Less Maximilians please starting base

The fledgling scene wants to act progressively, but it is not when it comes to diversity. It is only partly to blame for this. But he could do even more.

The startup scene is full of people doing good. They want to make our earth fairer, more sustainable, more efficient and a little more beautiful. They are sometimes ridiculed for this, and critics accuse many of them of having only their lofty goals in front of them until the first opportunity to leave. At the latest at that point, when the accusation, Bertolt Brecht will prevail, as is often the case in life: “First comes food and then morality.”

As convenient as this view is, it is nothing more than cynical. Many founders and startups believe in their vision, they really want to make a difference. For every fast ecommerce shack, there is at least one startup with a really good idea that’s worth the money and attention.

But there are unquestionable points where skeptics are right. One of the most painful is the field of diversity. Superficially, the start-up scene is fully involved in this issue, being “awake” is the factory scene. There is talk of gender, empowerment is used, every opportunity is used to announce that someone is one of the good guys. Only: It has little to do with practice. If you were creating the middle ground in the lab, his name would probably be Philipp or Maximilian, he would be around 30 and he had just set up a fintech in Berlin with two (of course male) fellow students from a business school doing something. with ETF savings credit cards.

This is a scandal in a country where 50.7 percent of people are women, 26 percent have an immigrant background, almost 10 percent are severely disabled and 68 percent live outside major cities. And these are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use.

Start-ups can not find the root of the problem

Greater diversity is not an end in itself, but an advantage. Why let’s be honest: the German start-up scene is inhabited by herd animals. There are always trends, in the past there were online retailers like Zalando, after N26 everyone wanted to open a neobank, recently we could not save ourselves from new food delivery services. This lack of ideas stems from the ancient principle of “follow the money” (because investors are not always creative either), but also from the fact that they often appear in circles of similar people with similar CVs in the same cities. By the way, the 20th Neobank is no longer improving the world either.

But how could anything really change here? The answer to this question is as complex as the issue of diversity itself and begins with an awkward realization: the fledgling industry itself cannot get to the root of the problem. Because women, people with an immigrant background and with disabilities or from a poor background experience discrimination in society as a whole. They have a bigger problem getting a good education, a bigger problem finding a home or a job. No amount of ambitious start-up initiatives can change that. This is where politics and society must begin, otherwise every superficial measure will disappear, from Girls’ Day in schools to the quota for women on Dax’s supervisory boards.

But that does not mean we have to sit back and relax. Because there is at least one very effective lever to support more people with different backgrounds in starting a company. give them more money After all, those who do not meet the standard type of founder rarely see venture capitalists pull out the checkbook. Initiatives such as Softbank’s Emerge Accelerator, which explicitly seeks to support diversity among founders, are even more important. Ή networks of investors and business angels gathered to promote the ideas of women founders who had not been discovered before and to share their experiences. All these ideas can help, they are more than nonsense, to quote the words of a former chancellor who has since fallen out of favor.

The only important thing is that start-ups use their growing influence in the business world to insist on the necessary fundamental changes. Quite often, activists complain that the “old” big companies do not use their undoubtedly existing influence to push them. Doing things differently would be a first sign that creating a “new generation of entrepreneurs” describes more than just a matter of age.

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