Diversity and inclusion in the tech sector has received much attention over recent years. What’s clear to see is that the need for equality, diversity and inclusion is more important than ever. In celebration of Pride month, we’ve highlighted just a few companies who are championing LGBTQ+ equality and how they are doing it. Gousto, […]
Weekly Brief: The tech companies championing LGBTQ+ equality!
Diversity and inclusion in the tech sector has received much attention over recent years. What’s clear to see is that the need for equality, diversity and inclusion is more important than ever.
In celebration of Pride month, we’ve highlighted just a few companies who are championing LGBTQ+ equality and how they are doing it.
Gousto, the British meal kit retailer, prioritises the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace. Acknowledging that more men than women study technology subjects at higher education, Gousto prioritises recruitment training upskilling to ensure a fair selection and screening process with no bias with hope to close the gender pay gap.
Charlie HR, the complete People platform for small companies, aims to create more inclusive workspaces through a series of professional networking and mentoring events, panels and workshops.
Queer Code London is a community of programmers in London who provide support for queer people working in software development whilst engaging regular workshops and networking events for thousands of likeminded people. Popularity for Queer Code has been steadily increasing and its niche corner of the internet is attracting people all over the UK.
Lyft, the purpose-driven ride sharing service is committed to creating a community in which riders and drivers feel as though they are included and belong. The company is also partnering with major pride festivals in six cities across the nation to support its colourful community.
Regardless of who you are, finding a community that will support your career endeavours can be a welcome source of empowerment, especially in an industry that isn’t always welcoming. Here are a number of organisations committed to bringing equality to the tech industry.
Here are 4 tips to ensure a more inclusive work environment:
Update Policies And Ensure Inclusive Benefits
Employers should make it a priority to revisit and update their policies to be more inclusive to their LGBTQ+ employees. Celebrating employee differences by implementing diversity or pride days are a great way to ensure their colleagues are supported. Active conversations need to be had often regarding updated policies to stress that discrimiation and harassment will not be tolerated.
Train On Inclusivity In Language
To ensure there is no exclusion of candidates, evaluate the current language used in job descriptions and replace any gender-coded terms with neutral language. LinkedIn is taking an inclusive step by introducing the option to display pronouns on individuals profiles, helping others be respectful of their identity. They’ve also added a name pronunciation tool and the option to add a cover story video to introduce yourself in a more personal way.
Hear what your employees have to say
Understanding how your company can be more inclusive is often determined by the employees so by conducting anonymous company-wide surveys, you can gain a better understanding on whether or not LGBTQ+ employees feel a sense of belonging. This is a great way to encourage staff to openly share their experiences too so businesses can learn from mistakes.
Support LGBTQ+ organisations.
Majority of companies have a ‘house charity’ who they support but additionally businesses could coordinate a group for your local pride march, donate to a relevant nonprofit or volunteer with a local charity. It’s an encouraging way to get people involved in fundraising whilst also educating your employees.
This is not a conclusive list, but it is a start to creating a more inclusive LGBTQ workplace. We would love to hear what your employers are doing to create an inclusive work environment.
2,500 startups and with £345million collectively raised in funding, Scotland is steadily making moves within the UK startup space. Scotland is just getting started with consistent growth being delivered every year. So who is worth keeping an eye on? With Scotland being the base for some of the UKs most successful “unicorn”companies, Sky Scanner and […]
With Scotland being
the base for some of the UKs most successful “unicorn”companies, Sky Scanner and Brewdog to name a few,
it’s no surprise that a generation of fast growing tech businesses are
Technologies in Edinburgh are on a mission to make the
agriculture and animal health sectors more sustainable. A unique joint venture
between the University of Edinburgh and two investment and business development
partners with global networks aids the company’s success.
3 ‘futurecorns’ are responsible for the employment of 500 people alone.
a SaaS platform based in Edinburgh,who have recently announced plans to create
12 tech jobs to fuel its global expansion all in effort to support the city’s
mission to be a centre for tech excellence, provides businesses with brand
insights and offers advice on how to increase their revenue and traffic.
