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120+ diversity in tech communities in Europe

An ever-growing list of schemes and networks which support diverse and underrepresented founders in Europe's tech ecosystem.

By Amy Lewin

Attendees of a roundtable discussion on BAME entrepreneurship at Number 10, organised by Foundervine

The bad news: Europe’s tech scene has a well-known diversity problem.

The good news: over the past few years, a host of new initiatives — from accelerator programmes to support networks, grant schemes to events — have sprung up to boost the numbers of women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ people starting and growing companies across the continent. There are also communities that work on upskilling those from diverse backgrounds, empower migrants and refugees and engage young people in tech.

Here is a living list of those 120 initiatives. Let us know who we’ve missed and we’ll add them.

General

Czechitas — Czech Republic

Non-profit aiming to increase diversity in the tech sector through education and workshop initiatives.

Diverse and Equal — UK

A two-day conference on diversity and inclusion, held in Manchester.

Diversidays — France 

An organisation promoting social, cultural and ethnic diversity in the digital sphere — through training and mentoring, running events and engaging with economic and political decision makers across France. 

Diversify Tech

This newsletter-based initiative connects a 10k-strong network of members with companies to work for, scholarships, relevant events and speaking opportunities. Through a separate newsletter it also gives those companies a space to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion. There are six newsletters, including a student edition and a newsletter for allies to learn how to advocate for underrepresented groups in their workplace and sector.

Diversity & Inclusion in Tech

DINT is a free online global community set up to make connections between people who care about diversity and inclusion in tech. DINT hosts a virtual meetup on the last Thursday of the month, and has a Slack group for day-to-day contact and conversation.

Global D&I Knowledge Community

A safe environment with driven D&I champions sharing knowledge. Consists of a mix of founders of tech startups solving D&I challenges, corporates, NGOs, educational institutions, as well as D&I experts and up-and-coming D&I professionals.

Google for Startups — UK

Google’s London Campus supports diversity in tech. It regularly hosts #poctech meetups, Black and Good (a community for black social innovators), Womxn, Series Q (a network for LGBTQ people at startups) and YSYS events. 

Hustle Crew — UK

A for-profit social enterprise working to promote inclusivity in the tech sector, through talks, training and mentorship, run by Abadesi Osunsade.

A movement challenging Finnish fast-growing tech companies to report their diversity data. Their website brings together studies and best practices for improving diversity in business.

Aims to “dispel certain myths about the tech/STEM industry” and make it as inclusive an industry as possible. 

TechFace — Switzerland

A recruitment site with a diversity focus, connecting companies and candidates in tech. Their catchphrase is “making tech more colourful” and they assess companies for culture and commitment to diversity before engaging.

WOW Dinner — Germany

A networking dinner series, promoting diversity and inclusion in tech. It’s active in several countries around the world, including Spain, France, the UK, Portugal and Germany.

Founders

Autoempleo Incorpora — Spain

A programme by Obra Social la Caixa that provides free advice to low-income and low-resource entrepreneurs (for example, people with disabilities, long-term unemployed, youth at risk of exclusion, gender violence victims, immigrants and former prisoners), and accompanies them through the founding process. They analyse the viability of the project and help find funds.

Foundervine — UK

Started in 2018, Foundervine “helps diverse entrepreneurs build startups from scratch”. It runs a startup-building programme, educational masterclasses, festivals and training for corporates around the UK. It also runs a mentoring programme for young entrepreneurs; get involved here.

Attendees of a roundtable discussion on BAME entrepreneurship at Number 10, organised by Foundervine.

The Intrapreneurs Club — UK

The Intrapreneurs Club partners with big companies to run accelerator programmes for diverse tech talent.

La French Tech Tremplin — France

A two-part programme from government-backed organisation La French Tech to support aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups in 13 regions. 

The first phase — “Prepa” — helps founders prototype and test their business idea, supported by a €17k grant. The second phase, “Incubation”, is for early-stage businesses, and includes membership of a partner accelerator, access to financial and business experts, and introductions to investors and stakeholders. The first cohort is currently underway.

OneTech — UK

Supports underrepresented founders in London with everything from startup weekends to mentoring and free workspace. 

YSYS — UK

Short for ‘Your Startup, Your Story’, YSYS is a community for founders and others working in tech who are interested in promoting diversity in the ecosystem. It hosts an extremely collaborative Slack community, runs a pre-accelerator to help 18 to 24 year olds launch businesses and TalentDoor, a series of career-focused workshops for diverse talent.

Venture capital and investing

Angel Investing School

The Angel Investing School, run by Andy Ayim, provides online webinars led by experienced angels, alongside a network of angels at a range of levels. It’s been backed by Google for Startups and the UK Business Angels Association. For £495 you can sign up for the next programme, which starts in September 2021.

