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Improved diversity in the technology bubble


April 20, 2021

6 minutes of reading

Comments expressed by Businessmen the contributors are their own.


It’s no secret that the diversity of the workforce at tech firms is a big deal. From 2013-2017, only 1% among the VC-backed businessmen are Black and 9.2% are women. This missing description is repeated everywhere in the industry. Less than 6% of employees at Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft identified as Black. In venture capital firms, only 6% of the employees and 3% of the partners are black, according to one Research in 2018 by Deloitte and NVCA. Only 14% of venture capital partners are women.

Change is still needed.

As we think about the right place to start our efforts towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion, some valuable ideas come from what I call “Borders” – the founders started. businesses operate outside of typical centers like Silicon Valley. They come up with unique strategies that can help alter the monoculture of many mature startup ecosystems. Of course, there’s no silver bullet, and these emerging market entrepreneurs haven’t tackled the diverse challenge, but they offer some good starting points.

Related: The importance of diversity and inclusion in uncertain times

Recruitment is based on ability

Diversity starts with recruiting. Silicon Valley’s problem is that companies and founders have deep networks from before and the usual wisdom to build your team from your original network, which is no surprise to lead. to lack of diversity. Companies located outside of typical tech hubs often have difficulty hiring such candidates for open job positions and have developed strategies to expand their searches. Through it, they identify candidates from many different backgrounds and they judge them based on the results of the work rather than prejudice.

Hotels.ng is one such example. When the startup began to see top talent running out in his native city of Lagos, Nigeria, it expanded its search. Hotels.ng founder Mark Essien has kicked off HNG Internship – a virtual internship to screen potential candidates. The more challenging technical problem candidate presented by Slack. Over time, only a handful of them continued to interview at Hotels.ng and a small group of them received a job offer. The program is intended only for evenings and is not intended for all applicants who may have other full-time responsibilities to administer. Hotels.ng also wants to make sure no one drops out of school for financial reasons. They pay everyone in the group an allowance as they progress, in the hopes of making the application a process that rewards skills, not race, background, or economic background. In second place, Hotels.ng had 4,000 applicants and ended up hiring 25 individuals, mostly from outside Lagos and other major centers.

Many emerging-market startups understand that hiring is not just about finding the best individual talent, but also about finding the right people for the company. They build A-teams instead of just collecting A-players. And because they recruit based on competencies and behavior rather than resumes, they provide more accessibility and ultimately promote multiplicity. more form.

Related: Why diversity in the workplace is imperative

Developing talent

Not only do global entrepreneurs look beyond conventional doubts – often, they build their own talent pool. Shopify, Canada’s technology powerhouse, has partnered with Carleton University in Ottawa to develop their “Dev Degree” program, Again Work integration learning degree. Over the course of four years, students work directly at Shopify for 25 hours per week while taking classes. As long as the student completes the actual assessment and completes their study program, Shopify pays for all four years of tuition plus hours worked for the company and they dedicate a job offer to the good student. Karma.

By proactively developing a talent pool, Shopify fosters diversity. In recent research groups, 50% of the candidates are women, compared with an average of less than 20% in computer science proficiency.

Related: A culturally diverse workforce can benefit your business

Work remotely and reduce deviation

While the whole world was forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, in many emerging startup ecosystems, the distributed group approach has been a good standard approach from the start. If done well, remote work is possible diverse drives. A study by Remote.co found that allocated work shuffles stereotypes about how a leader looks, among other factors, leading to the proportion of founders. , president and CEO are taller female. Although the study focuses on women, we hope that a similar study of race will be done.

There may also be more opportunities to change the nature of the “offers” in the venture capital community to lessen the biases that had previously hindered this process. Some VCs are starting to rely more on hard data instead of traditional methods relying more on intangibility. For example, Social Capital has pioneered an algorithmic approach to venture capital, which it calls capital as a service (CaaS). Out of Social Capital’s more than 75 CaaS investments, 80% of founders are white and 30% are women, across 20 countries – statistically much higher than traditional industry figures .

Appreciate diversity as a strategy

Entrepreneurs in the emerging startup ecosystem know the benefits of working with a diverse team. Companies in smaller countries often build products that are more impactful and have to come out globally, spanning multiple geographic regions in the first place. One-way product, marketing, and operations teams will struggle to address consumer needs and interests beyond a selected group of individuals with similar backgrounds and interests.

This makes business sense. A BCG study found that improving management team diversity resulted in a 19% increase in revenue due to innovation. Younger employees (the future of the workforce) also place a much greater emphasis on working in a company with a wide variety of employees, influencing where they choose to work and employee satisfaction. tablets. The healthy mix of talents of different races, genders and backgrounds has only the opposite effect, increasingly backed up by data.

To truly unleash the world’s entrepreneurial talent, we need an environment that allows all genders and people of all backgrounds to succeed. Motivation is on our side as the country undergoes significant waves of changes in racial relations and working patterns. Now is the time to seize those opportunities and create strategies for moving business forward. The examples I have listed above are not panacea. But hopefully, they give lessons about where this journey can begin.

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