Diversity is more than a buzzword. Many of America's greatest strengths come from its diverse population and wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and personal histories. However, discussions of diversity often focus on realms other than business leaders and founders. This blindspot can reduce equity and lead to investors missing crucial funding opportunities.
How Does Diversity Impact Entrepreneurship?
It's easy to believe that founding and operating a successful company occurs in a vacuum, without any influence from one's previous experiences and cultural background. However, any startup exists to fulfill particular needs and target particular demographics. Unfortunately, homogenous leadership groups often lack the knowledge and experience to understand the needs of those with different backgrounds.
The result is that a portfolio of projects with founders that come from similar cultural, ethnic, or economic backgrounds may not perform as well as a more diverse portfolio. This homogenous group of founders is likelier to share similar blindspots or lack the insights necessary to build products that appeal to wider groups. These companies may be less forward-thinking and less innovative.
In practical terms, a company that favors diversity tends to perform better. While it's easy to focus primarily on diversity at an employee level, it's ultimately a company culture issue that begins at the top. Diverse founders are more likely to create companies that value a diverse workforce, ultimately creating an environment more conducive to innovation, growth, and financial performance.
Why Should Venture Capital Firms Care?
It's common wisdom in personal investing that a diversified portfolio is safer and offers better returns than a homogenous one. When investing in new business projects, diversity takes on a different meaning. Selecting business founders from diverse backgrounds ensures that these investments aren't all attempting to solve the same issues or missing the same financial opportunities.
Businesses with more diverse entrepreneurs aren't just likely to perform better but also provide greater returns for their investors. Venture capital firms that allow their own biases to limit their investing opportunities risk missing out on potentially valuable opportunities while leaving these same investments on the table for other firms to capitalize on.
Ultimately, investing in diversity is a low-risk, high-reward strategy. The better performance and returns of more diverse founders are clear, and funding these entrepreneurs can provide a strong return on investment while supporting critical aspects of social progress. Investment firms that recognize these opportunities will be more likely to support America's next set of successful business leaders.
For more information on venture capital for diverse founders, contact a professional in your area.