Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs, has launched a Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit to create more equal opportunities for underrepresented groups in the industry.
Why the toolkit was created
The toolkit was created to help tech founders implement diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies while scaling their businesses, as implementing these policies earlier on in a company’s journey can ensure greater success. In addition, the toolkit will act as a guide for founders and their workforce to help them build more diverse and inclusive businesses as well as provide equal opportunities “for everyone aspiring to work in UK tech.”
The toolkit was created in partnership with The Unmistakables, an award-winning D&I consultancy supported by the training services company Futureproof. Tech Nation is also partnering with the ‘All In’ commitment and community for diversity and inclusion’, which is a cross-industry effort to “encourage startup founders to pledge their commitment to creating diverse and inclusive work environments whilst building a community of committed peers who can share questions and advice in a safe space.”
Based on interviews conducted with tech leaders, the toolkit contains “checklists, links to tools and resources, and case studies highlighting examples of companies who have enacted positive change.” The resources will be frequently updated to reflect the ever-evolving tech and D&I landscapes and feature companies that have successfully implemented D&I programmes.
Why more diversity is needed in tech
The creation of the toolkit comes at a pivotal time for the UK tech sector, which is responsible for 1 in 10 UK job vacancies, and reached a record $7.6bn in VC investment by the first quarter of this year.
While the industry is a major employer and one of the pillars of the economy, women and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in the workforce; less than one in five UK technology workers is a woman or from a BAME background. These underrepresented groups also receive less financial backing for their startups. Recent data from the non-profit organisation Extend Ventures found that entrepreneurs from Black, South Asian, East Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds received just 1.7% of UK VC investment. In contrast, over the past decade, only 3% of VC funding went to all-female teams.
These funding disparities show that tech firms need to work harder to make the industry better represent the diversity of society, which could grow the talent pipeline, create more innovative teams, and help the economy recover from the impact of COVID-19.
Rowena Knapp, COO at Tech Nation, commented: “When it comes to achieving equality in the UK’s tech sector, we still have a long way to go. Tech companies and their founders need to have a comprehensive toolkit they can turn to to help them address diversity issues head-on.
“As we look to rebuild a stronger economy and society, equal opportunity and representation within the tech sector has never been more important. This is why I am pleased to launch the Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit today, which we will continue to refine and build on over the months and years to come. Creating a truly diverse and inclusive tech business is an ongoing and iterative process, and the D&I Toolkit is a fantastic place to start.”
Nikhil Shah, Co-Founder of Mixcloud and the All In commitment and community, commented: “As a founder and advisor to startups, I have witnessed first-hand the importance of being an empathetic leader: building inclusive cultures and diverse teams is a social responsibility but also better for business. Now is the time to provide founders with the support they need to achieve this in their own companies. That’s why we’re building ‘All In’, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Tech Nation on their practical toolkit to empower positive change across our industry.”