Note: This talk was a response to a question from an Upekkha Community founder on Diversity and inclusion
At Upekkha, we believe that it is part of our culture to foster diversity and inclusion, both within the team and outside. Diversity and Inclusion are important because we must improve equity for everybody.
Inequality and inequity hurts outcomes for everybody
Society is iniquitous.
There are a lot of people who have the capability and the capacity but don't have the opportunity to build what they want to do what they want. And we should not perpetuate that inequity; we must do things that make the world more equitable for all. Inequality and inequity hurts outcomes for everybody, not just for those people.
But imagine a founder who wasn't able to build the business the way they wanted to. That founder might have created 10 jobs, 100 jobs, 1000 jobs, tens of hundreds of jobs - big products that would have helped a lot of people. And without that the world would be much poorer.
Underestimated founders and founders who didn't get an opportunity are often mis-priced in what their value is; their value to society seems to be far lower than what it actually could be. So when we invest in underestimated founders, that's a great bet to pick.
Diversity begets diversity
So there are two parts to our diversity and inclusion agenda. One part is within Upekkha. So within Upekkha, when we hire people, whether they are contractors or whether they are full-time team members, we must consider candidates across different identities. And we must make sure that we get enough people to be shortlisted and only then make a choice. The important thing to remember is that diversity begets diversity.
Lots of studies have shown that when you don't have diversity early on in a business, then getting diverse later is much harder. But if your first five employees have sufficient diversity within them, it becomes much easier.
From a team perspective, diversity is also important because diverse employees bring in different points of view, which enables us to make better decisions and make progress faster.
We are an organization which literally aims to make founders wealthy. So we must make sure that we are equitable in who we make wealthy. If we only make people who are already rich, richer, that really is not a great outcome. So we must make sure that the people we take into the programmes, the people we work with are from all strata of society, all genders, all castes, all regions.
And we should not be biased against any particular group.
Upekkha picks domain expertise and value delivered to customers over pedigree
From a founder perspective, we don't see pedigree, we don't check for where they've studied; we look primarily for value that they have been able to deliver to customers, we look at the domain expertise, and we look at how many customers they have and what customers talk about the product and the service.
We don't just do warm introductions, but we have an open application process. So anybody can apply. And we will talk to every single person who has applied in some shape or form.
We promote the diversity we have within our founders and expose our more diverse founders more so that we attract more founders like that. There is always more that we can do from a diversity and inclusion perspective
And secondly, how can we be more inclusive and make sure that we - both as a team and as an organization helping founders - feel more inclusive to the people that we work with.
In summary, we value diversity and inclusion quite a bit. And we want all of you to fit into that thought process about diversity inclusion.
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