Impressive clients include a recent partnership with Pepsico
to power their eCommerce growth in Europe.
start-ups raised £1.3
billion in the whole of 2010. They raised the
same amount in the first three weeks of 2021.With continued policy innovation,
research investment, and the right talent, the UK is on track to become the
heart of the European tech ecosystem.
You’ve been rejected from a dozen different jobs over the past year. But today you’re armed with a well crafted cover letter and excited at the thought of finally getting that face to face meeting or call back. But how things have changed in today’s job market, it’s time to put your best digital foot […]
5 ways to create a professional online presence to optimise your job hunt!
You’ve been rejected from a dozen different jobs over the past year. But today you’re armed with a well crafted cover letter and excited at the thought of finally getting that face to face meeting or call back. But how things have changed in today’s job market, it’s time to put your best digital foot forward to get the attention of future employers. With this post we show you how to create a social media machine that gets people talking about all the great things you do.
Explore these 5 steps to boost your online presence today!
Conducting your very own Social media audit.
Before you dive into improving your online presence, it’s good to know what’s already out there. Conducting a comprehensive social media audit is a great place to start. It might be time to deactivate those ancient accounts – is your High-school Tumblr account from 2007 really going to land you your dream job? Once you have determined which accounts are worth keeping, it’s time to edit any inconsistencies. Handles, headshots and bios are the forefront of your online presence so make sure they’re professional.
Getting the most out of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful professional networking sites out there and it is considered a basic requirement in most industry fields. If you’re looking for a reliable resume building tool or are considering implementing a social media strategy into your application process, LinkedIn is a great place to start. You can establish your expertise through the LinkedIn content platform, interact with your community via brand pages and groups, and reach out to others via LinkedIn messaging. Don’t forget to adjust your settings to let recruiters know you’re actively looking for employment.
Network, network, network!
Another great thing about social media is it gives you the opportunity to reach out and make connections with other people in your industry. You have the opportunity to get your work seen by people in and out of your industry with just one quick tap of your phone and one little bit of effort. However, social media comes at a price: it’s full of competition! Your number one goal should be finding and cultivating clients that are in the same industry as you are and making these connections early on in your career can lead to some great opportunities.
Creating a personal Website
You don’t need a degree in coding to have your very own slice of the internet. Creating a professional-looking site offers potential employers and clients a glimpse into your personality. Whether you opt for a simple one page site or a detailed portfolio, it provides an alternative visual approach to your work history/experience and helps you to stand out amongst other applicants. Squarespace has a great SEO checklist to help you optimise your site traffic too.
Keep your information up to date.
Once your online presence is ship-shaped, make sure you don’t forget about it. That goes for after you land your dream job too and you’re no longer on the job market. Completing those big projects or getting great client testimonials are all great assets to building a strong online presence and it’s something future employers will keep an eye out. Also, you never know when another opportunity may arise so it’s great to be prepared for your next career move.
Discoco: Isabel Mohan and Lucy Cleveley. Welcome to Work In Startups X Women In Tech series! For the tech industry in particular, the equal representation of women and men may still have decade’s worth of work left to go. With the tech workforce being made up of just 19% women, it bodes the question…what can […]
Welcome to Work In Startups X Women In Tech series! For the tech industry in particular, the equal representation of women and men may still have decade’s worth of work left to go. With the tech workforce being made up of just 19% women, it bodes the question…what can we do to encourage more women to enter the tech industry, but additionally, what can be done to also attract women in to more senior and leadership positions. In this series, we speak to the founding females smashing those Femtech stereotypes. First up, Isabel and Lucy! Founders of Discoco, an online platform curating online courses set to demystify the world of self development and online learning – whilst injecting a bit of fun!
