Diversity Report

First Diversity Map of the Romanian Startup Ecosystem


As we started walking this path, part of our mission was to add a new layer of understanding to our program. We were, from the beginning, aware that the road ahead might bring complex, engaging, and different challenges. We aimed to spot what wasn't spotted yet and naturally, some of the following questions came to our minds: Is there more talent in the startup ecosystem than appearances show? If yes, how can it be harnessed? What tools and resources are needed to do that?

If in the beginning, we focused on offering support to mixed teams, this year we found out we can do more than that. So we chose to advocate for a more significant cause that includes gender: diversity in the national startup ecosystem.

So, in 2022, StepFWD aspires to promote and support diverse teams to create a more inclusive ecosystem and to highlight the latent talent of those who, for whatever reason, face obstacles or opt not to found a startup.


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Main insights

#1 Diversity brings diversity

According to international reports and studies, diversity and gender equality are not seen as core values in Romanian society, so the high percentage of Romanian startups labelled as diverse can't be extrapolated to the entire ecosystem. Most probably, the startups that don't see diversity as a value chose not to complete the questionnaire or thought it was not for them. So, as good as results seem to be, such a long way ahead for a society and a business culture where diversity and inclusion are appreciated and celebrated. But every small step is actually a huge step once is made.

#2 The future of diversity lies sparkling ahead

We might not be there yet, but as we said, we are definitely on the right track. Almost a quarter of our respondents plan some actions to improve diversity and their startup and two-thirds said they might do it. On top of that, more than half consider diversity a significant value for their startup. (rating it +7 out of 10 as importance).

#3 Diversity leads to creativity which leads to performance

We all know that one good thing brings another, which is also the case for diversity. For someone that falls into any category that brings diversity to a startup, it usually means that they had to overcome some difficult situations in their professional career, and that better equipped them. In this sense, studies show that diversity creates the premises for increased creativity. And we all know creativity has high value. Interestingly, even though it is well known that diverse teams tend to raise less money than normative teams, in our case, diversity can be correlated to a better performance of teams in terms of growth and funding.

#4 Solutions for more diversity are right at the corner

Asked if diversity should be improved in the startup ecosystem, almost half of the respondents said yes, a few less said maybe, and only very few said no. And the better part is that more than a third of them shared their ideas and solutions for this. A glossary of these can be found in this report, representing a possible starting point toward a more diverse and inclusive startup ecosystem.

#5 Updating recruiting procedures is key to a more diverse team

This report aims to identify the solutions to more diverse teams that the innovation ecosystem's actors plan to implement. One of the recurring themes that showed up in the answers was the need to reform the hiring process.

Now let’s hear some exciting findings about diversity in the Romanian startup ecosystem!

Get your own copy of the Diversity Report!

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