Looking to do an MBA? You could be one of the first to apply for Scotland’s LGBT+ specific scholarship

BY KATHRYN PIERCE (PICTURED, CREDIT RACHEL FOX)

There’s just over a week to go until the deadline for the Somewhere EDI LGBT+ MBA Scholarship in partnership with the University Of Edinburgh Business School.

This is the first ever LGBT+ MBA scholarship in Scotland open to LGBT+ and ally applicants from across the UK and internationally, providing a £10,000 financial bursary against fees, and a mentorship with Somewhere EDI, Scotland’s new LGBT+ culture and enterprise hub. Not bad, eh?

Somewhere EDI LGBT+ MBA Scholarship

The scholarship project has been designed in partnership with the University Of Edinburgh as a response to findings of my Enterprise Masters research study exploring the working lives and career experiences of LGBT+ entrepreneurs and business owners.

A co-authored book based on the findings of the research study is in development and is due to be published by Emerald Publishing in spring 2021 – so keep your eyes peeled for that too.

Until then, fancy a sneak peek into what the research revealed? We thought so: 

🌈 There is a serious lack of visibility of LGBT+ entrepreneurs…

…in the business world – and a lack of business support services and initiatives tailored to minority business people from the LGBT+ community. The Scholarship is designed to provide a pro-active response to the barriers LGBT+ people face, and to encourage and champion open and out LGBT+ entrepreneurs and business people, looking to make a difference in the world and for their community in particular. It is very possible we will receive applications from LGBT+ and ally people from countries where being LGBT+ is illegal, and the scholarship will enable them to be themselves in an authentic work context. 

🌈 Feeling different

More than two-thirds of participants in my study reported feeling “different” to people because of their sexuality – which was experienced both in positive and negative ways, or because simply they felt “they had never fitted in anywhere”. As a growing percentage of MBA students look to set up as entrepreneurs, the scholarship is designed to support and nurture this difference as a positive asset, putting pressure on the existence of the ‘corporate closet’. We are looking forward to seeing how the successful candidate develops the opportunity provided by the scholarship and mentorship.

🌈Role modelling – be the change you want to see 

The research also shows that LGBT+ business owners feel strongly about creating authentically inclusive working environments that remove “otherness”, instead building those which thrive on difference. I hope the MBA scholarship will encourage the successful candidate to influence working practices in their chosen sector, to positively disrupt working norms and opening up the business world to new and inclusive ways of working.

🌈The need to come out and be out

Crucially, the research shows there is shame and guilt around self-disclosure, and the need to remain closeted from both suppliers and clients for fear of negative consequences. Our chosen candidate will be our scholarship Ambassador, and in helping us develop the project, we are sure their involvement will encourage others to apply in the future. 

For more information about how to apply, visit the University of Edinburgh Business School Somewhere EDI page here. And for more information about Somewhere EDI and the research, please click here.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS 10 MAY 2019

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