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.
Here is a living list of those initiatives. Let us know who we’ve missed and we’ll add them.
Europe-wide diversity initiatives
A new 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.
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 artificial intelligence.
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.
A global community of ambitious entrepreneurs, investors and executives that has created its own fund to help close the gap on female funding.
A non-profit that aims to increase diversity in tech by making female role models in tech more visible.
Non-profit dedicated to educating, equipping and empowering women and girls with the necessary skills to succeed in STEM career fields. Their work includes education in schools as well as mentoring, incubation and acceleration camps, networking events and research. Events are located across Europe.
A project from the European Young Innovators Forum to help female founders build connections and meet investors.
This group is a big community (50,000+ including allies) based in the US that is expanding to Europe. They host lots of summits and events and have a coding scholarship programme.
A friendly, welcoming and collaborative community of women in UX, with a growing number of local groups based in cities worldwide (including 12 across Europe).
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).
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.
A community of senior women investors from across Europe (managing partners, founders of VC funds and business angels). Their mission is to strengthen the presence of women in the VC industry in Europe.
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.
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 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.
A diversity and inclusion platform founded by Furkan Karayel that provides diversity news, consultancy services and events. It helps develop sustainable strategies for companies to make equal and happier workplaces with its 20+ ambassadors from all over the world.
An international movement organising networking events for female entrepreneurs with European chapters in Algarve, Barcelona, Graz, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Berlin, London and Utrecht.
A community for recent graduates and university students from under-represented groups in tech.
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.
A for-profit social enterprise working to promote inclusivity in the tech sector, through talks, training and mentorship, run by Abadesi Osunsade.
A grant scheme from London co-working space and community TechHub. It is offering free membership to 30 founders from underrepresented backgrounds to its business support programme and workspace, along with access to its network of mentors and investors.
This social enterprise works with young women to inspire and support them into science, technology, engineering and maths careers.
A non-profit organisation that looks to elevate women in tech and entrepreneurship. It runs events and workshops.
A consultancy, founded in 2016, which works to empower disabled creatives.
A two-day conference on diversity and inclusion, held in Manchester.
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.
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 18-24 year olds launch businesses and TalentDoor, a series of career-focused workshops for diverse talent.
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.
Supports underrepresented founders in London with everything from startup weekends to mentoring and free workspace.
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.
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.
A WhatsApp community for black founders and investors which has been growing through word-of-mouth since 2015.
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.
A meetup event for Muslims (and non-Muslims) to discuss, pitch and share ideas.
An event for people from BAME backgrounds working on side projects.
“A tech festival by and for black people of African and Caribbean heritage.” Held annually in London.
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.
A community and co-working space for early-stage female founders, which runs regular practical events and workshops, along with an annual conference.
A community for “future female CEOs”, founded by serial entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid, which runs ad-hoc events. It also has an active Facebook group where members ask for and give each other business support.
A coding school for women and non-binary people which runs in-person courses in London and a series of webinars.
Launched in 2015 by Entrepreneur First cofounders Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, Code First Girls community interest organisation providing free coding courses to women and non-binaries. So far it has taught over 16,000 women to code, and it also helps women find jobs at tech companies.
An initiative from Founders Forum which hopes to break down the barriers which prevent women from getting into tech and entrepreneurship. It runs events with high-profile women in tech.
An advocacy group for better gender balance and equality in tech.
A monthly meetup for women in tech in Manchester.
The Intrapreneurs Club partners with big companies to run accelerator programmes for diverse tech talent.
Helps women in tech gain public speaking experience and skills, to counter the under-representation of women onstage at conferences.
Hatch Enterprise has been supporting female founders since 2013, and runs various incubator and accelerator programmes.
Aims to “dispel certain myths about the tech/STEM industry” and make it as inclusive an industry as possible.
Inspiring underrepresented teens of colour to pursue careers in tech, through events and workshops.
An annually updated list showcasing Asian women and men working in the UK tech sector.
A company which connects ethnic-minority owned businesses with global corporates. Based in Leicester.
An independent engineering consultancy company that specialises in inspiring women to pursue a career in STEM.
WTF stands for Women’s Tech Focus. A support network for women working in, or interested in technology. They organise events/workshops in London (…and soon Amsterdam) and are looking to provide a safe place for sharing or getting advice.
A free one-year programme for founders of early-stage startups from underprivileged backgrounds. Run by startup mega campus Station F in Paris.
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 €17,000 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.
An organisation seeking to increase the number of women in entrepreneurship and boost the percentage of funding that is invested into female founders.
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.
