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Disruption Future Leaders Programme

Improving representation in business by supporting the leaders of tomorrow

What is the Future Leaders Programme?

Delivered in partnership with The Panoply and h Foundation, Future Leaders is a 3-month incubator connecting emerging leaders from underrepresented backgrounds to the Digital Industry.

The world has been shaken and with that, old rules have been broken. Recent events have created fertile new ground for innovation. We need bold, brave new leaders.

The world has a huge problem when it comes to equal representation. Nowhere is this more evident than in business, where women, ethnic minorities, those with disabilities and people from deprived socio-economic backgrounds struggle to fulfil their potential in the workforce, especially when it comes to senior roles.

The statistics are worrying. The World Economic Forum estimates that at current rates, gender parity won’t be achieved in the economy for 257 years. Only 34 per cent of seats on boards in the Fortune 500 were held by women or minorities in 2018, and FTSE 100 CEOs were more likely to be named Steve or Stephen in 2018 than they were to be female.

Such slow rates of improvement are disappointing, particularly when the economic case for diversity and inclusion is clear. The wealth of perspectives people in diverse teams offer makes businesses more innovative, positively impacting their bottom line. Diverse and inclusive companies are also more likely to appeal to millennial workers, 83 per cent of whom are actively engaged when they believe their organisation fosters an inclusive culture.

If we want to see our businesses prosper, and in order to secure the long term future of our economy, we need to make sure that the makeup of companies reflects the diversity we see in wider society.

The Disruption Future Leaders Programme is one step in this direction.

Could you shake up the boardrooms of the future?

How does it work?

Run in tandem with the h Foundation and our partner organisations, the 3 month long Online Programme offers participants:


A bursary to give you time to focus on your project


  • £200 weekly financial support for the duration of the programme (9 weeks)
  • £1,800 in total

An online introductory training course

  • Policies and procedure
  • Programme Timeline
  • Introduction to all digital companies
  • Lunch carousel

Weekly professional development workshops

  • 1.5 hour workshop every Wednesday
  • Delivered as a webinar by experts from within The Panoply
  • Each week will be themed and cover areas like: Structure + Cash Management, Brand, Sales and Marketing, Reporting and Accounts, and many more

A 1-1 careers coach & business mentor

  • Weekly 1 hour session at a time that suits you both
  • Personal & professional coaching activities
  • Your chance to ask for whatever you need, including introductions and expertise and socialising

An opportunity to pitch for a micro fund

  • You will get to pitch your business plan digitally in front of a wide audience
  • Each investor will choose which of the business pitches to support
  • You will get the collective investment at the end to support the growth of your business

Are you a young, disruptive entrepreneur?

Apply for your place

Eligibility criteria

The Future Leaders Programme invites applications from underrepresented young business leaders in the Digital Industry aged 21 – 30, based in the UK.

Along with the potential to be a future leader, you need to have a digital business (product or service) that you have already begun to sell, and must meet at least one of the following criteria;

  • BAME
  • Low income background (eligible for free school meals)
  • Individuals with disabilities


For successful applicants the programme will run from the 20th of July – 18th of September 2020.

If you would like to apply then please do so before applications close on Friday 10th July 2020.

Apply Now

Be part of the 2020 cohort

Success stories

Run with its first cohort between October and December 2019, the Future Leaders Programme achieved notable success.

Participants recorded increased confidence in the direction and future of their businesses, as well as their own skills as business leaders. The support offered by the programme was particularly welcomed by the participants, as they felt they would not necessarily have been able to find it elsewhere.


applicants from underrepresented backgrounds (BAME, disability, female, low income)


participants selected


partner organisations


unique volunteers across partner organisations


how useful the Future Leaders found their weekly cash allowance


how useful the Future Leaders found access to other professionals within the partner organisations


average increase in confidence in the direction of their business by the end of the programme


average increase in confidence in their business skills

Testimonials from our 2019 cohort

” “

There is definitely a lack of support out there for young entrepreneurs and it can feel quite lonely at times. I’m really glad I found this programme, as now I know entrepreneur life is definitely for me…

” “

The exposure to various individuals in a business environment has improved my understanding of business and what it takes to build one…

” “

The world needs programmes such as Future Leaders to make people from underrepresented backgrounds believe in themselves and in the bright future that awaits them as leaders.

” “

It’s important that the boardrooms of the future look different from the ones of today so that everyone is represented, people can be challenged, and discussions can be had instead of one point of view.

Our Partners

h Foundation

The h Foundation is an independent charity committed to opening up the Digital and Creative Industries to under-represented young talent. The UK proudly boasts more entrepreneurial activity than any other European country and yet neither in enterprise or leadership is the lack of representation more evident. This is not reflective of the rich diversity of our society.

The COVID -19 pandemic is not only a health crisis but an economic one. Out of these challenges have arisen real opportunities to innovate, help shape society and bring about social change. Delivering the Future Leaders programme in Partnership with Disruption and The Panoply, the h Foundation will contribute to nurturing and empowering five exciting leaders from underrepresented backgrounds to grow their UK Start-ups.

More about the h Foundation here.

The Panoply

The Panoply is a native technology and design group that helps brave clients harness technology to drive growth, reimagine the way they work and create products and services that improve the lives of their customers and wider society. Our specialist teams operate autonomously but come together in lean, agile configurations to activate technology-led innovation and transformation. Assembled to drive positive change that’s purposeful, practical and profitable.

We’re in an era of unprecedented change where the very fabric of society is being challenged. We believe that each challenge we face as a society is an opportunity to re-think, re-evaluate and redesign. We want to change the face of businesses of the future and do the right thing for the young talent and our communities.