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Built By Us SHAPE Mentoring Programme

Posted: 1st June 2021

Built By Us is pleased to announce the successful launch and ongoing activities of the 2021 SHAPE Mentoring Programme.

The SHAPE 2021 Mentoring Programme is up and running with 12 new mentees. Started in 2018 as one of the fundamental BBU programmes, the initiative was created to support budding and new founders in construction and the built environment sector. SHAPE collaborates with early stage entrepreneurs who are in the process of starting up or within 2 years of going live.

Mentees of different ages and at varying stages of their careers are paired with a mentor and resources to develop the tools and the spark to realise their vision. Built By Us strives to increase diversity in the leadership of the built environment sector, particularly seeking to nurture traditionally under-looked and under-served talent.

Jules Pipe CBE, London's Deputy Mayor of Planning, Regeneration & Skills, recently expressed his support for the SHAPE programme, saying, “All those working in the construction and built environment sector have a huge impact on the delivery of that endeavour, on the lives and wellbeing of those that live in and use the places they create. It’s therefore vital that the sector itself should reflect the communities they seek to serve... Helping to achieve that and level the playing field, I welcome the Built By Us Shape programme which is designed to support and mentor fledgling businesses that reflect that wider diversity on to the next phase of their growth.”

This year's activities, in addition to one-on-one mentoring, include monthly workshops exclusively for SHAPE participants featuring topics from Working on your Business Model, to Presentation and Pitching.

This year’s mentees include a wide array of exciting and innovative projects including a Design & build company specialising in low energy building using modern methods of construction, a Digital/online construction hiring portal dedicated to Black tradespeople in the UK and a Feminist building company that successfully puts social justice values at the heart of its business.

Em Appleton, one of the SHAPE 2021 mentees, started a building firm specialising in renovations and extensions using ecologically sensitive materials. Each project and building site is an experiment to determine how to create an inclusive, supportive and nurturing space for everyone involved. Em’s mission asks the question, “How can our building sites be a catalyst for change towards social justice?”

On the SHAPE experience, Em explains, “When I saw Built By Us online I felt a mixture of relief and excitement. It was so wonderful to find an organisation within the built environment that is bringing social justice issues to the heart of what they do. To be part of a programme that has a truly intersectional lens and is providing focussed programmes which will create a built environment which is truly diverse and inclusive is so exciting. So that’s why I applied. The SHAPE programme offered a very practical way to learn from others in an inclusive environment which was working for change in the industry. Amazing!”

About the programme and this year’s inspiring group of mentees, BBU Founder and CEO Danna Walker states, “Built By Us is delighted to support talented and diverse entrepreneurs on their journeys to develop great businesses. Currently construction and the built environment has a lack of diverse leadership with only 4.2% of SME construction businesses led by people from BAME backgrounds and 4.9% in Construction Services are led by women. Shape seeks to strengthen and amplify the contribution of diverse business founders to our shared built environment.”

Built By Us envisions a world built by all, for all. Built By Us is an award-winning built environment team committed to growing diversity and inclusion in the built environment sectors and collaborations to discover new solutions. We do this work by sharing our knowledge and expertise in mentoring, sponsorship, business and deep, active listening - and we ask others to match our generosity of spirit.

The Shape Programme 2021 is supported by the Inclusive Recovery Fund (IRF).