The bad news: Europe’s tech scene has a well-known diversity problem.
The good news: over the past few years, a host of new initiatives — from accelerator programmes to support networks, grant schemes to events — have sprung up to boost the numbers of women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ people starting and growing companies across the continent.
Here is a living list of those initiatives. Let us know who we’ve missed and we’ll add them.
A community-driven initiative bringing empowerment, knowledge and active collaboration via education, research, events (across Europe and beyond) and blogging.Their mission is to increase female representation and participation in artificial intelligence.
Femstreet began as a newsletter for female founders and investors, and has grown into a global community, with events in the US and Europe, and an invite-only Slack community for active newsletter readers.
Non-profit dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering women and girls with the necessary skills to succeed in STEM career fields. Their work includes education in schools as well as mentoring, incubation and acceleration camps, networking events and research. Events are located across Europe.
An international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. They have a series of meetups and/or a Facebook group for most countries in Europe (as well as elsewhere across the world).
A community of senior women investors from across Europe (managing partners, founders of VC funds and business angels). Their mission is to strengthen the presence of women in the VC industry in Europe.
A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a community for women in cards, fintech and payments in Europe, which organises local networking evenings, workshops, annual events, awards and research.
A safe environment with driven D&I champions sharing knowledge. Consists of a mix of founders of tech startups solving D&I challenges, corporates, NGOs, educational institutions, as well as D&I experts and up-and-coming D&I professionals.
A diversity and inclusion platform founded by Furkan Karayel that provides diversity news, consultancy services and events. It helps develop sustainable strategies for companies to make equal and happier workplaces with its 20+ ambassadors from all over the world.
DINT is a free online global community set up to make connections between people who care about diversity and inclusion in tech. DINT hosts a virtual meetup on the last Thursday of the month, and has a Slack group for day-to-day contact and conversation.
A grant scheme from London co-working space and community TechHub. It is offering free membership to 30 founders from underrepresented backgrounds to its business support programme and workspace, along with access to its network of mentors and investors.
An independent organisation aiming to increase the number of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds working in tech, and founding tech businesses. It offers employer training, university programmes and mentorship.
Short for ‘Your Startup, Your Story’, YSYS is a community for founders and others working in tech who are interested in promoting diversity in the ecosystem. It hosts an extremely collaborative Slack community, runs a pre-accelerator to help 18-24 year olds launch businesses and TalentDoor, a series of career-focused workshops for diverse talent.
Started in 2018, Foundervine “helps diverse entrepreneurs build startups from scratch”. It runs a startup-building programme, educational masterclasses, festivals and training for corporates around the UK. It also runs a mentoring programme for young entrepreneurs; get involved here.
Attendees of a roundtable discussion on BAME entrepreneurship at Number 10, organised by Foundervine.
A non-profit organisation founded in 2016 which aims to increase the number of ethnic minorities entering the UK’s tech workforce. It runs four programmes, including a pre-accelerator, an internship scheme for university students and a coding event for school students.
A community for “future female CEOs”, founded by serial entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid, which runs ad-hoc events. It also has an active Facebook group where members ask for and give each other business support.
Launched in 2015 by Entrepreneur First cofounders Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, Code First Girls community interest organisation providing free coding courses to women and non-binaries. So far it has taught over 16,000 women to code, and it also helps women find jobs at tech companies.
A collective for BAME women working and interested in STEAM due to the lack of representation, support and progression for underrepresented groups within tech. They host monthly events that provide safe spaces to discuss gender and racial issues across London, using human-centred design methodologies.
WTF stands for Women’s Tech Focus. A support network for women working in, or interested in technology. They organise events/workshops in London (…and soon Amsterdam) and are looking to provide a safe place for sharing or getting advice.
A two-part programme from government-backed organisation La French Tech to support aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups in 13 regions.
The first phase — “Prepa” — helps founders prototype and test their business idea, supported by a €17,000 grant. The second phase, “Incubation”, is for early-stage businesses, and includes membership of a partner accelerator, access to financial and business experts, and introductions to investors and stakeholders. The first cohort is currently underway.
