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Colorintech, UK’s first diversity platform, bridging the employment gap between BAME and tech, takes off

Colorintech, the UK’s first diversity platform designed to connect talented new recruits from ethnic and gender minority backgrounds to the nation’s leading tech companies and start-ups, launches today in London.

Founded by Silicon Valley executive Dion McKenzie, along with co-founders Miranda Brawn, Chris Gordon and Ashleigh Ainsley, Colorintech, a non-profit organisation, brings together young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) talent and the most innovative tech companies, as it sets out to tackle the lack of diversity in the country’s innovation economy. 

Colorintech will also be lobbying all homegrown and foreign technology companies with a UK presence. By calling for disclosure of data on the diversity of tech companies’ workforce, Colorintech becomes the first organisation in the UK to argue the case for better and more transparent representation of ethnic and gender diverse talent in the nation’s tech industry.

While in the US lack of diversity in the technology world has been the subject of several campaigns, which have ultimately led to gradual change - just this month 30 of the world’s leading companies have signed the Tech Inclusion Pledge - in the UK there is little equivalent awareness and progress.

There is currently almost no detailed insight into the overall levels of diversity in the tech and innovation industry in the UK; all we know is that the representation of BAME individuals in the tech sector falls well below 5%. In the US, meanwhile, 38% of the working population in key technology companies is of a BAME background[1].

BAME individuals make up 13% of the UK population and are over represented in the nation’s higher education system where they account for 19% of applicants[2], and yet, they are under represented across both senior and junior levels in the technology sector.

Colorintech sets out to close this gap by creating access, awareness and opportunities for top minority talent aspiring to be the future leaders of the innovation economy. In fact, with a fellowship programme, which will kick off early next year, Colorintech will connect high-performing diverse students with the top tech companies and startups.

Colorintech will be chaired by Morcea Walker MBE, a leading member of the African Caribbean community, who has contributed a great deal to education and training across the UK, resurrected the Northampton’s carnival, and was recognised by the Queen for her services to the local community in 2011.

Dion McKenzie, Colorintech CEO, said“Our mission is to create pathways of success for underrepresented minorities in the innovation economy. We want to elicit change among companies, making them realise that a more diverse workforce is not just a moral imperative but it makes business sense as it leads to better financial performance. Research[3] shows that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. It’s clear therefore that developing and supporting talent from all backgrounds must become a key factor for companies wanting to succeed in the long-term. And Colorintech by connecting companies with BAME talent will help organisations take true action for increasing diversity and inclusion, and build a workforce fully representative of the UK population.”

Miranda Brawn, Co-Founder of Colorintech said: "The UK Technology and Innovation economy has a poor representation of BAME individuals across all levels with no real data.  Colorintech wants to put the spotlight on this issue of vital importance to help increase diversity. This platform aims to be the nexus between technology companies and diverse talent, encouraging race diversity and inclusion.  This will benefit the next generation of BAME leaders, current employees, organisations, the industry as well as the overall UK economy.”

Morcea Walker MBE, chairperson for Colorintech, said: “In the UK, the narrative around diversity in the tech and innovation industries is lagging woefully behind the US, where our world-beating technology sector is nowhere near as diverse as it appears at first sight. By actively working to change the way our companies hire and demonstrating the boundless opportunities a diverse workforce brings, Colorintech's ambition is to bring the UK into the future, transforming our tech companies into leaders in diversity." 


[1] Equal Employment Opportunity Report – The Verge
[2] BITC - Business in the Community
[3] McKinsey & Company – Why diversity matters report, February 2015 http://bit.ly/1QhB4ur