Impetus-PEF started investing in IntoUniversity in 2007. IntoUniversity is an educational charity that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and neighbourhoods to improve their life chances. It runs programmes for children as young as seven, helping them to raise their aspirations and become more knowledgeable about the choices open to them.
Below is an account of what the experience has been like for Rachel Carr, Chief Executive of IntoUniversity.
As a CEO, what is the best thing about Impetus-PEF for you?
The best thing is the money combined with the strategic support. Impetus-PEF gives me the kind of support I need when I need it. I trust them, and I really value the fact that Impetus-PEF delivers what it promises.
What has been the hardest bit about working with Impetus-PEF?
The hardest was at the beginning getting my head around what the relationship entails, because Impetus-PEF has taught us a lot that isn’t just about funding. At the beginning, I thought I would never fit the monthly meeting into my diary, but now I would miss it if it didn’t happen.
What surprised you about this relationship with Impetus-PEF?
How valuable the support was. Before we started working together, Impetus-PEF told us it wasn’t going to be just about funding. My question was, “Is this going to be ‘not just about funding’ that is annoying or ‘not just about funding’ that is useful?” Fortunately, it was definitely the latter.
I always feel free to say to the Impetus-PEF investment executive if something isn’t working well, because the relationship feels so supportive, I am not afraid to admit it. Also, because of the relationship, if one of the experts she provides isn’t fulfilling our expectation, I tell her that as well – without feeling guilty. In actual fact, I do feel very grateful to the people I’ve met through Impetus-PEF because they deliver whatever I agree with the investment executive needs to be sorted out.
Did you feel concern about whether the Impetus-PEF intervention might conflict with your board?
Yes, we were concerned when we first heard about Impetus-PEF, but there is actually no conflict about it at all. Everybody has met the Impetus-PEF investment executive, so they don’t feel threatened in any way. Actually, she has become part of the IntoUniversity family.
If another CEO asked your advice about Impetus-PEF, what would you say?
I would say that Impetus-PEF is about providing you with a significant amount of funding and a significant amount of strategic support that will not always be comfortable, but will be a huge benefit to your charity. Impetus-PEF has made a huge difference in terms of funding and all the expert support that we have received to develop our systems. It has been a really positive experience for us so far and has been really helpful for me as a chief executive. To go from managing a local IntoUniversity programme to trying to manage a new network is a big learning curve for me personally, and it has been great to do it with Impetus-PEF support.