An initiative to boost access to investment for tech startups founded by women and people from minority ethnicity backgrounds has launched today, backed by JP Morgan Chase.
Spearheaded by Capital Enterprise, a consortium including Tech Nation, Diversity VC and Your Startup, Your Story, are aiming to double the diversity of founders in London tech startups over the next two years.
The campaign aims to raise a total of $20m (£15.1m) of investment for new companies, and create 300 new tech jobs by working with over 50 venture capital firms, angel investors and tech accelerators across the capital.
Capital Enterprise's Alison Partridge, who has been named the architect of the programme, highlighted that members inside even the best performing tech accelerators in London only hold around 10 per cent women, and 20 per cent BAME founders.
Later this year, the consortium will also launch a high-profile showcase of stories from under-represented tech founders to illustrate available opportunities in the tech startup ecosystem.
Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility at JP Morgan Chase said: “The technology sector is critical to Londons economy, but we must improve the diversity of the entrepreneurs that support it.
“Fostering diversity can drive technology innovation, creativity and productivity and create inclusive economic growth. Our investment with Capital Enterprise will give minority and female technology founders, especially in East London, a chance to move up the economic ladder as they start and grow their businesses.”
The news comes as Tech Nation opened applications for its fintech programme last week, as part of HM Treasury's 2018 fintech strategy. The accelerator programme has given birth to some of the biggest names in fintech since it began, including the likes of Zopa, Transferwise, Monzo and Trussle.
Recent data from the first ever diversity audit of the UK technology sector, organised by Colorintech, showed that only four people on the board of the UK's top 16 technology companies were ethnic minorities, out of a total of 152 board members. Furthermore, only one of those four was a woman.
“There has never been a more important time for Britain to define itself within a bigger picture,” said Tech Nation's COO, MB Christie.
“To compete on the global stage and attract the best talent, our tech sector must take up the banner of inclusion and diversity. Tech Nation is proud to be taking part in this important initiative to support women and under-represented groups access pathways to careers and futures in tech.
“We are looking forward to working with our partners to make sure that the UK tech sector creates opportunities for everyone – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or disability.”