The state of inappropriate behaviour in the Finnish startup industry

startup survey

A survey jointly commissioned together by the Startup Foundation, the Finnish Business Angels Network, the Finnish Startup Community, the Finnish Venture Capital Association, Slush, and Aaltoes, set out to gather data so that they could better plan actions to make the startup industry more equitable. 

Lack of data in the Finnish Start-up Industry

The commissioning organizations, representing a broad range of ecosystem actors from startups to investors, wanted to understand the full picture. They aimed to identify necessary actions for making the industry a more inclusive and safe environment for all.

Survey co-created for the industry, by the industry

Finnish Startup Industry sought out a partner to conduct a survey to better understand the extent and forms in which inappropriate and exclusionary practices were taking place in the industry. They partnered up with Inklusiiv, a global DEI consultancy helping organizations build more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces.

The online survey was conducted in October and November 2023. Individuals in the Finnish startup industry were invited to take part in the survey via open link, which was distributed through the commissioning organisations’ mailing lists and social media channels. In total, the survey received 526 responses.

The survey’s questions focused on experiences of inappropriate behaviours and exclusion, along with views and experiences on equity and inclusion and ideas on what could be done next. Inklusiiv analysed the results and crafted recommendations for the next steps. 

“We’d like to encourage other industries to create similar studies. It’s significantly easier to bring these topics up as an industry as opposed to individual companies. We strongly recommend working with Inklusiiv as they have extensive experience conducting surveys like these and have the ability to recommend relevant next steps.”’– Josefiina Kotilainen,  CEO, Startup Foundation

A nationwide discussion has begun

The Finnish Startup Industry wanted to be transparent and communicate the survey’s findings. The results were publicly shared through social media and a news feature in YLE. The partnership yielded media attention, increased discussions, and stronger commitment from organizations and its main actors. 

The organizations that commissioned the survey have formed an Ethics Committee. The committee’s role is to foster equality and fair treatment in the startup sector and compile actionable recommendations for the Finnish startup industry. The committee has decided to take many of Inklusiiv’s recommendations forward. In addition, the commissioning organisations are working on building more equitable and inclusive cultures and practices in their respective roles in the startup ecosystem.

Inklusiiv facilitated the collaboration in an effortless way and made it easy to move from understanding and analysing the issues to discussing their recommendations for next steps. They brought in their expertise to every conversation in an insightful and constructive manner.– Josefiina Kotilainen,  CEO, Startup Foundation

The commissioning organizations have also committed to repeat the survey in about three years to see if the development is going in the right direction.

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