Diversity VC

Diversity VC is a non-profit organisation focused on — you guessed it — diversity, or the lack thereof, in venture capital. Sign up to gain access to its network as well as the ‘Pathway’, where it connects members with VC firms seeking to diversify their teams. Job postings are available for all to view, as well as reports on the state of diversity in VC.

Future VC

Part of Diversity VC, this is a London-based internship and development programme which facilitates paid placements at top VC firms across Europe and the US, as well as preparatory masterclasses and personal development sessions. Its 2020 programme was 49% BAME, 47% women, 14% of whom have received social welfare and 20% of whom were the first in their family to go to university.

Included VC

A nine-month, fully-funded VC fellowship which includes masterclasses, mentors, coaching, simulation investment committees and in-person retreats. It’s sponsored by a range of companies and has partnered with several VC firms, including Notion Capital, Seedcamp and Mangrove Capital — and designed to increase representation in VC across “any gender, ethnicity, geography, upbringing, age, neurodiversity, disability or belief system.” Sifted covered the fellowship earlier this year.

Newton Venture Programme

Newton is an initiative co-led by the London Business School and LocalGlobe VC. Its key aim is to make early-stage investing accessible to all through an investor training programme. It claims to be different from other VC training programmes in that it brings in academics for drills in key areas like strategy and finance, as well as bridging gaps in connection and knowledge between research and investment institutions. Interested? You can join the waitlist here and read Sifted’s coverage of the initiative here.

African tech

Afrobytes — France

An annual event which brings together founders, investors, academics, industry and more to explore business opportunities in Africa’s tech ecosystem. 

Pangea Accelerator 

Pangea is a Norway-based accelerator program and an investment platform that matches African startups with investors. 

AI, coding and programming

23 Code Street — UK

A coding school for women and non-binary people which runs in-person courses in London and a series of webinars. 

Adalab — Spain

Spain-based Adalab is a digital training school for women which offers a 12-week intensive training course in front-end web programming. Courses are either online or a mixture of online and in-person teaching, and includes HTML5, CSS3, Flexbox, CSS Grid, SASS, Bootstrap, Javascript, Git, Node JS and more. Adalab also supports students in their job search, providing a personal mentor and a week dedicated to increasing employability — and alumni have gone on to work for companies like Amazon, Accenture and Spotahome.

AllWomen — Spain

This Barcelona-based initiative is an AI training campus dedicated to women in tech. It offers data science, UX/UI design, and product management courses for women, by women.

Codebar

Codebar is a charity that runs free and regular programming workshops for underrepresented groups in the tech sector. It’s run over 1.5k workshops to date, is present across in 28 chapters and its network of 5k coaches have reached over 12k students.

Code First Girls — UK

Launched in 2015 by Entrepreneur First cofounders Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, Code First Girls is a community interest organisation providing free coding courses to women and non-binaries. So far it has taught over 16k women to code, and it also helps women find jobs at tech companies.

Coders of Colour — UK

Inspiring underrepresented teens of colour to pursue careers in tech, through events and workshops. 

Code to Change — The Netherlands 

They’re looking to provide women with the skills to succeed in the job market. They host a mentorship programme and lots of events in Amsterdam. Here’s their meetup group.

django girls 

Volunteer-run organisation hosting hundreds of events across Europe and beyond teaching women to build their first web application using HTML, CSS, Python and Django.

Girl Code — The Netherlands 

A group looking to close the gender gap in code. They host meetups for coders and everyone interested in code (men are welcome too!).

Hack’n’Lead — Switzerland

Switzerland’s first women-friendly hackathon. 

Hach’n’Lead, the first women-friendly hackathon in Switzerland.

MAMA.codes — UK

As part of a wave of getting kids into coding, this initiative provides coding workshops for kids from age three to 11. It was cofounded by three London-based mothers in 2017, and its teaching team — 75% women and 44% from a “diverse background” — has since taught 3k kids to code, including 1k during the pandemic.

Pyladies 

An international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. They have a series of meetups and/or a Facebook group for most countries in Europe (as well as elsewhere across the world).

Rails Girls 

Helps girls and women learn sketching, prototyping, basic programming and get introduced to the world of technology. Rails Girls was born in Finland, but nowadays is a global, non-profit volunteer community.

Rubik

Rubik’s a startup dedicated to upskilling those from underrepresented groups in software development and data engineering — particularly focused on payments, fintech more generally and the gaming industry. Partnering with universities around the world, it assesses and connects graduates with companies in those sectors, as well as supporting their onboarding procedures.

Women in AI 

A community-driven initiative bringing empowerment, knowledge and active collaboration via education, research, events (across Europe and beyond) and blogging. Their mission is to increase female representation and participation in AI. 

