A new global initiative backed by Hillary Rodham Clinton has promised to address the lack of funding for underrepresented founders in tech.
As part of London Tech Week, the EQL:Pledge, launched today, is calling on investors to commit an amount, or percentage, of funding to entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds – including women, people of colour and the LGBTQIA+ community.
The pledge will then connect founders to the investors via a public pitch deck library.
It comes as the gap between founders becomes wider and wider. In 2021, 82 per cent of US VC dollars were awarded to male-only teams, with female and male founding teams awarded 15.6 per cent.
And, despite a study based on data from US Census Bureau, Dow Jones and the Harvard Business Review showing that female-owned firms generate higher revenues and create more jobs, and that women are more effective in senior leadership roles, just two per cent of VC dollars in the US went to female founders in 2021.
Not only is this the smallest share since 2016, but it is the second year in a row that this figure has shrunk.
Meanwhile, according to Fortune, Black women founders took just 0.27 per cent of all VC in the US and 0.24 per cent in the UK. It is believed that less than one per cent. is directed to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Speaking at the pre-launch event earlier this month, Clinton said diversity must remain “high-priority” for venture capital funding, especially with a growing “backlash” against the advancement of women and girls in particular.
The initiative is also backed by Amadeus chief Anne Glover and Cherie Blair CBE, QC, and Founder Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.
Commenting on the move, Blair said : “At the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, we see the incredible power of women-owned businesses in low- and middle-income countries where we work, from Vietnam to Nigeria to India, every day. And yet, the women entrepreneurs we support continually tell us that the biggest barrier they face is a lack of access to finance.
“When women are able to start, run and sustain successful businesses, they invest back into their families and communities, they create jobs, they innovate, they boost their economies, and they change the world for the better. It’s high time to recognise their enormous potential and to invest in unlocking it through vital initiatives like the EQL:Pledge.”