KCL non-profit start-up Project Access expands mentorship programme to US

Project Access, the tech-enabled mentoring programme fighting inequalities in admissions to top universities, announced plans this month to expand to the United States. Founded in 2016, the non-profit start-up is one of 20 firms supported by the Entrepreneurship Institute’s King’s20 Accelerator. So far, their mentorship programme has reached over 2,500 applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Project Access’ Innovation Team


Project Access currently focusses on providing tech-enabled peer-mentoring to some of the UK’s most elite universities, including King’s, Oxford, Cambridge, and LSE. With encouraging results in the UK, the start-up is now expanding to a handful of top universities in the US.


“The combination of new country teams outside Europe such as China, some really positive data on the impact of our programme, and the context of Brexit has meant that now is the perfect time for us to scale our operations to the best universities in the US,” stated Emil Bender Lassen, Project Access International CEO and third-year PPE student at King’s.


At the moment, Project Access will only be expanding to certain East Coast universities. “We hope to launch campus teams at Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Brown, U Penn and Columbia this time around, with further launches planned in the fall,” states Lassen.


The start-up currently is made up of more than 30 volunteer team members from King’s, a Head of France, Malaysia, Norway and Romania, a Global Head of Communication and an Access Incubator Manager responsible for building new country teams.


“King’s has been the centre of our operations since we joined the King’s20 Accelerator. Every weekend, you can find Project Access team members in our office and we’ve been fortunate to also host our first high-profile conference here,” stated Head of Communications Joe Whiteside, an RPS student at King’s.


Julie Devonshire OBE, Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London, stated her enthusiasm for the start-up: “We are thrilled by the impact that Project Access are delivering and have enjoyed seeing them use the support offered by King’s to scale their important work. They have proven their model in the UK and now intend to scale internationally beginning with the USA. We are excited to see how much impact they can deliver for universities in America.”


Project Access is currently accepting volunteers, including peer mentors for students from underprivileged backgrounds.