Hello Isabel and Lucy! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Isabel Mohan, co-founder of Discoco, along with Lucy Cleveley. Discoco.co.uk is a new platform curating online courses we love from creators we trust and taking a bit of a sideways look at the wider world of self-development. My background is in journalism and content (four days a week, I’m Head of Content at tiney, a brilliant childcare startup – Discoco is my side hustle!) while Lucy is a business psychologist and learning and development consultant. We’ve been friends for six years and had both noticed that everybody was making online courses but nobody was independently curating them so with Discoco we’ve set out to declutter and demystify the world of self-development and online learning.
1: Is there one piece of advice you wish somebody gave you at the beginning of your career?
Not so much at the beginning of my career but at the beginning of Discoco being an idea, I was convinced I would need to join up with someone more techie or business-savvy than I am to get it off the ground. I was telling Lucy all about my ideas and she was keen to get involved but at this point we weren’t actually thinking it was something we could lead together. Then I chatted to my former bosses Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor about it – they founded Mush, the social app for mums, as friends with no experience in tech, and they told me I should just make it happen with someone who shared my vision and who I could bounce off. They talked about how early on with Mush, they would dare each other to do things – like send scary emails to potential investors! – and that the shared sense of accountability was really powerful. Ultimately I’ve realised that tech and business expertise can be outsourced and learned, but creativity and vision can’t be easily bought in (no matter what they might tell you on pricey startup incubator programmes…).
2) What’s your opinion on the state of the FemTech Sector currently?
There’s so much exciting stuff happening but it’s frustrating that men still usually hold the purse-strings in the tech world. I’ve just read The Switch by Sam Baker, who founded The Pool with Lauren Laverne a few years back, and there’s a chapter about the reception they got from male investors – for instance, many they met would say to them “Well, my wife thinks you should do this…” because they couldn’t possibly have an opinion about the potential of a female-fronted, female-targeted brand themselves.
More inspiringly, but for the exact same reasons, Bonnie Parsons, who runs the amazing dance company School of SOS, launched an all-female fund-raise a couple of years ago, slickly turning a potential problem into a USP and got loads of PR (and cash!) out of it in the process. We’re at the bootstrapping stage with Discoco right now while we test the concept, but all this is very much on our minds as female founders with an idea and brand that’s most appealing to women (although we do have a handful of wonderful male course creators on the site too!).
3) What’s your opinion on the state of gender diversity within the tech industry?
I love that big FemTech brands like Elvie and Flo have spawned from subjects that were previously taboo, like periods, the menopause and female sexual health stuff in general. I remember using quite a basic period tracker app years ago and my GP giving me a weird look when I whipped it out, like I had time-travelled to my appointment – but now they actively promote them! I’m hoping there will be more of this – FemTech becoming part of the mainstream, rather than this stuff being seen as really maverick. It would be great if there were female-focused tech brands ending up as ubiquitous as the women’s mags of the 90s, like Just 17 and Cosmo. As someone who started their career on women’s mags in the noughties, I see glimmers of the same (often slightly bonkers!) creative energy in tech, so it’s only a matter of time.
4) Looking at the rise in Femtech companies and the importance of having women within this sector, do you think it will help accelerate a change from a male dominated tech industry?
Starting a business in lockdown with very little cash, while holding down jobs, home-schooling our 5 year olds and chasing our stir crazy toddlers! There were a lot of late night walks wearing five layers and clutching hot chocolate (or gin) and using voice notes to capture our ideas, along with many long video calls despite us living 30 seconds from each other. We really wanted to launch Discoco in January, but the pandemic had other ideas – however, we were determined not to add to the stats of women whose careers have been decimated by Covid, so we managed to soft-launch it in March – but we’re still juggling the jobs and family life too (but at least the schools are open now…!). I suppose there’s a frustration from me that a lot of women who can afford to get their ideas off the ground are being bank-rolled by their partners – and this isn’t the case for us, we’re just throwing what time, money and energy we can at it, and hoping we can prove the concept has legs before we burn out.
