As CEO of recruitment company Green Park, Raj Tulsiani has campaigned for and advised on workforce diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout his career, challenging, advising and influencing the cultures of some of the UK’s leading public and private sector organisations. His commitment to moving the dial on diversity has been driven by the understanding of the power of collective difference as a source of competitive advantage and, as the owner of one of the industries few minority-owned businesses, his social responsibility to the wider community.
On the evening of the of the 3rd June 2017, like many others around the world, Raj watched the news in horror as details of the London Bridge terror attack unfolded. It was the third terror attack on the UK in a matter of months and in the midst of one of the most divisive General Election campaigns in the UK’s modern history. Across the country, emotions were running high and issues of social mobility and disenfranchised communities were more prevalent than ever. It was one month later that he and a small group of diversity campaigners bought the cricket bat manufacturing company Mongoose with one ambition in mind; tackling disenfranchisement and improving social mobility.
Launched in 2009, Mongoose Cricket, at one stage, was arguably one of the worlds most recognised cricket brands. The brand was considered an innovation of Twenty20 cricket and was sported by cricketing legends including James Anderson, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Marcus Trescothick and Dwayne Smith.
The morning after the London Bridge terror attacks, Raj’s martial arts instructor, Tony Ilyad, from Fighting Fit informed him that one of his students, Geoff Hu, had been badly injured while fighting the terrorists. Like Raj, Tony had also known what exclusion feels like and his saving grace had also been through sport. Together, Raj and Tony felt compelled to act to prevent such needless violence caused by the gang culture and radicalisation that so often targets vulnerable and disenfranchised youths. Mongoose Cricket is the vehicle for this.
Through Raj’s diversity campaigning at Green Park, he has been fortunate enough to meet the leaders of some inspiring community outreach programmes that change people’s lives through grass-roots initiatives. Through a sustainable business model where 20% of profits are donated to projects like these, Mongoose Inclusive Cricket intends to use cricket to increase inclusion, provide value and educate young people about their options, giving them the skills and knowledge necessary to begin their own career ladder.
In the first instance, Mongoose will be donating excess merchandise of 100,000 bats to inner city schools and youth programmes and have already begun talks with England’s female cricket team to create a range of bats designed by women for women, where profits will be used to help encourage female participation in the sport.
No one is arrogant or deluded about the scale or depth of the problem that we, as a society, face. However, if Mongoose can help to influence and positively impact on the paths of any other young, disillusioned and disenfranchised children out there, that at least we can be proud that we have got off the bench and played a part in breaking the chains that exclude others from having aspirations.