Skåne tech community embraced diversity at Malmö Pride

As part of the WorldPride 2021 celebration, Skåne Startups teamed up with Malmö Pride to bring the entire community together to celebrate diversity and empower entrepreneurs of all genders.

In the framework of seminars and conferences focused on exalting plurality and celebrating differences, we developed LGBTQIA+ people in Entrepreneurship. It was an international event in which the perspectives of great experts in diversity were integrated with an audience interested in expanding inclusivity through innovation and entrepreneurship.

For this reason, we brought together various key players including gender scientists, LGBTQIA+ founders, and researchers in a discussion that led us to reflect on the individual and collective role in closing the gender gap.

Vanessa Schmidt, a panelist pointed out challenges to raise awareness about gender equality in common workplaces. Vanessa is gender and cultural scientist with work experience in the non-profit sector, cultural organization, and academia. Vanessa is passionate about separatist cultural work and social movements. She brought awareness to creating safe spaces for discussions and the importance of non-assumption.

As part of Jämställd Utveckling Skåne (Gender Equality Development), Vanessa is a key helper in building an inclusive region supported by educational programs, talks, and training sessions. She also gave important recommendations to implement inclusive language as part of the inclusion strategy in corporations.

Anna Blixt also joined the event as a panelist and shared her experience as a lecturer in gender equality. Discussions led on regarding the biased labor markets and going beyond one’s acquaintances in talent acquisition. Anna guided a sharp conversation due to her extensive knowledge and education in gender studies, political science, and economics.

We also talked about the value of proactively educating oneself relying on means as accessible as Google to understand different genders and creating fair and inclusive environments for all. A tip: go beyond the cultural norm of having business conversations in the Sauna or the golf club!

Karl Yves Vallin who is a co-founder of Lufu is also a project manager for RFSL Malmö and a facilitator of the Refugees, Borders & Immigration summit at the Human Rights Forum of World Pride. Karl works to promote the rights of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees globally.

Karl discussed the often sideline topic of LGBTQIA+ refugees and forcibly displaced people. As an activist in human rights and a founder of a thriving company, Karl’s insights were crucial at our impactful event. Especially the fact that refugees who belong to the LGBTQIA+ community are often discriminated against by their own nation’s community as well as society as a whole. Therefore it is more than ever important to consider these marginalized communities in entrepreneurship.

As our fourth panelist, we had the honor of listening to Ingo Cando, a queer arts and culture entrepreneur who founded Wotever World. Ingo has experience of over 25 years spanning from London to Malmö in creating business ventures that are connected to establishing a more equal society. Ingo discussed matters of community building and the journey of Wotever World.

Ingo reminded us to be curious but kind and accept all people regardless of their sexuality. After all, if we are to make Skåne the most thriving startup ecosystem, we must go beyond cultural and societal norms and create equal opportunity for all.

At the end of the panel, the public had the opportunity to interact with the panelists and continue the analysis from the perspectives and experiences of the participants. In the networking session, eager founders, experienced entrepreneurs, and global talents got together to build a more inclusive community in southern Sweden.

This event served as a meeting point for various actors fighting for human rights. The networking space inspired to promote international communities open to diversity. It also motivated the construction of entrepreneurial projects based on inclusion among the participants.

With the audience participation, we engaged in insightful reflections regarding the importance of expanding inclusion to all environments, such as personal and professional contexts. Likewise, we developed critical conversations about the necessity of interactions where respect and dignity prevail over all.

Thus, the encounter strengthened the entrepreneurial ecosystem from equality and served to encourage discussions of gender diversity, prioritizing labor inclusion in entrepreneurial settings.