Disabilities and neurodivergence

Tech For disAbility — UK

An offshoot of Tech London Advocates, Tech For disAbility promotes the belief that innovation can both benefit disabled communities and increase inclusion in startups. It does this in three ways: demonstrating new and emerging technologies; showcasing those startups; and leveraging disabled communities to improve tech and the industry’s culture.

ThisAbility — UK

A consultancy, founded in 2016, which works to empower disabled creatives.

Sexuality

Lesbians Who Tech 

This group is a big community (50k+ including allies) based in the US that is expanding to Europe. They host lots of summits and events and have a coding scholarship programme. 

Race and ethnicity

10×10 — UK

A WhatsApp community for black founders and investors which has been growing through word-of-mouth since 2015. 

Afrotech Fest — UK

“A tech festival by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage.” Held annually in London.

Afrotech Festival held at Rich Mix, London in 2019.

Asian Tech — UK

An annually updated list showcasing Asian women and men working in the UK tech sector. 

BYP Network — UK

Dubbed as “LinkedIn for black professionals”, BYP holds conferences, hosts a jobs board and runs a networking app, all to help young black professionals meet and support one another. 

Kike Oniwinde, founder of BYP Network.

Colorintech — UK

A non-profit organisation founded in 2016 which aims to increase the number of ethnic minorities entering the UK’s tech workforce. It runs four programmes, including a pre-accelerator, an internship scheme for university students and a coding event for school students.

MSDUK — UK

A company which connects ethnic-minority owned businesses with global corporates. Based in Leicester. 

Sonaaar

Sonaaar is a platform which connects Black community leaders to a diaspora of professionals worldwide. Community organisers, professionals and allies can sign up and learn more about the work of Black communities and companies everywhere — currently its based in six different countries in Europe. The network is currently in beta, but you can join their very active waiting list here.

Tech In Colour

Focused on tech in Berlin and Paris, Tech In Colour is a network for tech leaders from underrepresented ethnicities and racial backgrounds. By joining the network, you’ll gain access to seminars exploring the tech ecosystem, tech talk sessions covering everything from IoT to VR and gaming, and professional workshops.

UKBlackTech — UK

An independent organisation aiming to increase the number of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds working in tech, and founding tech businesses. It offers employer training, university programmes and mentorship.

Witty Careers — UK

Hosts events at tech companies (such as Uber and Microsoft) for black and ethnic minority women, and also offers career support, through mentorship and resources.

Religion

Muslamicmakers

A meetup event for Muslims (and non-Muslims) to discuss, pitch and share ideas. 

Migrants and refugees

Capacity — Switzerland

A business incubator for people with a refugee or migrant background. It also runs workshops and training and mentoring schemes. 

Charge Accelerator — Norway

Charge is a 12-month startup incubator for first generation immigrants.

Migration Hub Network — Germany

With hubs in Heidelberg and Berlin, the Migration Hub Network supports social innovators by providing training, mentorship, events and physical spaces where “migrapreneurs” can base their operations. Migration Hub defines its objective as to “support migrants in building their own opportunities”.

Paz.ai — Spain

Founded by three Spanish entrepreneurs, this group provides training in tech skills to kids, teenagers and young adults in refugee camps, to unlock their digital talent and connect with companies that need these types of skills. 

ReDI School of Digital Integration — Germany

A non-profit school that, among many things, runs technology workshops, offers online courses, organises company and conference field trips, and provides career counselling to primarily individuals of migrant or refugee backgrounds. ReDI has schools in Berlin, Munich and Copenhagen.

The Shortcut — Finland

A talent accelerator in Helsinki, which aims to provide the startup community with the skilled talent it needs. It does this by helping skilled immigrants move into tech, running training programmes with corporate partners for people to learn new skills or improve those they have, and encouraging talent to consider a career in tech.

SINGA Business Lab — Germany

Operating in Berlin and Stuttgart, SINGA Business Lab is an incubator affiliated with the non-governmental organisations SINGA Deutschland that links local professionals with entrepreneurs from migrant or refugee backgrounds to develop their ideas into innovative businesses. Past projects include Niuversity, an online education platform that teaches professional skills in Arabic.

Singa France — France

An organisation which supports refugees by, among other things, helping them launch businesses. Active in eight cities across France.

Socioeconomic backgrounds

Fighters Programme — France

A free one-year programme for founders of early-stage startups from underprivileged backgrounds. Run by startup mega campus Station F in Paris.

Members of the first cohort of the Station F Fighters Programme

Les Determinés — France

Founded in 2015, this non-profit organisation offers entrepreneurs in suburban and rural areas training and workshops. 

Startup Banlieue — France

An association formed in 2017 that hopes to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs in the suburbs. It runs mentoring programmes and events.

Women

300Seconds — UK

Helps women in tech gain public speaking experience and skills, to counter the underrepresentation of women onstage at conferences.

