Expansion of auticon â€“ social enterprise helping FinTechs add autistic talent to their teams
The social enterprise tech consultancy auticon which has a base in Edinburgh, has entered into an agreement to unite with Unicus, a similar organisation operating mainly in the Nordics which also seeks to improve the lives of autistic adults through employment. The historic deal establishes a global model for an autistic-majority social enterprise and ESG company, addressing the inequalities in employment for neurodivergent adults. The two combined companies will become the largest autistic-majority organisation in the world with 81% (465) of its 575 employees on the autism spectrum and will operate in 14 countries, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, Germany, the United Kingdom, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Switzerland, and France.
Unicus Founder and CEO Lars Johansson-KjellerÃ¸d commented: â€œBy our marriage, we create the worldâ€™s largest autistic-majority corporation. With the focus on neurodiversity, we will continue to create unique results for our customers and an increased quality of life for our employees. The joint companies have the same DNA and vision to create a more inclusive world, and when we combine Unicus and auticonâ€™s long experience, that is, in my opinion, the best prerequisites to successfully foster change and innovation and to create the leading social company focusing on neurodiversity. I am looking forward to the journey ahead!â€
Unicus CEO Lars Johansson-KjellerÃ¸d, auticon Group CEO Kurt SchÃ¶ffer and CFO Markus Weber are photographed in 2023 in Italy where the Management Board met to define details of the deal
Auticon is an award-winning social innovation company and offers organisations a unique way to bring tech and data expertise plus neurodivergent thinking into their teams. They integrate their autistic consultants into client organizations on a project-basis, performing as software developers, data analysts, QA engineers, and more. Clients experience the benefits of working with autistic professionals first-hand, opening minds and achieving excellent results through diversity of thought and creative thinking.
auticon's clients in Scotland include a number of Financial Services organisations. David Hodgson, Engineering Lead for Engage Me Lab at Lloyds Banking Group said "Over the last year weâ€™ve been working with auticon. Their support and training has helped us understand neurodiversity and opened positive conversations. auticon colleagues have brought strengths to our team both in delivery and contributing to our cultureâ€.
auticon empowers the clients they work with through actionable neurodiversity training and advisory services. They are the first international neuroinclusion services provider offering lived experience, training, advice, technology solutions and experienced coaching to support organisations in their commitment to being neuroinclusive. They have over a decade of experience of attracting, recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retaining neurodivergent talent and want to help their clients deliver business and impact goals, just like they have, by having a diverse organisation that is successfully neuroinclusive.
â€œWe donâ€™t just jump straight in with off the shelf solutions. It is vital we understand your business and the people working with you. We know very well that one neurodivergent person is different from the next neurodivergent person, and itâ€™s the same for businesses. We take a thorough 360 approach so that everything we do is tailored, collaborative and doesnâ€™t create a silo of neuroinclusion. Instead, we help you to become a fully integrated neuroinclusive employer with practices that complement existing strategies, not create more work.â€Â Emma Walker â€“ Regional Director Scotland
auticon was established in Germany in 2011 by a father looking to create more opportunities for his own autistic son as he realised that autistic people are too often unemployed or underemployed. It is estimated that only 29% of autistic adults are in employment (Office for National Statistics, UK, 2022) yet many possess cognitive strengths that make them particularly well-suited for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite this, they are faced with barriers such as an exclusionary recruitment process, poor autism awareness, and employers feeling unprepared to offer support. This is what auticon and Unicus continue to tackle. The auticon London office opened in 2016, followed by the establishment of the Edinburgh team in 2019. Both offices operate rolling recruitment and are always keen to hear from autistic people with strong tech and data skills. Both offices are also always delighted to explore options for collaboration with new clients.