Choices for a paradigm shift

Published by Net Impact Amsterdam on

We have the chance to do things differently and to put diversity and intersectionality at the core of what we do: With whom we connect, who we hire, and what we fund.

– Iris Weges

Net Impact Amsterdam is celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity by sharing the work of our members who enable inclusion and dialogue

Iris Weges

Pale, stale, and male

Cultural diversity – whether through gender, nationality, ethnicity, or sexuality – represents strength, and this strength, when properly and wholesomely embraced, can empower the whole group. Though, in the bureaucratic world of work, the pale, stale, male brigade still dominates, leaving the model dull and vanilla. This is simply a missed opportunity.

Time for choices

The booming start-up scene gives the world the chance to do things differently. It gives us the opportunities to choose with whom to connect, whom to hire, and whom to support in business – and we can choose to put diversity at the core of this. Though, still, these choices have been slow to change. The numbers don’t lie: only about 2% of venture capital funding goes to women entrepreneurs, and for women entrepreneurs of color that number is less than 1%, with some estimates saying as low as 0.2%. And it’s not due to a lack of entrepreneurial drive or viable business models.

Shifting the paradigm

I’m a believer in “putting your money where your mouth is,” so I get very excited about initiatives such as the newly launched Bumble Fund – backed by Serena Williams – that invests in women entrepreneurs of color and underrepresented groups. Another example of leadership in this area is Backstage Capital – run by powerhouse Arlan Hamilton. Backstage has invested over five million dollars across more than 100 companies led by underrepresented founders, and they take a highly intersectional approach to their investment selection supporting women, people of color and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. It’s businesses like Bumble and Backstage that make the difference in shifting our age old paradigm.

These innovative commitments of the financial sector pave the way for a rebalance in power. It is these choices that enable the foundation for an economic system which fosters opportunities for success across all kinds of people – and when more of us make these conscious choices, we participate in the growth of community and of strength.

Categories: BlogInterview