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Five star players exemplifying the power of diversity in business

It’s official: diversity is a must-have for businesses. Gone are the days when it could be palmed off as merely a nice-to-have: it’s now also provenly great for revenue, great for employees and great for industry growth.


But while our collective aim should be to raise the ceiling for under-represented groups in tech, there’s a problem at the ground floor. According to new research by McKinsey-founded non-profit Generation, 62% of employers say entry-level hiring needs to change, with many struggling to find talent. At the same time, 94% say their entry-level roles still require prior work experience - an opportunity often not afforded to underrepresented groups in society.


Adding to the urgency at entry-level, the stakes are just as high at the top of the ladder, where progress is even slower, but where positive change can have a ripple effect throughout the industry. A Deloitte report from last year highlighted the multiplier effect of hiring women into senior positions; it found that for every woman who joined the board, up to five more would join in senior leadership roles, just below the C-Suite.

We’ve long known on an instinctual level the benefits of having different perspectives around the boardroom table and of drawing on a workforce with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Now that the empirical evidence is mounting up, there’s simply no more excuses not to act.


So we wanted to highlight five-star players actively helping to nurture diverse breakthrough talent, propelling under-represented groups into leadership positions, and making diversity a revenue-raising reality in businesses today…


The Hg Foundation


Dawn Marriott, Partner at Hg and Boardwave Patron.

The Hg Foundation, a charity aimed at harnessing diverse talent for the future tech workforce, is smashing through the industry’s recruitment barriers at the ground floor. The charity is helping under-represented groups to access high-quality jobs in tech, by building the pipeline from secondary school all the way through to entry to the workplace and beyond.


Providing funding and operational support to education and employment-based programmes across the UK, Europe and the US with measurable, long-term and scalable impact, the Foundation’s ambition is to commit up to $50m by 2026. It has already funded schemes that will support over 15,000 young people and adults.


10,000 Black Interns


Wol Kolade, Founder and Managing Partner of Livingbridge and Boardwave Patron.

Founded by Wol Kolade, a founding Partner at global private equity firm Livingbridge, 10,000 Black Interns began life as an open letter written in June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd. The letter created a stir and grabbed the attention of Jonathan Sorrell, president of investment management firm Capstone. Discussion between the pair about what could be done to improve groundfloor recruitment in their industry led to the creation of the 10,000 Black Interns charity.


At first, the aim was to call five people they knew and persuade them to take on a black intern for six weeks of paid work. That happened quickly, so they decided to up their target to 50, then 100 - until, with the project snowballing, they upped the goal to 10,000 students over five years.


The project is well on course to hit that target early, and is not resting on its laurels either. In October last year it announced that it was launching a new programme for disabled students, starting with a plan to secure 100 internships for disabled students in the summer of 2023, growing to 10,000 over time.

BYP Network


Kike Oniwinde Agoro, Founder and CEO of BYP Network and Boardwave Nextwaver.

BYP Network was founded by the need to connect Black professionals and students from all over the world for role model visibility, career opportunities, business support - and to fundamentally change the narrative. Led by Kike Oniwinde Agoro, the organisation is moving the needle for diversity in a major way: through their AI-powered platform 'Javelin', BYP connects Black professionals to personalised career opportunities such as jobs, mentorship, events & content based on their career goals.


lollipop mentoring


Maria McDowell, Founder of lollipop mentoring.

Founded by digital leader and mentor, Maria McDowell, non-profit CIC lollipop mentoring is doing crucial work to nurture and promote Black female talent, creating an equal playing field by providing Black women access to mentors and sponsors from diverse backgrounds.


Tech Talent Charter

Turning principles into reality, the TTC is making diversity a data-driven science, and helping companies hold themselves - and each other - to account. The not-for-profit charity is enabling organisations to gain a better understanding of where they are on their DEI journey through dynamic benchmarking, with a new tool that allows companies to input their diversity figures and see how they compare to other organisations of the same size in their region and sector.


One of the founding tenets of the Tech Talent Charter is the importance of data and accountability, so much so that if a company fails to provide TTC with the information required from them, they are removed as a signatory.


Diversity in business isn’t charity - it’s a competitive advantage. As McKinsey & Company proved earlier this year, companies with diverse leadership teams are more likely to have above-average financial returns. Specifically, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have above-average financial returns than companies in the bottom quartile.

Alas, for some, a ‘worthy cause’ will never be enough of a pull. But when a worthy cause also happens to generate revenue and success for businesses? That’s what we call a ‘no brainer’.

To support Boardwave’s mission to pave the way for the next generation of diverse talent in tech and learn more about these initiatives and how you might get connected, please email boardwaver@boardwave.org.



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