5) What do you think we should be doing more of to encourage more women to consider a career in tech?
Demystifying what “tech” means, along with all the jargon around it. I hate to resort to stereotypes, but the fact is many women, me and Lucy included, don’t feel that they are “techie”, when actually any good idea can become a tech product with the right vision, input and collaboration. There are plenty of people working in tech who are not traditionally techie. If you’re good at something, whether it’s writing, or selling, or leading a team, you can take those skills to a tech company – they need them!
The good news is, the hunger from women to learn more about tech is there – on Discoco, for instance, some of the courses we have on stuff like web design, video and social media skills, are among the most popular, but there’s a lack of confidence that needs to be addressed. I don’t think it’s just a gender issue, but age too – many talented, experienced women are convinced there’s no place in tech for them because they think it’s a world that’s populated by obnoxious men in their twenties, which isn’t (always…) true!
6) How have you found it best to promote and nurture women in the workplace?
Wherever I’ve worked I’ve formed close female friendships quickly – this can be tricky if you’re also managing those women, but ultimately if you like and trust each other, it makes for a positive working environment – it’s that accountability thing again; you’re much less likely to lose talent if they like working with you!
It’s always been important to me to talent-spot young people with potential, I got my first job (at Heat magazine) as a really awkward 22 year old on work experience who happened to be good at writing, and that was largely because more senior women on the team (who I thought were SO grown-up and sophisticated at the time but were probably about 28) saw potential in me, so I’ve tried to do the same as I’ve got older. It’s hard when you’re busy and stressed to prioritise nurturing people, and I worry that with so many people working remotely, a lot of these opportunities will be lost. I learned so much when I started out by just overhearing conversations or by spontaneously being called into meetings and asked for ideas, and that’s really tricky to recreate virtually. This is why self-development is more important than ever – we know a lot of young people, particularly women, got into online courses over lockdown because they were slumped in front of their laptops 24/7 and had little opportunity to learn anything new at work.
7) What is your advice for female entrepreneurs entering the industry?
Find a good mentor, or mentors, who will give you advice and be your cheerleaders. I’m slightly biased but I also think investing in some self-development is a good move – it could be coaching, or it could be learning a new skill that you feel is holding you back – whatever it takes to make you feel more confident and equipped in what can feel like quite an intimidating, male-dominated world. And remember startup jargon is mostly nonsense and bluster – if people talk to you like they’re a robot from Planet Techbro, be honest about not having a clue what they’re on about and speak back to them in plain English – it’s much more efficient!
You have finished university and it’s time to find your first job. We’re now usually encouraged to apply to a graduate scheme, usually within a big company where competition is incredibly high. If you’re lucky enough to get into a graduate program, it can be a great experience and a strong start to your career. […]
What I Learned Working At A Small Company – A Graduate story
You have finished university and it’s time to find your first job. We’re now usually encouraged to apply to a graduate scheme, usually within a big company where competition is incredibly high. If you’re lucky enough to get into a graduate program, it can be a great experience and a strong start to your career. But, I’d argue that working at a small company, where you get real responsibility from day one, will teach you more and actually be a better start to your career.
Work In Startups being my first job out of university has been a great experience and I have learned a LOT. The learning has both been through the more traditional route of more experienced people teaching me, and through trial and error.
From day one, I’ve had responsibilities and been encouraged to figure out how to do certain elements of the job myself. Of course, there has been plenty of guidance but less of a rigid structure to what you’d expect to have in a corporate company. When you’re encouraged to think about how to do certain parts of the job and give it a shot, like being thrown in the (almost) deep end, you learn and pick things up so much faster!
At a smaller company, you are a bigger factor in the day-to-day running of the business, this does increase the pressure on you, but also gives you a voice. As soon as I had settled in, I had a say in how things were done and was involved in decision-making that related to my part of the business. I was always encouraged to share my ideas – this was even part of my goals – which opened me up to many different roles, not just tying me down to the exact job description. The best part about this was if my idea was good enough, we implemented it and I got to see the outcome – pretty cool huh?
