Built By Us (BBU), the social enterprise founded by Architect and FLUID founder Danna Walker to diversify the construction sector, has launched its SHAPE mentoring programme for built environment entrepreneurs, in response to demand from FLUID participants.
Designed specifically for entrepreneurs in the construction sector, SHAPE focuses on founders who are either pre start-up for within 3 years of start-up and engaged in craft, consultancy or the development of buildings, spaces and places.
Entrepreneurism is a key strategy for people of diverse backgrounds, often grown from frustration with lack of opportunity to progress or find employment, or the ability to work flexibly.
Commenting on the launch of this new mentoring programme Danna Walker said: “A sector’s success depends on the people it attracts, their talent, ambition, creativity and drive. The construction and built environment sector is facing huge challenges afforded by game-changing technologies, as well as economic, environmental and sustainability imperatives. With an ever-
increasing skills shortage, the arguments for a bigger and more diverse pool of talent are compelling. To thrive and succeed going forward industry must address the needs of diverse entrepreneurs and grow their numbers, in order to ensure skills and supply chain capacity, innovate and better serve society. This is where the SHAPE mentoring programme comes in to provide support, connection and advice to diverse founders of construction businesses.”
SHAPE will launch with sixteen pairings of mentees and mentors. Applications for mentees will close on 29 April 2018, and BBU is particularly keen for mentors from a variety of disciplines, who have the passion and commitment to support start-up founders in developing business strategies, to come forward.
David Ogunmuyiwa, Founding Partner of Architecturedoingplace and Mayor’s Design Advocate says of SHAPE: “After a quarter of a century of expanded university education in the UK, study after study attests to the massive economic capital and productive potential waiting to be unleashed within diverse and underrepresented communities, if better access is provided to opportunities. That could be quantified as a business case, as well as a moral case; £24bn a year to the UK economy or, a 1.3% increase in annual GDP. Imagine for instance, what that might mean for the tax base, NHS funding or social care provision as the population ages. Therefore, both our society and our economy are at
their best, most positive and most productive when they are fully inclusive. Entrepreneurship is by definition, risky enough for everyone. In the second decade of the 21st century, it shouldn’t be inherently riskier because of your background or ethnicity, as the studies show. The wonderful SHAPE programme recognises this and… offers a vital strategic solution to issues like stalling social mobility, and lagging economic productivity, while presenting positive good news stories for ‘multiplier-effects’ in local economies.”
Information for mentees and mentors wishing to participate in the SHAPE mentoring programme for built environment entrepreneurs is available here.