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.

Blooming Founders’ most recent conference, Girls Just Wanna Have Funds

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

UK

Xuntos

A community for recent graduates and university students from under-represented groups in tech. 

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Google for Startups 

Since Google’s London Campus reopened earlier this year, it has focused on supporting diversity. 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

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

TechHub Accelerate 

A new grant scheme from London coworking 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.

Backstage Accelerator

An accelerator programme for “underestimated” founders, funded by US investor Arlan Hamilton’s firm Backstage Capital. The first cohort took place in London earlier this year, with five companies graduating. Watch this space for future programmes. 

ThisAbility

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

Diverse & Equal

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

Ethnic minorities

UKBlackTech

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. 

YSYS

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.

Foundervine 

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 is also launching a nine-week scaleup programme for businesses run by black entrepreneurs, which starts in October. Applications are open now.

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

OneTech

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

Witty Careers

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.

Colorintech 

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.

10×10

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

BYP Network

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. Its annual conference is taking place in London on 3 September. 

Kike Oniwinde, founder of BYP Network.

Muslamicmakers

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

Don’t Sleep on Us

An event for people from BAME backgrounds working on side projects. 

Afrotech Fest

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

Afrotech Festival held at Richmix, London, in 2019.

Solidarity in Tech

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

Coders of Colour 

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

Asian Tech

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

MSDUK

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

Female founders and women in tech

Ada’s List

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.

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. 

 

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Thank you all for coming to our first meet-up in NYC last night 🤩 #femstreetNYC

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Blooming Founders

A community and coworking space for early-stage female founders, which runs regular practical events and workshops, along with an annual conference.

Future Girl Corp 

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. 

 

23 Code Street

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

AccelerateHer

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. 

TLA Women in Tech

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

Female Tech Founder

A monthly meetup for women in tech in Manchester.

300Seconds

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

Female Founders Academy from Hatch Enterprise 

Hatch Enterprise has been supporting female founders since 2014; now it’s launching two new schemes for 24 female founders from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. The first, LaunchPad, is to help founders work through ideas and launch a company; the second, Incubator, is for founders already running businesses. Both programmes will start in October; the application deadline is September 1.

France

Fighters Programme

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

Applications for the next cohort (starting January 2020) are open until October 21. 

Members of the first cohort of the Station F Fighters Programme

La French Tech Tremplin

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.

Prepa kicks off in November 2019; applications are open until September 15

Diversidays 

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. It’s planning a big event in September; stay tuned.

Startup Banlieue

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

Afrobytes

An annual event, this year held at Station F in Paris, which brings together founders, investors, academics, industry and more to explore business opportunities in Africa’s tech ecosystem. 

Les Determinés 

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

Singa France

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

Female founders and women in tech

50inTech

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.

 

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Big announcement 🥁 We have been selected to batch #5 of the Founders Program @joinstationf. Head by the inspiring @rvarza, this is the world’s biggest startup campus with one of the higher ratio of diversity. We can’t wait to share with you soon some of the great stories of the female founders actually incubated there. There is even a family of founders who came with their two babies 👶👧🏻 😻. Paris is ranked at the Top 8 of the best city for female entrepreneurs according the Women entrepreneurs cities index powered by #Dell. Obviously #StationF is one the key game changer actor. 👉 Check out the interview of our CEO Caroline Ramade @lesechosstart www. start.lesechos.fr/expatriation/travailler-etranger/paris-dans-le-top-10-des-villes-propices-a-l-entrepreneuriat-feminin-15621.php

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Willa (formerly known as Paris Pionnières)

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. 

StartHer

Founded in 2010 by Roxanne Varza (now director of Paris mega campus Station F) and Mounia Rhka, StartHer aims to put a spotlight on women working in the tech sector, through events, content and networks. 

Women in Fintech

Regular meetups for women in fintech in Paris.

The Netherlands

#Fundright

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.) 

Norway

SHE Community

Pushing for gender equality in the workplace. 

TENK Norge

“Think” runs workshops and events to encourage women and girls to consider careers in tech.

TENK Tech Camp 2019 Credit: Gorm K. Gaare

Pangea Accelerator 

Pangea is an accelerator program and an investment platform that matches African startups with investors. 

Charge Accelerator

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

Sweden

A Woman’s Place

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.

Screenshot from www.investstockholm.com/move-to-stockholm/awomansplace

Femtech Bootcamp

A free, intensive one-week accelerator programme for female founders, set up in 2018 by numerous government organisations.

Di Digital Female Founders

An event series for female founders to pitch their ideas and, for a successful few, take part in a trip to New York.

Switzerland

Capacity

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

Hach’n’Lead

Switzerland’s first women-friendly hackathon. Next meetup is in November. (69% of participants to the last event were new to hackathons.)

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

Female High Fliers

A 13-week accelerator programme for early-stage startups, specifically addressing the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. Based in Dublin.  

Austria

Female Founders

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.

The founders from the first cohort of Grow F — the accelerator programme from Female Founders.
Germany

WOW Dinner

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. 

Pan European & International

Women in Tech

An international non-profit organisation on a mission to close the gender gap and to help women embrace technology. Has chapters all over Europe. 

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.

 

This article was last updated on 19 August 2019.

Which other communities and programmes should we add to this list? Let us know.

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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!

Tina
Tina

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