In our pursuit of greater diversity and equal opportunity in business, we still have a long way to go. Despite numerous studies showing that mixed teams perform better, there is still too little focus on diversity. This is also true in the world of startups and funders. For example, over the past twelve years, some ninety percent of the growth money spent in the Netherlands has gone to startups with only men at the helm. Fundright wants to improve that situation, NOM wants to help increase equality of opportunity, not only among women, but also other groups that receive too little attention.
The IT world is (still) rather a man's world, although developments in the right direction are moving quite fast. Marco de Jong sees that too. With his investment fund G-Force Capital, he can present resounding figures. ,,A third of the companies in our portfolio are run by women. There are only six in total, but still.''
That is a remarkably high percentage, which De Jong had not yet considered. ''I honestly didn't consciously direct it either. So maybe it's a coincidence.'' Maybe not. De Jong underscores the power of diversity within teams. ,,That leads to more perspectives on the market and on the organization. Everyone should want that. When you see the deplorable numbers like that, I understand again why Fundright is desperately needed.''
As an investor, De Jong is aware of the danger of prejudice, he says. ,,At least that's something I always watch out for. Also in the companies where I worked. You shouldn't hire someone next to you who looks like you. That doesn't benefit you as an organization. It's better to choose someone with completely different skills, a different character. Even with startups, I always try to keep an open mind, to pay attention to the objective qualities rather than listening to any prejudices. But I'm not saintly either. I've learned to build in a check for myself during these kinds of conversations: have I thought about alternatives? Am I really open to people who are very different? I understand that the danger of false profiling is always lurking.''
De Jong is careful to say that he is not sec about more women. ,,Women on average bring something different than men. People from other cultures also add something. Immigrants, older people, younger people; what you want is as diverse a palette as possible. And actually the outside doesn't matter so much to me then. It's about a mix of profiles, qualities, character traits. That a company with a good mix is a better company, there is no doubt in my mind.''
He says that from experience. ,,In the boards I sit on, such as Public Education Groningen and the Digital Office, there are many women. That brings a different dynamic than teams consisting of only men. Female energy is different; every company can use it. By the way: female energy does not necessarily have to come from women. In the IT world you don't encounter women as much, but there are more and more of them. At theFactor.e, for example, you see more and more women in key positions. That only benefits the company.''