn’t been done before in Scotland, demonstrated the innovation behind her vision, which was also supported by her academic research. How that was to be delivered, is where the introductions to Tom Parnell, MBA Employer Relations Manager at the Business School, came in. He worked through possible ways of delivery and saw the potential for making a difference to the LGBT+ community and ultimately the wider business world. This is a great example of external organisations bringing knowledge and experience to share in a true collaboration with a university.”
Applications for the Somewhere EDI MBA LGBT+ Scholarship and the Positive Action for LGBT+ MSc Scholarships are now open until 10 May 2019.
Anyone wishing to apply or find out more information, please visit the University of Edinburgh Business School Somewhere EDI Scholarship page, and the Positive Action for LGBT+Scholarships page
by Kathryn Pierce
FEBRUARY 2019 - LGBT History Month is an especially important time as it brings together the stories of the LGBT+ community diaspora to curate, commemorate and to celebrate the ongoing and historical contribution of LGBT+ people to society and the world. And as we have seen already this month, there is a raft of creative and heritage focused events taking place all over the UK covering stories of activism, love, struggle, victory and community.
I thought it time to add a dimension to the yearly festival which often goes unacknowledged, the role of LGBT+ people in business and enterprise. I entered the arena as an out LGBT+ person having left my full-time job as the Associate Director of a voice talent agency, to re-enter education and study for an Enterprise Masters at Manchester Business School and the Institute for Cultural Practices. With an arts and media background, and a parallel working life as in learning support for university students with learning disabilities and mental health issues, I was keen to connect up these two separate parts of my working life into a focus for the future, enabling me to overcome my own personal barriers and make a difference. The idea of a new connective platform called "Somewhere" was born.
The biggest influence I have had in that endeavour is through the amount of time devoted to the Somewhere idea by other people, and in particular those who have mentored me. A special mention goes to Liz Cross, a phenomenal human being who continues to create good in the world through her fantastic Connectives organisation, and who represented the LGBT+ business role model and mentor I, myself, desperately needed.
Bootstrap social enterprises are founded on vision, passion and determination, with a need to prove social impact to attract funding. Because of this they need the brute willpower of a bloody-minded entrepreneur and a community of support to get them off the ground. As a Fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs in 2015/6, I remember vividly how important it was to have that eco-system of practical and emotional support around me, and lessons learned here kept me going when things got really tough. When I finally decided to move to Edinburgh in 2017, I kept seeing Leith's "Persevere" motto everywhere (see photo above), and took it as a sign.
This concept of "passing the baton" and "paying it forward" has also played a huge part in the creation of Scotland's first MBA LGBT+ Scholarship and Mentoring programme, which was borne out of taking my Master's LGBT+ entrepreneurship research to the University of Edinburgh Business School, via the Interface organisation. With my own experience as an E-Mentor for The Prince's Trust and many years mentoring and supporting young people in higher education, I was fortunate enough to meet Tom Parnell, MBA Employer Relations Manager, and latterly, Dr Peter Flett, Director of MBA Programmes at the Business School, and the Scholarships initiative was born, with the "Somewhere EDI MBA LGBT+ Scholarship" as the flagship.
Through this new partnership, I will be able to offer a mentorship to the successful applicant, who, through the work of Somewhere EDI, will have an authentic link into LGBT+ enterprise, along with connections into the LGBT+ community in Edinburgh and beyond. The two "Positive Action for LGBT+ MSc Scholarships" also apply to a wide range of courses in the Business School, and these combine with the MBA to create a dynamic and overarching inclusion initiative, highlighting the power of academic research, and the role of the Business School as an agent of change.
These new scholarships will make a real difference to LGBT+ people in business or looking to enter the world of business, proving that community and university collaborations are a force for good in progressing visibility of minority groups. Let's hope it spawns a whole new generation of LGBT+ and community allies who themselves look to the future and to the moment they too will have the opportunity to pay it forward and become mentors themselves. That is a powerful legacy worth celebrating this LGBT History Month.
Applications for the MBA LGBT+ Scholarship and Mentoring Programme, and the Positive Action for LGBT+ MSc Scholarships are now open until 10 May 2019. Anyone wishing to apply or find out more information, please visit:
Photo: Kathryn Pierce
Somewhere EDI is interested in connecting up with LGBT+ mentors and businesses to offer a platform of support and inspiration
AUGUST 2018 - Founder Kathryn Pierce has been awarded a Merit in her Master of Enterprise (MEnt) postgraduate degree in Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Manchester.
Kathryn's research masters dissertation focused on primary research into career-based experiences of a diverse group of 15 LGBT+ entrepreneurs, and an exploration into their motivations for entrepreneurship.
The research is currently being prepared for submission to academic journals for publication.
The other 50% of the dissertation comprised of the Enterprise Project, which was to create, design and produce a business plan for an enterprise. Somewhere is the implementation of this plan and a realisation of three years' academic and community development work.
We're really excited that Somewhere is research-led and we look forward to inspiring and innovative collaboration with academic partners and like-minded organisations, to make work a more inclusive and transformational place for LGBT+ people, and all marginalised people.
****UPDATE FEBRUARY 2019**** This research forms the basis for a new book about LGBT+ entrepreneurship to be published by Emerald Publishing next year.
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