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20 October 2021

Innovation Hubs for More Diverse and Inclusive Cities

More than half the world’s population currently lives in cities – a proportion that will reach 70% by 2050 – which account for approximately 80% of GDP generated worldwide. But increasing inequality and exclusion in urban areas are undermining development progress – and threatening many lives.

We need to create more inclusive cities – to make sure they provide equal rights and opportunities, as well as better living conditions for all.

Entrepreneurs are reinventing the future

Entrepreneurs are not only reinventing the future through innovative solutions, but they are also positively impacting the present by playing a role in creating decent work opportunities and economic growth. However, there’s still much to be done to ensure that companies take a systematic approach and bold steps to strengthen inclusion and promote diversity across the globe.

There is plenty of evidence that diverse and inclusive businesses are more likely to make better, bolder decisions, radically innovate and enhance financial performance. As an example of this: businesses with above-average gender and racial/ethnic diversity in leadership roles are eight times more likely to be in the top 10% of organizations for financial performance, according to DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast Diversity & Inclusion Report 2020.

Actions in support of diversity and inclusion

What actions can businesses take to celebrate and support diversity and inclusion in innovative ways – both in their work and their workplace? How to ensure that they are effectively engaging their teams and partners in creating a long-lasting inclusive culture? What practices do the most diverse organizations engage in?

In this LIVE with Impact Hub event, we learnt about examples of the work we are developing at the Impact Hub Network, both locally and globally, to build more just and inclusive societies.

Either through our inclusive entrepreneurship support programs, within our community of impact-driven entrepreneurs, creators, and innovators, or by co-creating inclusive entrepreneurship policy frameworks, we are determined to enable inclusive and sustainable innovation at scale – and build an inclusive work environment where diversity is fostered, respected and celebrated.

Both Grace Rodriguez, CEO and Executive Director of Impact Hub Houstonand Kamran Rashid, Co-Founder and CEO of Impact Hub Bradford, shared examples of how some of their members are making a difference in creating a more inclusive world and addressing the need for a more diverse representation and support of underrepresented communities in their local ecosystems.

Fozia Naseem, Co-Founder of Hop-On, works with South Asian women to strengthen their confidence and connect them to public services through cycling.” – Kamran Rashid.

“South Asian women in Bradford make up 75% of our employment market and they are significantly underserved and underrepresented in a lot of areas. Fozia Naseem, Co-Founder of Hop-On, works with these women to strengthen their confidence and connect them to public services through cycling”, Kamran explained about one of the Close the Gap program participants. “Ben McKenna, CEO of Solidaritech, works with refugees and asylum seekers to provide them with computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones donated by companies of all sizes – as well as individuals.” Thus, helping them to resolve their immigration status and improve their circumstances in their new country.

Jeff Miller, CEO of Potentia Workforce, helps people on the autism spectrum enter and better integrate into the workforce.” – Grace Rodriguez.

Grace named Jeff Miller, CEO of Potentia Workforce, who helps people on the autism spectrum enter and better integrate into the workforce “so that they can experience a sense of belonging, feel like they are part of their team and they are set up for success.” Also, Abe Chu, Co-founder & CMO at NextSeed, “one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the US.” Grace told us about the communities they have created to make sure that more diverse groups can support each other. For example, “the Female Founders community exists so that women can support other women entrepreneurs and make sure a more equitable progress can be made in that area.”

IISC_EqualityEquity_Impact Hub
Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire | Original concept: Craig Frohele

Our host Tapiwa Nyandoro, Africa Region Partnerships Lead at the Impact Hub Network, mentioned the fact that 75 % of the organisations that participated in PWC’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Survey believe diversity is a value or priority area for them and asked Talita Matos, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant, Co-Founder of Singuê and former CEO of Impact Hub Floripa, about how would she define DEI.

Talita explained that inclusion is about creating environments where people have a sense of connection and belonging. “Where they feel they can be themselves and are respected, valued and comfortable enough to participate and contribute”. Equity, on the other hand, is about being aware of the existing differences and removing barriers to provide equal opportunities, taking this into account. “It’s what’s really going to move the agenda forward and have a huge impact in society”, she stated.

Equity is what’s really going to move the agenda forward and have a huge impact in society” – Talita Matos.

Do you want to be part of the change? 

Join our global network of 24.000+ people driving change – made up of 100+ communities in 60+ countries across 5 continents – and tackling inequality through business. Learn how to bring Impact Hub to your city. *If you’re interested in rebranding your existing organization to join the global Impact Hub network, apply to the process by 3 November 2021!

Read our latest Global Impact Publication to learn more about our work in support of entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities and inclusive entrepreneurship.


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