Why did you sign the Diversity Commitment?
We signed the Diversity Commitment because we know that investing in diversity equals investing in a better future. With three out of four entrepreneurs in Denmark being men, we are missing out of a great potential in female founders and diverse teams. We in the Innovation Fund Denmark want to improve the inequality in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and we wish for a persistent change. Signing the Diversity Commitment is a way for us to obligate ourselves towards a more gender balanced startup environment in Denmark.
What are you hoping the initiative will lead to?
We hope that the initiative will lead to a more balanced entrepreneurial ecosystem where more female founders are represented and where investments are equally distributed in male and female entrepreneurial teams. We hope that by signing the Diversity Commitment we can lead the change and inspire other organizations to follow. As an early public investor we have a great responsibility to ensure equal treatment and ensure a diverse “deal flow” for later investors. The change must be driven early in the food chain.
What do you see as the biggest challenges in reaching the goals?
The biggest challenges in reaching the goals are the lack of female entrepreneurs, female investors or investors investing in women. As financial actors, we need to help establish an entrepreneurial environment where more women can see themselves. Not just because of the inequality but also because of the fact that we are missing out on a great financial potential in the lack of female founders. Another big challenge is the lack of female investors and the biases in the investment process. Therefore we as a fund need to focus on our own biases when investing in projects and help support more female investors in Denmark.
Where do you see that you as an organization can play the biggest role?
The Innovation Fund Denmark can play an important role in focusing on the challenge and lead the change by setting goals for our own organization that can inspire others in the ecosystem to follow. As a fund, we have the opportunity to influence the culture within the ecosystem and we do that among other things with bias training of our panels who also represent the startup ecosystem broadly. We as a fund need to focus on how to attract more female entrepreneurs and investors because we know that diversity is important if we want successful businesses on the long run. I think that our role is to set a good example to help the change move faster.
Who would like to see joining the initiative?
As many as possible from the ecosystem around Danish research, innovation and startups – both private and public.