The limited diversity of talent in the tech world is frequently identified as an issue that can hamper the performance and growth of innovative start-ups and scale-ups, and as such is a concern for the European Innovation Council. In particular, high diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity has been correlated with higher financial performance of private ventures, while diversity at executive level (also including e.g. in socioeconomic status and disability) has been shown to be important for effective decision-making.
In order to improve the availability of all talent, and particularly female talent, to the EIC portfolio of projects and companies and the EU innovation eco-system, and following the recommendations of the ScaleUp Europe report, the EIC seeks the development of an innovation gender and diversity index, providing consistent information to the EIC, other investors and funding bodies, market actors and policy makers across Europe. Such information includes gender and diversity data for innovative start-ups and scale-ups as well as for investors and funds investing in such companies and should cover and be comparable across at least all Member States and Associated Countries. Such information is currently missing or fragmented or collected according to different methodologies and definitions. The expected impacts arising from the development of such an index are:
- To enable gender and diversity gaps to be identified, relevant measures to be designed, and progress to be assessed
- To enable better informed investment decisions; and
- To encourage diversity at all levels across the innovation ecosystem.
Building on existing efforts to measure diversity within EU companies and consistently with the objectives of the EU’s sustainable finance strategy, this action will support a multidisciplinary consortium to:
- Develop a pilot innovation gender & diversity index based on agreed definitions and indicators that can be applied to startups/ SMEs and to innovation investment actors in the EU;
- Identify relevant sources of reliable and robust data;
- Develop methodologies and conduct data collection in order to fill data gaps;
- Implement and produce a first pilot gender & diversity index using available data from different sources as well as additional data collection as appropriate;
- Provide recommendations for further development and implementation of an innovation gender and diversity index and additional measures needed to improve data availability and benchmarking, such as voluntary reporting standards by start-ups, scale-ups and investment funds;
- Disseminate and promote the results of the project to investors, policy makers and the wider innovation ecosystem.
Applications for this action should include a proposed list of experts that will be consulted on the development of the index and be ready to interact with additional experts identified by the EIC and European Commission or other relevant EU bodies including the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund.
For more information please consult the EIC Work Programme 2022