How can a startup think about DEI when it’s fighting to make payroll?

On Thursday, June 3rd at 12PM EST, The Diversity Movement will be hosting a webinar, “Why the Startup Community Should Care about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” Panelists are Shelley Willingham, VP of Business Strategy at The Diversity Movement, Lister Delgado, Managing Partner at IDEA Fund, and Donald Thompson, CEO of The Diversity Movement. 

When you’re a startup fighting and scrapping for survival, there’s limited time, money, and attention, and it’s hard to think about building a company with a DEI lens. But in this webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about how exactly startups can activate DEI into their cultures.  This won’t be a webinar about the why – we all know the many reasons why – because you’ll get different perspectives, you’ll get different ideas, your team will be happier, you’ll think outside the box, and because your company will grow.  No, this webinar will be the how. Actionable tips that you can use to improve your DEI culture tomorrow. See you there!


With today’s ever changing climate,  it is important to keep ourselves educated on how to keep an open and respectful mind towards different communities and individuals. This principle is something that needs to be incorporated into everyone’s everyday life as well as within organizations and businesses. It’s important for organizations to prioritize their efforts in teaching their employees and staff about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 


DEI is essential for startups  to prioritize as they build their brand and create their employee teams. An inclusive environment where everyone feels respected for who they are is a more productive one. According to Jackie Ferguson on the Winning with Diversity Podcast, diverse workplace cultures “generate 19% more revenue through innovation. If you think about it within the frame of your own organization, if you’re a startup leader, what can 19% more revenue do?”



Startups have the power to create changes in the business world as they are starting in a millennial era. These new companies are young and have the ability to reverse the decades of racial and gender bias that has prevented people of color (POC) and women from both being hired  or climbing the corporate ladder. As we work towards a more inclusive world,  startups can be the leaders in ending bias in the workplace.

For starters, it is necessary to recognize why DEI is important to your startup. Once you figure out what diversity means to your company, then you are able to create a mission statement and goals that revolve around being unbiased and inclusive in relation to work ethic, clients, employees, and beyond.

There are several different ways to incorporate DEI in your startup. I’ll mention a couple here, but then if you want to learn more, join the Webinar or listen to the Winning with Diversity Podcast.

One way is to implement implicit bias training when employees join the company. These programs are designed to expose people to the unconscious biases they might hold towards others. By making this part of an employee’s initial training, a startup can start with a foundation of employees who will be able to recognize their bias and take action against it. 

Another way is to create a diversity task force in your startup. By creating this, you have a group of people who enforce the DEI policies decided by your company.  Taking these initiatives will allow for a more comfortable working environment as well as a safe space where employees can work without fear of their skin color or gender getting in the way.

That’s it for now, and as mentioned at the top, for startups looking to learn more about DEI, The Diversity Movement is hosting a free webinar on June 3 at 12 p.m. EST about “Why the Startup Community Should Care About Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” In this webinar, startup leaders and investors will learn how to leverage DEI to positively impact their bottom line.

About the Author
As a student journalist and current Tar Heel, Aashna is always chasing the next story. She strives to tell the story of those who often are left unheard. With a love for broadcast, storytelling, radio and writing, she hopes to find her true calling through various experiences.