Employed as a Marketing Assistant in a large company within their grad scheme, then marketing and most probably, only marketing, is what you’ll do. This might be great and you might love it! But leaving uni, a lot of us have no clue what we will actually love or be good at. In a startup or small business, you get to wear all the hats. In my role as a Business Development intern, I was lucky enough to not be limited to sales.
My sales part of the role involved being the first contact to finalizing the sale and customer aftercare, making sure they are happy with the service. On top of that, I maintained the social media channels and created content such as blogs, interviews and newsletters. I was able to learn and be involved in product development, working closely with our developer looking for ways to improve our product as well as our internal processes to make things both faster and more efficient. I created and maintained our CRM system, giving us better oversight over our customers.
I was in constant communication with our customers both through our email and over the phone, helping them with writing ads and what to include to find the best applicants. Digging through our Google Analytics to understand where our users are coming from and where we need to put in more effort to get users from. And, most recently I’ve been doing some graphic design to improve our social media presence.
All this experience has really allowed me to understand what I enjoy doing the most and what I’m the best at doing! I’ve now successfully completed my internship and I’m leaving with a wide range of skills which has helped me decide which direction I want to take my career.
Startup equity Whether you’re joining an early-stage startup, with seed funding or a startup that’s already raised big chunks of venture capital, it’s important to know the (at the very least) basics of equity. Most startups will offer equity as part of the compensation package, coming in the form of stock options that allow you […]
An Intro Into Startup Equity: 5 Things To Consider
Whether you’re joining an early-stage startup, with seed funding or a startup that’s already raised big chunks of venture capital, it’s important to know the (at the very least) basics of equity. Most startups will offer equity as part of the compensation package, coming in the form of stock options that allow you to buy shares at a prearranged price in the future.
1. Majority of startups never reach the market
You must keep in mind that a startups chances of succeeding are low, even if the idea/product is great there are often external factors at play that cause the failure. If a startup goes bankrupt whatever equity you had becomes worth nothing.
Do your own research into the company, every kid sounds perfect when described by their parent. Look into the company and its product, do you think this is something that can be successful.
2. Understand what equity is and how it works.
Option: You will be given the option to purchase the shares at a certain price that won’t change.
Vested: You will be given the share but will have to work for X amount of time to unlock the rights to it.
3. Ask questions.
Unless you are applying for a very high-up role, chances are you won’t be able to negotiate for anything other than the number of shares. Even so, you should be asking questions such as.
What is the value now?
Is there an exit strategy?
What is the timeframe?
Do they have a value estimation when the exit happens?
How much of the company do you own with your shares?
Can you sell your shares, and what is the process if you leave?
4. With the previous points in mind and it’s time to negotiate, remember that your salary is what you are living off right now. A potentially large pay-out in 5 years will not pay your rent today. Make sure you are not giving up a large amount of salary for a maybe payment later down the road.
You do not have to tell them what you are currently making or what you made in your previous role. Instead, ask them what range they have in mind for the role.
Research, research, and research. Know what the going rate is for your skillset, what could you be making elsewhere. Ideally, you’ll be in discussions with other companies as well and can give them an indication of what you could get there.
Come in with a plan, have a minimum salary and salary/equity value in mind before you sit down at the negotiation table. It makes it easier to draw the line during the talks. Know what is more important to you.
Remember that you are there for a reason if you’ve got far enough to be discussing equity, they value your skillset. Keep that in mind when negotiating and understand you are there to bring value to the company and should be compensated accordingly.
Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more […]
Here at Work In Startups, we’re on a mission to champion the best and most exciting startups in the UK. To support this, we’re starting a new blog series highlighting some of the most innovative and fast-growing startups around. Follow us as we interview startup founders and employees across the country and find out more about their goals and ambitions, what the future holds and (for all you startup jobseekers out there looking for the inside scoop) what they look for in a prospective employee.
