What is Innovate Inclusion?
Founded in 2017, Innovate Inclusion is a Canadian not-for-profit that advocates for the economic success of underrepresented tech talent and entrepreneurs through diversity research, supporting access, and increasing awareness.
Why was Innovate Inclusion founded?
Underrepresented tech talent and entrepreneurs often face biases within the startup and technology ecosystem. This issue is clearly shown in statistics about venture capitalism and tech company diversity reports. For example, in the United States, Black women-led startups have only raised 0.0006% of the almost $425 billion in total tech venture funding since 2009; and much of that has been since 2017. (Source: Project Diane)
When our Founder, Sarah Juma, launched her startup, she faced obstacles based on her gender in addition to the fact that she is a Black woman. Through conversation with her peers, she noted other individuals from underrepresented communities had faced similar experiences. She decided to create Innovate Inclusion to help foster an accessible network and safe, inclusive spaces to increase diversity and equality in the entrepreneurial space.
What is Innovate Inclusion’s philosophy?
Everything we do is based on three core activities: to engage, advocate, and educate on how organizations and individuals can be inclusive. We do this by supporting and conducting research on diversity to support strategies for improvement; providing and supporting entrepreneurs’ access to programs and opportunities; and by amplifying the voices of underrepresented entrepreneurs to increase awareness of the obstacles they face.
What does Innovate Inclusion do to support underrepresented entrepreneurs?
In the past few years, Innovate Inclusion has been building connections with like-minded organizations and individuals, working to support them through programs such as networking events and mentorship. Our latest project is to create a searchable resource for programs and services, with funding from the Government of Canada (for more information, read our press release).
In addition to supporting individual entrepreneurs, Innovate Inclusion is also working to support increased diversity in the industry through research. In 2017, we released an Incubator Diversity Report that benchmarked Ontario based incubator programs, people, and services. In the next few months, we will be holding round-table discussions with entrepreneurs and organizations to create action plans for increased diversity and access in the industry.
How can I take part in Innovate Inclusion’s programs and services?
You can join our network for free by contacting us here. Your membership will include access to our e-newsletter with opportunities, events, and feature articles; exclusive programs and services; and our database of organizations and programs that can help underrepresented entrepreneurs find programs that are the right fit for them (coming February 2020!).