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London Tech Week: One in ten LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs have been DENIED investment on the basis of their identity

The commencement of this year’s London Tech Week holds at the top of its agenda the issues of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), as representatives from across the global tech industry gather to discuss trends within the sector. However, taking place during the month of Pride, wider conversations must be held specifically pertaining to LGBTQ+ inclusion within the industry. A staggering $1.5 trillion was invested into tech start-ups by VC firms globally from 2010 to 2019, of which LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs constituted less than a mere 1% of funding deals. To investigate the barriers faced by business founders from the LGBTQ+ community, a new study has been commissioned by QU, the business consultancy for minority entrepreneurs. The landmark national index has found 36% of LGBTQ+ founders believe that investors do not take them seriously, with 9% confirming that they have been denied investment on the basis of their identity.

Further unveiled within the unique study was the dearth of business guidance available for founders looking to scale, as 27% of LGBTQ+ founders received zero mentorship during their career. The research also found that 15% of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs are taken less seriously as a business leader with a striking 34% of British women stating they felt like an outcast from their family and community for having different career aspirations. The data also highlights that almost 1 in 5 from the LGBTQ+ community are marginalised from what should be their strongest support foundations – their family and community.
Key stats:

  • 36% of LGBTQ+ founders believe that investors do not consider them as a viable investment opportunity
  • 9% of LGBTQ+ founders have been denied investment on the basis of their age, race and gender
  • 29% of LGBTQ+ founders state they have no support role whom they feel comfortable to take guidance from
  • 18% of LGBTQ+ founders agreed that their family do not support their entrepreneurial business endeavours
  • 34% of the LGBTQ+ community state they’ve always felt like an outcast in their family and community for having different career aspirations to their families and the wider community
  • 30% of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs state they don’t know where to source investment opportunities to grow their business
  • 15% of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs feel they’re taken less seriously as a business leader

The recent Rose Review Progress Report has brought into effect the foundation of the Taskforce on Women-Led High-Growth Enterprises to help address the disparities faced by female founded businesses. However, the government has yet to launch similar reviews into the experiences of scaling LGBTQ+-led businesses. 

Marla Ubhi – co-founder of QU – argues that a similar taskforce for the LGBTQ+ community would be a huge leap towards creating a more inclusive business ecosystem. In the United States, the non-profit StartOut has launched their StartOut Pride Economic Impact Index (SPEII) which is helping to fill the void of determining unrealised potential of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, whereas there is currently no such mechanism in the UK. Further demonstrated by QU’s data, the indication is that such measures need to be replicated in Britain as a matter of urgency if such barriers for entrepreneurs are to be removed. 

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