In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, a notable shift has emerged: the rise of entrepreneurs over the age of 50. This demographic, often overlooked in the youth-centric tech industry, is proving to be a formidable force, bringing a wealth of experience, resilience, and innovation to the startup ecosystem.
A recent study by Barrington Hibbert Associates has cast a stark light on the ongoing issues of workplace discrimination, revealing that 25% of employees feel their career progression has been impeded by discrimination based on ethnicity, sexuality, religion, age, or gender. This impediment has profound implications across a spectrum of industries, including finance, legal, healthcare, and education.
In 2019, Fionnghuala ‘Fig’ O'Reilly became the first woman of colour to win Miss Universe Ireland. She’s worked as a NASA datanaut, is a systems engineer, a specialist in data science, and you can often find her every weekend on CBS’s STEM TV show Mission Unstoppable. On top of all that, Fig is on a mission to close the opportunity gap for black and brown women in STEM through her company – Space to Reach.
In a report published over the summer, the Treasury Committee recommended the government take swift action to promote diversity in the UK’s venture capital industry. With the proposed policies directly targeted at driving investment towards female and ethnic minority founders, as well as businesses outside of London, the report forms part of a growing momentum to expand access to venture capital (VC) in the UK.
It is vital to champion founders from underrepresented groups, especially in the tech startup ecosystem, as traditionally the tech space is majority made up of white males. According to “The Business of Tech Q4 2022 Diversity Report”, created by Dave Sobel, which examined diversity development in tech leadership, found that 88.92% of the tech industry’s leaders were white men.
Amelia Peckham, the CEO and Co-Founder of Cool Crutches & Walking Sticks personally knows the importance of genuine diversity and inclusion policies in the workplace. Having worked in a selection of startups throughout her career, she believes that they do in fact benefit from being smaller companies that can act faster. Decisions can be made quicker and red tape is minimal so it’s easy to pivot and adjust as things progress.
Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, and Sony Music UK, have announced a cohort of ten pioneering digital-first startups, to participate in the inaugural FutureScope Black Founders Programme. The programme will support Black British entrepreneurs in the digital entertainment space, and encourage the successful commercialisation of their innovative new solutions.
As a university professor and CEO of an EdTech company, I have experienced first-hand various challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the two sectors. While systemic issues persist, there are opportunities for individual companies to adopt best practices. Here are three tips for startups.
Starting your own business is an exciting new life venture. For the first time, you set the path to creating a product or service that you are truly passionate about. As an entrepreneur, you get to make the decisions, set your own hours and be your own boss. It sounds and is wonderful but it’s not without its challenges.
For decades medical research has been based on data from the male body, however, we now know that women’s bodies respond in very different ways to drugs and disease. This research and application gap is starting to be recognised and thankfully the landscape is starting to change after all women do account for 50% of the global population.
When it comes to improving gender diversity, employers often find it difficult to point to equal representation at the top of the leadership ladder, despite their efforts to improve women’s opportunities when recruiting at a junior level. Unfortunately, this is largely due to the systemic barriers that are holding women back, that sadly aren’t eroding nearly fast enough.
In our last Women in Tech issue back in September, the founder focus feature saw us head to the land of the midnight sun, Norway, to speak to Anne Lise Waal, CTO and COO of Attensi, provider of gamified training solutions, about the diverse team she has built, and how women in CTO positions can influence the ethos of a tech business.
Admitting we have biases is not easy. It makes you question how much control we have over our minds and behaviours. This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme encourages us to ‘Break the Bias’ to achieve gender equality, but it is difficult to know which biases are the most important ones to ‘break’ first.
International Women’s Day is designed to pay homage to the progress that has been made in the battle for gender equality, but it also highlights the existing challenges that many women still face today. This year, as well as highlighting the everyday prejudices that women face, focus is also being placed on the growing need for sustainable practices within business. Gender equality is essential, and so too is the need to protect our future environment. And from an enterprise perspective, work needs to be done to improve in both areas.
When it comes to the battle on gender equality, we can certainly see some improvement, however, there is still a lot to be done. Whilst we may be encouraging the younger generation into more STEM and subjects they weren’t considering before, we need to make sure this is reflected all the way up – and into leadership positions.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 8th March) is International Women’s Day. While more employers do now offer health and wellbeing support that is specific to women, this is often limited to a particular life stage, such as maternity. Towergate Health and Protection is encouraging businesses to provide for women across the entire lifecycle, from early adulthood to menopause, and beyond.
Making the leap from a business plan to a fully operating company with customers and employees is an exhilarating journey. There is nothing more exciting and empowering than building a business. Particularly as a woman because you have this added sense of breaking the mould or going against the statistics. With excitement, come some terrifying lows, confidence crises and loneliness. I want to make it one of my personal missions for the negatives not to scare people away.
Recent reports have shown that women in business in the UK is on the rise. Almost a third of businesses are owned by women which highlights a remarkable shift from figures in 2016 when just 17% of founders were female. There is still some way to go before the playing field is even but undoubtedly female entrepreneurs have some of the most inspiring stories out there.
I always say that numbers speak for themselves. So it’s doubtful that these numbers will surprise female founders anywhere. Pitchbook data from earlier this year showed that, despite record levels of capital invested in Europe, female founders received just 0.7% of the total funding - €400m (about $473m). The picture isn’t much more encouraging in the US; last year, female-only founded companies garnered 2.2% of the total capital invested in venture-backed startups.
The last 18 months have seen our working lives turned upside down, and after a period of uncertainty, a new era of hybrid working has emerged. Current guidance aside, the majority of companies are offering employees a blended option of at-home and in-office working and half the population would even leave their job if the option for hybrid working was removed.
With extraordinary women from across different parts of the country, a variety of backgrounds and industries, the 19th annual NatWest everywoman Awards brought these entrepreneurs together having one thing in common - being some of the UK’s most inspiring females, recognising their outstanding achievements during one of the most challenging periods for businesses in living memory.
Prior to starting Hertility Health, my co-founders and I realised that even though our careers and personal lives were very different, we all had one thing in common: we wanted reassurance about our fertility health. We found ourselves asking the same questions you might also ask yourself: "Should our career come before a family?" or "Why do we have to make a choice between the two?" And when we searched for help with these big questions, we came up empty handed.
A diverse team can have a huge impact on a business’ success. Diverse management teams can increase revenue by 19%. Racially and ethnically diverse teams are 35 percent more likely to perform better, and they’re 87% better at making decisions. Inclusive companies are 1.7x more innovative when compared to companies that aren’t diverse or inclusive.