An organisation promoting social, cultural and ethnic diversity in the digital sphere — through training and mentoring, running events and engaging with economic and political decision makers across France.
An incubator for female founders which runs several programmes across France, catering to different business stages and sectors. It also runs programmes for corporates and “intrapreneurs” — those innovating within a business.
Group supporting entrepreneurs from Paris’ banlieue. It brings together entrepreneurs and investors, promotes role models, demystifies the world of technology and looks for new ways to make the ecosystem more inclusive.
Community of leaders from around the world who are dedicated to supporting one another via executive coaching, global expeditions, impact accelerators and personal boards (groups of women from across sectors who get together to serve as each other’s ongoing “Personal Board of Directors”).
Currently active in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft, Utrecht and Eindhoven, Female Ventures supports women in leadership roles with an online community, one-on-one mentorship and events. It also supports the Fundright initiative.
An intentionally inclusive accelerator for women-led startups that focus on social impact or tech. Provides communication and confidence training as well as giving access to capital and important business tools.
Helps girls and women learn sketching, prototyping, basic programming and get introduced to the world of technology. Rails Girls was born in Finland, but is nowadays a global, non-profit volunteer community.
An initiative backed by 25 Dutch VCs to improve both the gender balance within their own workforce and of the companies they invest in. (In 2017, less than 2% of venture capital in the Netherlands went to female founders.)
An initiative by the City of Stockholm to support equal opportunities for women and men. Over 100 tech companies have joined and declared themselves “A Woman’s Place”, including local unicorns Spotify, Klarna, iZettle and King. Its website has resources for all companies looking to improve their gender equality.
A Spanish association of women executives, chief executives and managing directors, whose goal is to increase the number of women in senior management positions as well as in corporates’ boards of directors.
Founded by three Spanish entrepreneurs, this group provides training in tech skills to kids, teenagers and young adults in refugee camps, to unlock their digital talent and connect with companies that need these types of skills.
A programme by Obra Social la Caixa that provides free advice to low-income and low-resource entrepreneurs (for example, people with disabilities, long-term unemployed, youth at risk of exclusion, gender violence victims, immigrants and former prisoners), and accompanies them through the founding process. They analyse the viability of the project and help find funds.
A recruitment site with a diversity focus, connecting companies and candidates in tech. Their catchphrase is “making tech more colourful” and they assess companies for culture and commitment to diversity before engaging.
A network of more than 1,600 women and men dedicated to greater diversity in tech and innovation. Currently has chapters in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Geneva, and is expanding into other cities in Switzerland and beyond.
A networking dinner series, promoting diversity and inclusion in tech. It’s active in several countries around the world, including Spain, France, the UK, Portugal and Germany. The first German edition of this dinner series, aimed at empowering women, will take place in September, in Cologne.
With hubs in Heidelberg and Berlin, the Migration Hub Network supports social innovators by providing training, mentorship, events and physical spaces where “migrapreneurs” can base their operations. Migration Hub defines its objective as to “support migrants in building their own opportunities”.
A non-profit school that, among many things, runs technology workshops, offers online courses, organises company and conference field trips, and provides career counselling to primarily individuals of migrant or refugee backgrounds. ReDI has schools in Berlin, Munich and Copenhagen.
Operating in Berlin and Stuttgart, SINGA Business Lab is an incubator affiliated with the non-governmental organisations SINGA Deutschland that links local professionals with entrepreneurs from migrant or refugee backgrounds to develop their ideas into innovative businesses. Past projects include Niuversity, an online education platform that teaches professional skills in Arabic.
Founded in 2014, Venture Ladies is a Berlin-based community and incubator designed to support women in startups and venture capital. In addition to various events and workshops, Venture Ladies hosts monthly meetups in either English or German depending on attendee preferences.
Non-profit organisation Wissensfabrik runs an annual programme offering startup founders a chance to meet with and be mentored by the CEOs of more established companies. This year it is looking for startups with at least one female founder.
A talent accelerator in Helsinki, which aims to provide the startup community with the skilled talent it needs. It does this by helping skilled immigrants move into tech, running training programmes with corporate partners for people to learn new skills or improve those they have, and encouraging talent to consider a career in tech.