Dear startups, 

We need your help. Today is Diversity Day, and while everyone seems to have an opinion about it, let’s face it – we just don’t know enough to start a meaningful discussion: where is the data? 

Almost 25% of Dutch residents have a migration background. Yet, we usually see young, white males in the average startup network. We cannot deny startups have a diversity problem, but at the moment we don’t know anything more than that. What is the current state of diversity and inclusion in the Dutch startup scene and how can we make changes for the better? 

DSA promotes the success of all startups regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability and therefore wants to draw attention to the current lack of insights into diversity in the Dutch startup sector. A month ago, DSA launched an extensive research project, which includes the first survey ever to focus on the employees of startups (where other research tends to focus on VC’s and founders). This research goes beyond gender,  and measures ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, political view, socio-economic background and language. Since startups are the most important economic engine of job creation, adopting diversity and inclusion at an early stage is more relevant than ever. 

Nearly 200 startups participated in our study, and that’s great! But it’s not enough. We want to take this beyond general statements about the entire ecosystem, we want to take this beyond assumptions and we want to take this beyond default conclusions. Filling this data gap can lead to a ripple effect in who is speaking up, what technologies are built and ultimately who is leading the incumbents of the future. We want to truly understand which diversity and inclusion policies are successful, how startups can learn from each other and what kind of action they need to take to become better.

When we signed our charter on diversity and inclusion last summer, this wasn’t just a symbolic effort. We pledged to take action to a more diverse ecosystem and to stimulate others in our ecosystem to do the same. Using this diversity and inclusion research we want to start more informed conversations and prompt Dutch startups to take action accordingly.

Whether you are a startup founder or employee, we ask you to participate in this movement, and take part in enriching the knowledge we have on the current ecosystem. You can register to join the research by contacting Daria Malareva, Project Manager at DSA (daria@dutchstartupassociation.nl). 

“Startups are the companies of the future. If we stimulate diversity and inclusion in the beginning, it will create more diverse and inclusive corporations in the future. The impact will be huge”, – Thomas Vles, director at DSA.

Let’s diversify the ecosystem, together.

Dutch Startup Association