And this is a complex issue. I’m not going to simplify it because I accept that it is men that dominate start-ups-particularly technology start-ups. Until we can attract more women (and diverse groups in general) in to technology this is our current reality. Change has to start in our schools and that is a whole other topic. But I am worried the support systems/mentors that nourish start-ups are also being dominated by a singular ‘formula’ of human and yes, that is white, middle class men. I know some amazing white, middle class men who are also worried about this trend and I am president of a board of regional angel investors who are actively seeking and are genuinely committed to greater diversity.
An occupational revolution is happening right now – automation and artificial intelligence will force us to draw upon human resources that have been under utilized for so long – women, people over 60, the disabled etc. to create and contribute to the innovative ideas that will generate the new jobs of the future (or a completely different economic model altogether)
But there are some who are not so worried or who see it as too complex an issue to do anything about. I don’t use the term ‘boys’ clubs’ with the assumption that it is a conscious process or deliberate action but I am saying that unless you acknowledge the lack of diversity in start-ups and particularly incubators and have an understanding of how that lack of diversity will impact on your success, creativity and innovation than you will struggle to succeed in your new enterprise.
Don’t think that lack of diversity is a big issue? You are wrong – there is plenty of quality research and actual lived experience supporting the diversity = success formula. Commit to diversity and you will be rewarded. There is so much talent out there not being used. Start talking about it today.