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Tech Nation launches D&I toolkit for tech founders

Tech Nation has launched a public diversity and inclusion “toolkit” including guidance for tech company founders to help create more inclusive businesses

Network for tech entrepreneurs, Tech Nation, has published a toolkit aimed at helping technology founders build more diverse and inclusive companies.

The Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit, which is available on the Tech Nation website, includes guidance on areas such as gathering diversity data, implementing a diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy, and creating an inclusive culture, as well as a D&I checklist to ensure businesses can easily implement the advice.

Rowena Knapp, COO at Tech Nation, said: “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, 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.”

The UK’s technology sector, while making improvements towards building more diverse and inclusive teams, still suffers from a diversity gap.

A recent report from the BCS found the number of IT professionals from underrepresented groups has only increased by around 2% in the past five years – 8% of IT specialists are of Indian ethnicity, 2% are from a black, African, Caribbean or black British background, while 2% are from Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds. Women also only make up 17% of the technology sector – a figure which has only increased by 1% over the past five years.

It is important to consider inclusion as well as diversity – diversity is focused on ensuring the mixture of people working in a sector are representative of the people using the technology that the sector produces, whereas inclusion is focused more on the culture of the sector and whether it is a place where people feel they can be themselves and will want to stay within.

Included in the Tech Nation D&I toolkit are examples from companies which have already successfully implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives, with Tech Nation saying that the resources are both a way to “celebrate [the] success” of those already making progress, while using these successes to help other businesses move forward with their own D&I strategies.

It also pointed out that the earlier D&I is embedded in a business, the better, which is why the toolkit is aimed at those building technology businesses – ensuring D&I is already included in the company from the very beginning.

Created in partnership with D&I consultancy The Unmistakables, with support from training partner Futureproof, the toolkit was developed by interviewing UK tech leaders to document what has worked for companies so far.

Divided into business functions such as HR, operations, funding, product, sales and marketing, each section of the toolkit includes checklists, case studies and links to resources which will be frequently updated.

Tech Nation is also partnering with the All In Commitment and Community for diversity and inclusion, which encourages startup founders to pledge to create more diverse and inclusive work environments across the technology sector.

Read more about diversity and inclusion

  • Study into diversity and inclusion in the cyber security sector has found that diversity is off to a good start, but inclusion is lacking.
  • Women account for about 2-3% of engineering and technology directors in startups and scaleups, says report.

Read more on Diversity in IT

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