Babbasa is a Bristol-based social enterprise, which supports young people from underrepresented backgrounds with their professional ambitions - whether that’s progressing in education, starting their dream career, or starting their own business.
The organisation was founded in 2013 by four young graduates who observed rising levels of youth unemployment, educational underachievement and the rapid decline in youth aspirations in Bristol’s ethnically diverse inner-city communities due to a lack of equal opportunity.
Babbasa offers a combination of soft skills training, mentoring schemes, career-oriented events and personalised recruitment support, and has supported over 2,200 young people to date.
Why did your business decide to apply for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise?
We were encouraged to apply for a Queen’s Award as a means of bringing national awareness to our organisation’s mission - which is to level the playing field for low income and minority young people to pursue their professional ambitions.
Across the UK, the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the economic and social inequalities that people from ethnic minority backgrounds face on a daily basis.
Through our research, and through our work with local companies, we see time and time again that producing an inclusive working environment and recruiting employees from a diversity of backgrounds improves business outcomes.
It would therefore be shortsighted for business to de-prioritise the recruitment of young people based on their inexperience in the world of work. They are the generation of digital natives and subsequently represent the architects who set the building plans for the fourth industrial revolution, even as the firefighters work to save the old one.
We believe that every talent needs to be unlocked if the UK is to remain globally relevant and competitive after Brexit, so we took the opportunity to apply and showcase our role in that campaign.
What has winning the award meant for your business and staff?
To have received the highest recognition possible for a British business, only 7 years after being founded, is something that we could have only dreamed possible.
Winning the award has given a massive boost to our team during this challenging time, but has also brought about a tremendous outpouring of support from our community.
We are very fortunate to have been supported along the way by so many people, and this award is a real testament to the commitment of our young people, mentors, volunteers, and employers, as well as the dedication of our team.
How will winning the Award benefit your business?
A Queen’s Award brings a level of credibility and awareness that will empower staff as well as put you in a good stead with other stakeholders. At Babbasa, we recognise this privilege and have used it to set out:
- An urgent appeal to support those affected by the pandemic, in the short term.
- An ambitious plan to support at least one person from each inner city household in Bristol to secure a median salary job, in the long term i.e by 2030.
We believe that this plan will not only lift individuals out of poverty but also, enable them to support their families, serve as role models in their community and contribute to the growth of the Bristol economy in the long term.
We believe the ripple effect of this vision for equality, particularly in the aftermath of this pandemic, would be profound, and therefore invite policy makers, employers, investors, community partners, and philanthropists, locally and nationally, to get behind our impetus.
Do you have any advice for future Queen’s Award applicants?
If you allow your values to dictate your behaviour as a business, you can provide amazing results for your business and your community.
When it comes time to apply, just remember that while the Queen’s Awards team is fantastic, they can only see the achievements that you put down on paper.
Keep note of everything, and make sure you get a member of your team to look at your application with a critical eye.
Find out more about Babbasa here.