The words "startup" and "diversity" historically have not worked well together. In fact, if you perform a Google search using those words, you will see a plethora of blogs and news stories about the lack of diversity within startups across the country.
Like most change, there needs to be a conversation first, and that's no different in the startup community. The lack of diversity in the workplace is well known because people are talking about it. The next step is to do something about it. Here are a few examples of startups working on diversity-focused services.
One is Jopwell, which describes itself as a career advancement platform for black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American students and professionals. A number of big-name companies have used its services, including the New York Times, Microsoft, Facebook and Godman Sachs.
The goal is simple: Connect top companies with talented candidates from the most underrepresented minority groups.
Another similar startup is Teamable, which strives to help companies hire "the right teammates for every team." The company's website features a helpful blog that includes posts about trends in recruiting and talent management.
The startup PayScale can do just that. The company analyzes employee compensation across a vast number of industries, so workers can get an idea of how much money they should be making.
The company fosters diversity with a tool that helps employers check for any gender wage gaps at their company. They can examine whether female employees are making less than males and whether they hold a proportionate number of top-paying positions.
While the tool is helpful, the company itself recognizes that no online tool or service can make startups more diverse or inclusive. It's a good complementary apparatus, but employers themselves are ultimately responsible for how diverse their companies are.
For example, the city of Memphis has a good number of accelerator programs, focused on a wide variety of industries. One such accelerator is called Propel, a partnership between Start Co. and the city of Memphis Office of Business Diversity and Compliance. The effort has mentorship and other programs and resources designed to promote and support minority startup owners.
Similarly, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit group FourthWave has launched what it calls a "female tech entrepreneur catalyst program," an accelerator that looks to boost ethnic and gender diversity in cities including Sacramento. The outfit seeks startups with high values of inclusion toward those from various backgrounds.
A quick gaze at startups across the country shows a clear lack of diversity in many industries, including the tech sector. The problem is real, but there are reasons to be encouraged.
First, the conversation is ongoing, and the more the better. The more people hear and learn about the problem, the easier it will be for them to do something about it.
A number of startups are aimed at helping fellow startups boost their diversity, as well as accelerator programs targeting underrepresented business owners. Change won't come quickly, but it's a good start to tackling a lingering problem.
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Anum Yoon is a writer who is passionate about personal finance and sustainability. She often looks for ways she can incorporate money management with environmental awareness. You can read her updates on <a href="http://www.currentoncurrency.com>Current on Currency</a>.