An association formed in 2017 that hopes to inspire a generation of entrepreneurs in the suburbs. It runs mentoring programmes and events.
An annual event which brings together founders, investors, academics, industry and more to explore business opportunities in Africa’s tech ecosystem.
Founded in 2015, this non-profit organisation offers entrepreneurs in suburban and rural areas training and workshops.
An organisation which supports refugees by, among other things, helping them launch businesses. Active in eight cities across France.
An incubator for female founders which runs several programmes across France, catering to different business stages and sectors. It also runs programmes for corporates and “intrapreneurs” — those innovating within a business.
An 11-week training programme for women interested in a career in tech, organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in France.
Regular meetups for women in fintech in Paris.
Group supporting entrepreneurs from Paris’ banlieue. It brings together entrepreneurs and investors, promotes role models, demystifies the world of technology and looks for new ways to make the ecosystem more inclusive.
Community of leaders from around the world who are dedicated to supporting one another via executive coaching, global expeditions, impact accelerators and personal boards (groups of women from across sectors who get together to serve as each other’s ongoing “Personal Board of Directors”).
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.
An intentionally inclusive accelerator for women-led startups that focus on social impact or tech. Provides communication and confidence training as well as giving access to capital and important business tools.
A collective of creative entrepreneurs in Amsterdam. Hosts dinners, events and learning experiences.
A group looking to close the gender gap in code. They host meetups for coders and everyone interested in code (men are welcome too!).
Helps girls and women learn sketching, prototyping, basic programming and get introduced to the world of technology. Rails Girls was born in Finland, but is nowadays a global, non-profit volunteer community.
Organisation that aims to empower women by bringing diversity to the technology scene. They host monthly events that bridge the gap between STEM and Entrepreneurship. Here’s their meetup page.
Swedish group supporting women in tech via events and the ‘Techionista Academy’, which provides one-day masterclasses, week-long bootcamps or up to three months’ training.
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.
An initiative backed by 25 Dutch VCs to improve both the gender balance within their own workforce and of the companies they invest in. (In 2017, less than 2% of venture capital in the Netherlands went to female founders.)
Pushing for gender equality in the workplace.
“Think” runs workshops and events to encourage women and girls to consider careers in tech.
Pangea is an accelerator program and an investment platform that matches African startups with investors.
Charge is a 12-month startup incubator for first generation immigrants.
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.
A free, intensive one-week accelerator programme for female founders, set up in 2018 by numerous government organisations.
An event series for female founders to pitch their ideas and, for a successful few, take part in a trip to New York.
This is an initiative devoted to empowering women as leaders and potential founders. It trains kids, teenagers and adults.
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.
A community that is active around the world but also has a home in Spain. It is all about empowering women and promoting female founders in media.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An education initiative run by Barcelona’s City Hall, which runs from primary to secondary school with the aim of narrowing the gender gap of women in tech.
A business incubator for people with a refugee or migrant background. It also runs workshops and training and mentoring schemes.
Switzerland’s first women-friendly hackathon.
A non-profit that aims to tackle gender inequality in tech by educating and empowering women who are passionate about technology. It offers events and workshops.
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.
A network of more than 1,600 women and men dedicated to greater diversity in tech and innovation. Currently has chapters in Zurich, Basel, Bern and Geneva, and is expanding into other cities in Switzerland and beyond.
A 13-week accelerator programme for early-stage startups, specifically addressing the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. Based in Dublin.
A hub for female founders in Vienna, which runs regular events, an accelerator programme for startups from all over Europe and beyond, and a corporate leadership programme.
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. The first German edition of this dinner series, aimed at empowering women, will take place in September, in Cologne.
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”.
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.
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.
Founded in 2014, Venture Ladies is a Berlin-based community and incubator designed to support women in startups and venture capital. In addition to various events and workshops, Venture Ladies hosts monthly meetups in either English or German depending on attendee preferences.
Non-profit organisation Wissensfabrik runs an annual programme offering startup founders a chance to meet with and be mentored by the CEOs of more established companies. This year it is looking for startups with at least one female founder.
A two-and-a-half week bootcamp for female founders from the DACH region to develop their startup idea.
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.
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.
She Tech Italy is a community founded with the aim of supporting women in technology, digital and entrepreneurship, through networking events, workshops and professional opportunities.
A community and web resource that draws attention to female talent in tech. The group organises events and has published a booklet to distribute around schools in Portugal.
Non-profit aiming to increase diversity in the tech sector through education and workshop initiatives.
Open community running events, online forums, a slack group and a mentorship programme to build relationships between female founders.
This article was last updated on 11 June 2020.
Which other communities and programmes should we add to this list? Let us know.