LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced a partnership with Code First: Girls, a multi award-winning U.K.-based social enterprise focused on diversity and skills in the technology sector. Launching in December 2017, KKR will support Code First: Girls’ 20:20 campaign which aims to train 20,000 women to code for free by the end of 2020.
The firm will provide a significant yearly financial commitment throughout the course of the campaign, in addition to leveraging its global resources, network and portfolio of companies to provide operational and logistical support for the program’s roll-out of community courses. Additionally, select female KKR employees, portfolio company employees or strategic partners will be able to participate annually in Code First: Girls’ community coding courses. This partnership will bring the program to life within KKR and help develop critical tech skills for women in the firm’s network.
Women are currently underrepresented in the U.K. technology sector. In 2017, looking at tech and telco professionals in the U.K., only 3.9% were female programmers and software developers, a number that has gone down from 10% in 2007. Code First: Girls is working to redress the imbalance by helping women develop the coding and leadership skills they need to fill these roles and increase their representation in tech and entrepreneurship, for their benefit and also for the benefit of the U.K. digital economy. The 20:20 campaign builds on Code First: Girls’ achievements in teaching over 5,000 women to code in the last three years, drawing on that success and significantly expanding its scope.
“KKR is a major tech investor both in the U.K. and around the world, so we know firsthand how important technology is to the future success and prosperity of the U.K. and Europe,” said Jean-Pierre Saad, Director in KKR’s TMT team in London. “More generally, coding is becoming an increasingly important skill that should be available equally to all, regardless of gender. We are hence delighted to partner with a pioneering organisation like Code First: Girls and support them in tackling gender diversity in tech which we believe will drive better outcomes for businesses and our communities.”
Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First: Girls, said: “One of the biggest barriers to women entering the tech industry is education, and our 20:20 campaign is designed to address this by providing skills that are critical to the digital economy. Our partnership with a leading investment firm like KKR, which has such a deep and wide network with companies in the U.K. and worldwide, is a fantastic opportunity for our organisation. Their support is key to us delivering our 20:20 campaign.”
The partnership with Code First: Girls is the latest initiative born out of KKR’s citizenship efforts as part of the firm’s continued focus on Inclusion and Diversity, which began with KKR’s Inclusion and Diversity Council (IDC) founded in 2014 to help realise a goal of creating a more diverse workplace.
In London, KKR has been a long-standing partner with Impetus – PEF, an organisation which provides funding, operational expertise and management support to charities and social enterprises working with disadvantaged young people. In the U.S., KKR is a proud partner of SEO, the TEAK Fellowship, and Girls Who Code, a similar initiative to Code First: Girls that is working to increase the representation of women in technology.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and, through its strategic manager partnerships, hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners’ capital and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.
About Code First: Girls
Code First: Girls, is a multi-award winning social enterprise which works with companies and women to increase the proportions of women in tech. They do this by running free coding courses for young women, paid courses for men and women, by advising companies on tech talent, and by running a community of 6000+ women who are interested in tech.