University of Edinburgh backed fund announces first investee

In April 2023, Neuropool, a neuro-divergent talent platform, received a £300,000 investment from the Growth Impact Fund, a social impact investment fund supported by the University of Edinburgh and developed by Big Issue Invest and UnLtd.

The tech-for-good company is the first recipient of investment from the Fund, which the University committed to support through its £1 million investment with Big Issue Invest; the largest financial investment in social enterprise ever made by a UK university.

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh said:

We are delighted to see this investment in Neuropool, an organisation that supports neurodivergent people to achieve fulfilling careers. Improving development opportunities for neurodivergent individuals and supporting employers to recognise diverse talent will help to unlock benefits and opportunities for people and organisations across the UK.

Neuropool aims to address the underrepresentation in the workplace of people from neurodivergent backgrounds and has set a target to get more than 10,000 neurodivergent people into employment by 2030.

Established by Jack Dyrhauge, an autistic and ADHD entrepreneur, the company builds neurodivergent talent pools for leading brands like Universal Music Group and the Financial Times.

Jack Dyrhauge, Founder and CEO of Neuropool said:

There over half a million adults with autism in the UK who are unemployed and if you extrapolate that to people with a much broader range of neurodivergent challenges you realise both the scale of the problem but also the massive pool of untapped potential that UK businesses could be accessing. Only 4% of FTSE100 firms have neurodivergent hiring initiatives* and Neuropool aims to change that. We are proud of the progress that has been made so far and with the funding from the Growth Impact Fund and its underlying investors, we can really accelerate everything.

*Less than 40 per cent of FTSE 100 firms have disability initiatives

Sarah Faber, Investment Director for the Fund at Big Issue Invest, said:

Everyone agrees that something is needed to rectify inequalities in social investment, and by doing things differently we hope that we can scale up some amazing entrepreneurs. We are very excited by what Neuropool has achieved so far and we think with the Growth Impact Fund’s support it can scale much more quickly.

Mathu Jeyaloganathan, Head of Investment at UnLtd, said:

We’re very pleased to be announcing the fund’s first investment so soon after welcoming new investors on board. With their support we will be aiming to put some money behind some diverse-led social enterprises tackling inequality in the UK.

The University’s vision is to be recognised as the leading UK university for social enterprise and investments by the academic year 2023-24 and to date, it has allocated £8m to invest in socially positive activities.

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