London entrepreneur aims to end educational inequality

A city entrepreneur who hopes her social business will help close the education gap by providing specialist tutoring services for disadvantaged and vulnerable students, has taken a step closer after successfully becoming part of the Aster Group social incubator, inc.

Kim Rihal from North London, Finchley set up her social enterprise, Equal Education, after spending time as a headteacher at two inner city schools where she witnessed educational inequality first-hand. Equal Education is a social enterprise offering a range of specialist tutoring programmes that provide extra support for disadvantaged and vulnerable students, including Looked After Children (LAC) and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); to boost their academic grades, prospects, and confidence. 

Kim said: “I’m driven by a desire to tackle educational inequality in the UK by providing high-quality education to those whose needs are not being met by mainstream education. According to the NSPCC, the population of looked after children in the UK has increased by 10% in the last five years. Educational outcomes for this group are, on average, 30% lower than their peers, they are far less likely to go University, and more likely to be unemployed.”

“Becoming part of the inc. programme is an important step in our desire to close the education gap for those who are falling by the wayside. We can’t wait to work with Aster and see the impact of our work.” 

Applicants from all over the UK applied to be part of the Aster Group inc. programme delivered by the Aster Foundation; a part of the housing association that invests in projects that aims to improve lives by providing opportunities in local communities. Its objective is to develop businesses with a social purpose such as those tackling homelessness, mental health, financial exclusion, unemployment, and the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Kim has now started the inc. 10-month business development programme designed to bring her ideas to market and connect with potential partners and investors. The programme draws on the resources and expertise of Aster Group, and its people, with mentoring and additional guidance being provided by established social entrepreneurs. It is the first scheme of its kind to be created by a housing association in the UK and is now in its second year.

Cam Kinsella, Aster Foundation director, said: “Social innovation, community and collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we created our social incubator, and we are so excited that Equal Education is part of it. By working with our team of experts we hope that Kim will be able to take Equal Education to the next level and make a real difference in our communities, supporting our Into Work programme.”

Equal Education will be running lunch and learn sessions for parents, carers and educational professionals across Aster communities to support awareness around services and resources available for children in need and how to access them.

The Aster Foundations Into Work programme works with around 50 people a year who are out of work to increase their confidence, skills, and networks. Their aim is to help at least 450 people to find meaningful, purpose led careers they sustain, by 2030.

Equal Education was recently featured in a report published by Vodafone UK and WPI Strategy: ‘No One Left Behind: The UK’s Digital Divide in 2021’; and was one of only three organisations to be shortlisted for the PwC UK's Building Public Trust Awards, Impact in Social Enterprise Award.

For further information about Equal Education visit,  www.equaleducation.co

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