Inclusivity platform Include Me has launched a directory of “exceptional entrepreneurs” from diverse backgrounds, based across all of the UK, to provide more role models to groups under-represented in Britain’s business and tech industry.
The Diversity-List, or D-List, is a searchable database of entrepreneurs that displays their sector specializations, contact details and a short biography.
Perhaps most useful for an industry plagued by all-white male panels, the D-List displays entrepreneurs’ availability for speaking at conferences, panels, workshops and for mentoring.
The Northern-led initiative also displays the location of D-List members in a bid to showcase the regional talent available across the UK.
“After working in tech and STEM sectors for many years, I was appalled at the continued lack of diversity,” said Mel Selvon Ellyard, founder of Include Me and the D-List.
“Knowing role models play a central role in shaping a young professional’s career and are especially important if you belong to an under-represented group. A lack of representation in the workplace can lead to feeling isolated and lacking in confidence, lower levels of productivity and satisfaction which lead to de-motivation in the workplace.”
According to research by Innovative UK and FSB, 75% of entrepreneurs grow up with dynamic role models. However, 78% of female business owners did not see role models who were of the same gender, while over half of people from ethnic minority backgrounds did not have role models who were of the same ethnicity as them.
Diversity continues to be a challenge for the tech industry, with data from Tech Nation showing that just 19% of tech workers are women, compared to 49% of UK workers.
The D-List has launched with an initial 100 members, but the directory is looking to grow its numbers. Entrepreneurs are nominated through an online application form to become part of the D-List.
The D-List will be formally launched at an event in Leeds on Thursday evening. Details for the launch party can be found here.