Private equity giant KKR is backing women in tech in a new effort to help thousands of them learn how to code.
The firm is backing an ambitious new campaign by Code First: Girls aiming to train 20,000 women by 2020 in an area where they are severely under-represented.
The partnership with the UK-based social enterprise is described as a significant financial commitment by KKR and will also include operational support for the programme. Female staff at the firm and its portfolio of companies will also participate.
“KKR is a major tech investor both in the UK and around the world, so we know firsthand how important technology is to the future success and prosperity of the UK and Europe,” said director of KKR's tech, media and telecoms team in London, Jean-Pierre Saad.
“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.”
KKR is a backer of startup tech firms such as Darktrace, Fanduel and Lyft.
Code First: Girls was set up in 2012 by entrepreneurs Alice Bentink and Matt Clifford, the pair behind venture builder Enterprise First.
"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 econom," said chief executive Amali de Alwis.
"Our partnership with a leading investment firm like KKR, which has such a deep and wide network with companies in the UK and worldwide, is a fantastic opportunity for our organisation. Their support is key to us delivering our 20:20 campaign.”