The Victorian government’s independent startup body, LaunchVic has partnered with Silicon Valley organisation Change Catalyst to host its Tech Inclusion Conference in Melbourne in February.
With LaunchVic’s sponsorship, the one day conference will be followed by two days of workshops, aimed at helping participants develop a “diverse and inclusive startup”. The workshops will be free for startups.
It will take participants through topics such as the business case for diversity and inclusion, supporting underrepresented team members, examining your recruiting process, and developing equitable systems and processes.
Melinda Briana Epler, founder and CEO of Change Catalyst and facilitator of its Tech Inclusion programs, said, “We are excited to convene the Victorian startup community to help drive diversity and inclusion together, so the wealth of diversity in this region is reflected in the makers, products and technologies of today and tomorrow.”
The sponsorship of Change Catalyst is the latest effort from LaunchVic to support initiatives that are focused around diversity and inclusion in the local startup sector, with the organisation having previously provided funding to the likes of Girl Geek Academy and Girls in Tech.
It comes after a report released in August by LaunchVic and community body Startup Victoria found that 75.4 percent of founders are male, with gender diversity greatest in the social enterprise, design, and real estate spaces, and poorest in the energy, data and analytics, and sports and recreation fields.
The report also found that while the average age of all founders is 36, women are more likely than men to found a company past the age of 45.
In terms of nationality, the report found 34 percent of startup founders in the state were born outside of Australia, while 56 percent have at least one parent born outside Australia.
In announcing its support of Change Catalyst, LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said, “We are delighted to bring undoubtedly one of best and most qualified group of experts on the subject to Victoria to stimulate a positive debate in our local startup community.”
The announcement comes less than a month after Victorian Minister for Innovation, Philip Dalidakis was questioned in state Parliament about LaunchVic’s funding of conferences and events born interstate and internationally that did not come to pass.
After the failed bid to bring Freelancer’s StartCon event to Melbourne last year, Dalidakis had stated that LaunchVic would re-allocate the $1 million in funding for the conference to three other events to be held in 2017: Pause Fest, the Above All Human conference, and the Girls in Tech Catalyst conference.
However, only Pause Fest went ahead with its scheduled 2017 event, with the other two pushed back to 2018.
Image: Dr Kate Cornick. Source: Supplied.