50inTech

A platform which aims to support women in tech — through educational podcasts, networking and working with industry stakeholders — and reach an equal gender balance in tech by 2050.

accelerateHER — UK

Born out of the founders’ network Founders Forum, accelerateHER is a programme to empower women in tech. It runs a series of festivals and conferences for women around the world, and counts Cherie Blair, Justine Roberts and Martha Lane Fox as advisors.

Ada’s List — UK

A global online community for women in tech, founded in 2013 and run by a team of volunteers in London. Also holds an annual conference.

AnitaB.org

A global organisation that is known for the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), a massive gathering of women technologists. There are are a series of AnitaB.org local communities in various cities.

A Woman’s Place — Sweden

An initiative by the City of Stockholm to support equal opportunities for women and men. Over 100 tech companies have joined and declared themselves ‘A Woman’s Place’, including local unicorns Spotify, Klarna, iZettle and King. Its website has resources for all companies looking to improve their gender equality.

#BcnTech4Women — Spain

A working group to promote the voices of women in the Barcelona tech community, under the umbrella of Barcelona Tech City, a non-profit organisation of more than 800 companies.

TLA Black Women in Tech — UK

An advocacy group for better gender balance and equality in tech.

EIT Health’s Women Entrepreneurship Bootcamp

Funded by the European Union, this seven-week healthtech and biotech-focused programme runs in Galway in Ireland, Coimbra in Portugal, Barcelona and London. During the bootcamp, female founders can access training, 1-to-1s with senior founders and two pitch events. Any female founder who’s already generating revenue, actively seeking between €500k to €5m in growth capital and focused on any medical tech is eligible to apply.

Eje&Con — Spain

A Spanish association of women executives, chief executives and managing directors, whose goal is to increase the number of women in senior management positions as well as in corporates’ boards of directors.

EWPN (European Women Payments Network)

A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building a community for women in cards, fintech and payments in Europe, which organises local networking evenings, workshops, annual events, awards and research.

Female Ventures — The Netherlands

Currently active in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft, Utrecht and Eindhoven, Female Ventures supports women in leadership roles with an online community, one-on-one mentorship and events. It also supports the Fundright initiative.

Femstreet

Femstreet began as a newsletter for female founders and investors, and has grown into a global community, with events in the US and Europe, and an invite-only Slack community for active newsletter readers. 

Future Girl Corp — UK

A community for “f

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Kave
Kave

We have also BlackinTechBerlin —> http://www.blackintechberlin.com and Talent Diverse —-> http://www.talentdiverse.com

Lina
Lina

Hello – It would be great to include Delivery Hero’s Tech Academy in this updated list as well 🙂 https://careers.deliveryhero.com/global/en/techacademy.

Florian
Florian

Great list, but very disappointing to see that https://codebar.io is missing, a charity that facilitates the growth of a diverse tech community by running free regular programming workshops for minority groups in tech.

They’ve run 1525 workshops in 28 chapters globally to date and reached 12,806 students with a network of 5000+ coaches.

Pavlína Louženská
Pavlína Louženská

I have started 6 years ago #GirlsinMarketing. Currently 22 000+ women strong initiative that supports women who work in marketing, technolology and business. We operate in the Czech Republic, even though we have ambassadors in the UK or Germany. http://holkyzmarketingu.cz/

Darcy Whelan
Darcy Whelan

Outward VC + Investec Bank have an initiative called Upwards, a bespoke D&I initiative for underrepresented founders. Founders and their teams receive free office space for 4 months at Investec’s offices + access to as much help from around the bank and Outward’s VC team. By taking on one team at a time, the initiative allows for the experience to be centered on the team’s needs + advice and networking gaps.

Ida Bjerga
Ida Bjerga

Hi guys! Would have loved to have seen http://www.nordicsportstech.com on the list. A community for the sports tech ecosystem in the nordics.

Rodney
Rodney

Also check out Cornerstone Partners (https://www.cornerstonepartners.co.uk). It’s one of the first angel networks exclusively focused on investing in black owned or run businesses. It invests between £25k and £100k and is completely sector agnostic. It also runs an annual scale up program hosted at Level39 for post revenue businesses.

Tina
Tina

Check out Women in AI: https://www.womeninai.co/ – A global do-tank working towards gender-inclusive AI that benefits global society.

Contributor
Contributor

Check out Cornerstone Partners as well. Angel Investor Network for black owned businesses in the U.K. https://instagram.com/cornerstone_partners?igshid=14ihb2a6t313j

https://www.cornerstonepartners.co.uk/

Brian Marrinan
Brian Marrinan

Also check out Female High Fliers (https://ryanacademy.ie/portfolio/female-high-fliers/) in Ireland. It’s a free, government-backed accelerator for women founders with bright ideas. It’s one of the reasons why the Irish state agency for entrepreneurship (Enterprise Ireland) was able to increase its investment in women-led startups in Ireland from less than 10% to more than 25% in just two years!