UBS has hosted the first Young Academy alumni event and awarded not one, but two prizes to former Young Foundation education ventures. Essential Safeguarding and Humanutopia were the deserving winners of packages of mentoring from UBS, to help support their plans for growth and sustainability.

The event connected alumni ventures with volunteers from across UBS, who shared their expertise in a series of workshops covering topics including pitching, marketing, branding, social media, people management, recruitment, project management and governance. Five ventures then pitched for the support prizes, judged by a panel of senior managers from across UBS. The judges were so impressed with the quality of the pitches and ideas that they decided to double the number of prizes awarded. Sarah Craner, Corporate Responsibility & Community Affairs Director at UBS, said, “It was an inspiring day during which we heard from an impressive cohort of ventures tackling the education attainment gap. I will watch their progress with interest.”

Essential Safeguarding is a Manchester-based social venture working through a unique combination of drama, education and direct intervention to protect and safeguard children from abuse, in a rapidly changing and digitalised world, by delivering a bespoke package of training and early intervention services. During their time on the Young Academy programme the group had the opportunity to test the market and develop a sustainable pricing model for schools. Today, they are delivering programmes in various schools across the North West and are looking to expand nationally. Essential Safeguarding pitched for marketing support to help them to better communicate their offer and maximise their outreach.

Humanutopia empower young people in schools through workshops and training, in areas including raising hope and confidence, improving their relationships with their peers and people surrounding them, as well as social and personal skills for future employability. The team have worked in over 200 schools across England. A distinctive part of the Humanutopia journey is that the young people completing the training become ambassadors or “heroes” of Humanutopia. A case in point is Ryan Macnair, who joined the Humanutopia sales team after building his confidence through a Humanutopia programme and now shares his experiences and skills with younger students. Ryan pitched for support from UBS to review and develop the organisation’s strategy and operations and prepare for the next stages of growth.

The event was an exciting opportunity for alumni ventures and UBS employees to meet and share ideas, and for entrepreneurs from across previous Young Academy cohorts to exchange best practice in education innovation. If you would like to keep in touch with the Young Academy and our ventures, please join us on Twitter @YF_Academy.