Inclusive Entrepreneurship: It’s What We Practice and Believe

A study of inclusive entrepreneurship

Companies with diverse founders, leaders, advisors, and teams achieve better financial results. Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to out-perform; gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to exceed their peers[i].

At Rev1, we take these results to heart. We are diverse. The diversity of our portfolio companies is four times industry averages for technology-based startups and at 44 percent among Rev1 Labs residents. Companies completing the Rev1 Customer Learning Lab are more than 50 percent diverse.

We have more to accomplish, but we are making progress. We have published a white paper, IInclusive Entrepreneurship: Growing the Startup Economy through the Power of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, which discusses the challenges and opportunities for accelerating startup success by providing a more inclusive high-growth startup community and ecosystem, which we call Inclusive Entrepreneurship.

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Turning a startup into a successful high-growth business is a constant race against time. Superior execution depends on creative, tenacious startup teams. As an industry, we cannot afford to ignore or discourage talent. We need to attract and keep the best of the best.

Talented people are drawn to environments where they believe they might fit. High-tech can be an exclusive, macho, and even potentially abusive world (as we have seen in recent first-hand accounts and company reports).

The venture capital industry is going through appropriate and necessary soul-searching right now. It is incumbent upon all of us to discuss the current environment with intellectual honesty and transparency and then to seize this exact moment as an opportunity to foster change.

Creating respectful and inclusive environments for all associates is the right thing to do. As many of us have experienced, it is also the smart thing to do. Diverse companies achieve better financial results, outperforming industry norms by more than 35 percent.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship leverages the economic potential of untapped talent and market opportunities represented by the diversity of all types (gender, race/color, ethnicity, national origin, cultural beliefs, sexual orientation, age, social or economic status, and experiences), with an emphasis on women-led, minority-led, and veteran-led companies.

We believe this is a contributing factor to making Rev1 Ventures the #1 VC in the Great Lakes region for three consecutive years and to us being named #1 at Scaling Startups by the Kauffman Foundation.

When we are intentional and expect it to be nothing less, culture can become very diverse, inclusive, and welcoming. In a culture where an organization is intentionally and comfortably diverse and inclusive at its core, all other efforts—eliminating selection bias, program and process design, and recruitment create a framework of inclusion where all cohorts “feel” that they are part of the whole and are motivated to do their best.

[i] Diversity Matters, McKinsey & Company