I always say that the Portland startup community is big enough to be statistically relevant, but not so large that you can’t move the needle. So the fact that our community is severely lacking in terms of diversity and inclusion presents both a problem and an opportunity for the community. Part of the solution must include ensuring that everyone has access to resources and support that give all entrepreneurs the greatest chance of success. That was the motivation behind Prosper Portland’s Inclusive Business Resource Network.
Nearly two years ago, Ryan Buchanan penned a post that accurately described the Portland business community as being “too white, too male.” But rather than simply pointing out the issue, he took his own call to arms and took action. With the announcement of the Portland Emerging Leaders Internship program.
As the Portland startup community works against the unfortunately predominant homogenous tech culture to take advantage of the opportunities availed by more diverse and inclusive teams, many companies are struggling to find ways of attracting and engaging with more diverse talent. A number of companies have sprung up to assist in this pursuit. Among them, ScoutSavvy. But if you’re looking for their help, you’ll want to search under their new name: forEach.
[Editor: This is a guest post from Jared Wiener, the software industry liaison for Prosper Portland (the organization formerly known as the Portland Development Commission (PDC)). As part of his role, he has helped manage the TechTown Portland program which includes the Diversity Pledge. Here, he provides an update on the progress with that program.]
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: It’s so much easier to build a diverse company from the ground up than it is to try to retroactively unwind a white dude company later. So the sooner startups start thinking about a diverse workforce, the better off they’ll be in the long run. And if you need help to think about that diversity? There’s a startup for that: ScoutSavvy.
It’s no secret that the Portland startup community has more than its fair share of virtual reality and augmented reality activity. But it’s only going to be a truly interesting, compelling, and vibrant with a variety of voices and experiences. That’s why it’s awesome to see folks like Kerri Lynne Thorp who are working to ensure that everyone feels welcome in this burgeoning community.
As the Portland startup community continues to work toward being more inclusive, a recent report from the Kapor Center couldn’t be more well-timed. The “Tech Leavers Study” captures evidence on why people “voluntarily” left jobs in the tech industry. The findings aren’t surprising. But the quantification of the detrimental impact of toxic startup cultures is. To the tune of $16 billion a year.
The timing is impeccable. Following one of the most poignant, moving, and momentous protests in US history, it seems perfect that a group of women from the Portland startup and investment communities is launching a new organization designed to help women founders in Oregon build amazing companies—and find the funding they need. Meet the XXcelerate Fund. Read More
Describing the Portland tech scene to anyone who hasn’t experienced it in person is difficult. We’ve got some of the same sorts of startups you might see in San Francisco, but we also have tech companies that follow their own path. Portland also has nonprofits, a strong open source community, and a meetup scene that larger cities struggle to match. (Seriously, count the number of meetups in town just related to the Python programming language.) As a result, we’re starting to see hints of diversity: entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds, products built for wider user bases, and conference with diverse lineups. Read More
Saying diversity and inclusion is a problem in the tech world is a staggering understatement. And when you live in the most infamously white city in the United States with an incredibly small tech and startup community, that issue is only exacerbated. Exponentially. That’s why I’m always happy to see how other folks are working to change that. Read More