This week we talked to Rikke and Pippa from Borrow My Doggy a fantastic service uniting people without dogs with people that have dogs and need help. They have made life much more bearable during lockdown for so many people.
Tell us about BorrowMyDoggy!
BorrowMyDoggy is an online community that connects dog owners with local, trusted do borrowers who are happy to help take care of a pooch for walks, weekends and holidays.
We operate across the UK and Ireland
with thousands of new members joining every week. When an owner shares their
dog with a local borrower, it’s a win-win (or woof-woof) situation for
● Owners have peace of mind that their
dog is well taken care of by a trusted borrower
● Borrowers get to enjoy happy doggy
time, which they otherwise wouldn’t have
● Dogs enjoy extra exercise, spend less
time alone and most importantly receive more love and affection.
How did it all start and what are your goals?
I came up with the idea for BorrowMyDoggy in 2012 when I was looking after my neighbour’s beautiful chocolate Labrador for the day. While enjoying my day with Aston, I thought “there should be a website where dog owners can have their dogs taken care of by people who absolutely adore dogs and miss having a dog in their life.”
All owners need to be away from their
pooches sometimes, and there’s often no need to pay for a dog walker when there
are lots of people, just like me, who adore dogs but unfortunately can’t have
them (due to work, travel etc.), who would love to take care of a dog for free.
In addition to this, it would allow owners and doggies to get to know more
people locally and spread lots of happiness.
Our aim is to leave ‘Pawprints of
Happiness’ on the lives of dogs and people by building local communities where
dog-lovers give a helping hand taking care of local pooches, simply because
they love dogs.
What are your values as an ambitious startup?
Our values are focused around being
fun, happy, caring and thankful. Our community is at the centre of everything
we do at BorrowMyDoggy. We wouldn’t exist without our lovely members and it’s
thanks to their feedback, requests and recommendations that the site has
evolved in the way it has.
With your current knowledge and what you’ve learnt
so far, is there any advice would you give yourself back when you were just
You have to be passionate about what
you do and believe in the difference that you can make. As an entrepreneur
setting up a brand new business, there is so much to learn so just embrace the
fact that there will be lots of things that you don’t know and be open to
asking questions. Also, always listen to your customers and only develop
something that they will love to use. Finally, take an active part in the
startup community, which is incredibly inspiring, and always help others
whenever you can.
What is next for BorrowMyDoggy and what are the
goals for 2021?
At the moment we are focusing on making
BorrowMyDoggy the best it can be for our existing members in the UK and Ireland.
Last year we saw the launch of a new app, which we continue to work our tails
off on in 2021. We would love to help make a positive difference to as many
dogs’ and people’s lives as possible.
The pandemic has obviously affected a lot of
startups both in positive and negative ways, how have you guys dealt with it?
We have been truly ast-hound-ed (as we
like to say) by how the BorrowMyDoggy community has pulled together during the
pandemic. In the height of the pandemic in 2020 we made the decision to
recommend borrowers and owners stop meeting to help reduce the spread of the
virus. However we still saw wonderful acts of kindness from our members – from
fetching groceries and medication for one another, and borrowers walking dogs
for owners that were shielding or vulnerable, to borrowers temporarily rehoming
dogs for owners too.
Here’s most wonderful feedback we received from a BorrowMyDoggy owner
“I want to publicly thank my wonderful dog borrower María who has gone way beyond taking Purdey for her exercise while I’m in complete isolation and brought supplies and prescriptions not because I’ve asked but because she has offered unsolicited. There is some connection between dog/animal lovers and generosity of spirit. BorrowMyDoggy has brought such a caring group of people together with its organisation. Thank you.”
As the nation still faces the COVID pandemic we are still advising our community to be responsible and follow their local government guidelines, to ensure that everyone stays safe and minimises the spread of the virus.
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