Home Companies How DNNL and its Launchpad unlocks the complete potential in underrepresented founders

How DNNL and its Launchpad unlocks the complete potential in underrepresented founders

How DNNL and its Launchpad unlocks the complete potential in underrepresented founders


Startups have dramatically modified our life. From how we join with new folks, order issues on-line, get from level A to level B, to buying medicines, startups have made an affect in each facet.

Along with remodeling our life for good, startups additionally promised to alter illustration in comparison with different large organisations.

In actuality, large organisations are making extra progress with range and inclusion than startups, which have management that match within the standard mould outlined by societal norms.

Discovering various leaders is much more tough within the Dutch tech ecosystem, which has solely seen decline in illustration in comparison with the European tech ecosystem.

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Now, one organisation is tasked with enhancing range and inclusion (D&I) within the Dutch startup and it’s referred to as the Dutch New Narrative Lab (DNNL).

Inception of DNNL

Dutch New Narrative Lab was fashioned in response to a 2020 article discussing boardroom racism | Picture Credit score: DNNL

The DNNL was born as an initiative out of a Variety Exploration commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Financial Affairs and Local weather (EZK).

This exploration was in response to a 2020 article discussing boardroom racism and Ruben Courageous, a serial tech entrepreneur, investor, and multi-board member, was tasked with exploring how the federal government may contribute to enhancing range and inclusion (D&I) within the ecosystem of progressive entrepreneurship, together with startups, scale-ups, and company ventures.

Courageous says he anticipated to have round 20 conversations as a part of this exploration however the effort concerned “greater than 350 private and intense conversations.”

“These conversations included not solely people from various ethnic backgrounds but additionally ladies from non-traditional backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ+ group, disabled people, and other people with various abilities and views,” he explains.

He additional provides that these conversations led to a number of key suggestions geared toward unlocking entrepreneurial expertise and enhancing entry to numerous types of capital.

Courageous makes it clear that the capital is not only restricted to monetary capital but additionally cultural capital (corresponding to language abilities required for profitable financing purposes), symbolic capital (entry to larger visibility and recognition for achievements), and social capital (entry to networks with new sources and information).

It’s exceptional that the ministry shouldn’t be solely observing the shortage of range within the Dutch tech ecosystem however has taken the matter into its personal palms to deal with this hole.

It’s doing so by establishing a sturdy information infrastructure to measure the exclusion of expertise and by empowering people to take initiative themselves.

With the objective of fostering larger fairness and alternative for all, Courageous says, “The exploration underscored the necessity for larger transparency in monitoring progress towards D&I inside organisations, notably these receiving public funds and authorities help.”

Serving to the underrepresented teams

Ruben Brave DNNL Unconferences
Ruben Courageous is a serial entrepreneur and key chief behind DNNL | Picture Credit score: DNNL

The Dutch D&I in Digital Benchmark 2023 is a stark reminder of how corporations and the Dutch tech ecosystem has performed little to maneuver the needle on range and inclusion.

With whole ladies in Dutch tech declining from 38 per cent in 2022 to 37 per cent in 2023 and a decline of two share factors in terms of ladies in tech roles, the benchmark is a watch opener.

The truth that solely 25 per cent of managers agreed to having D&I aims or KPIs of their efficiency measures is an indication for the necessity to utterly rethink the efforts on this area.

Courageous argues that this decline in illustration seen within the benchmark report may be attributed to implicit bias in decision-making & tradition and retractive motion from underrepresented teams.

Whereas points associated to hiring practices, instructional gaps, firm traditions, and even non-representative management may be addressed, Courageous is worried about “non-inclusive narrative round progressive entrepreneurship which ends up in retention challenges, gender disparities and disconnects between networks of teams inside society.”

DNNL is thus specializing in enhancing entry to progressive entrepreneurship for all underrepresented teams throughout the Dutch startups and tech ecosystem.

“DNNL’s mission is rooted in recognising the progressive energy of range and inclusion,” Courageous affirms.

It does this by rising the visibility of underrepresented teams by way of innovation challenges like Deloitte Quick 50 Rising Star, ESDP Innovation Problem, Girls of the Future – 50 Rising Stars in ESG in London, Impactful Grower Award NLGroeit/Erasmus College – High 250 Development Firms 2023, Girls in Tech Awards Europe 2023, SheLeads 2023, and Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award.

Courageous says, “These challenges present a platform for showcasing the work and improvements of various entrepreneurs.”

It additionally has an entrepreneurship lab the place DNNL supplies mentoring, enterprise improvement, valorisation, and funding matching companies for ventures led by underrepresented founders.

And thru its occasion DNNL unConferences, the initiative facilitates networking amongst stakeholders and supplies a platform for sharing inspirational entrepreneurship.

It additionally collects suggestions from underrepresented founders to determine obstacles within the ecosystem and collaborates with the OECD to make it worthwhile enter for policymakers at varied ranges.

“DNNL performs a pivotal function in creating alternatives, rising visibility, and fostering inclusivity for underrepresented teams throughout the Dutch startup and tech ecosystem by way of a multi-pronged strategy that entails collaboration with various stakeholders and organisations,” argues Courageous.

DNNL Launchpad

DNNL underrepresented groups
DNNL needs to equip a beforehand ignored pool of excessive potential founders | Picture Credit score: DNNL

From strengthening seed capital regulation, laws for inclusive procurement, to nationwide motion plan for inclusive entrepreneurship, DNNL is looking for giant modifications to assist underrepresented teams.

Now, it’s taking a step additional with the launch of a 12-week pre-accelerator programme in Amsterdam referred to as DNNL Launchpad.

The Launchpad is designed to place the event of entrepreneurial abilities as founders first and purposes for the programme are open until September 22. Click on right here to use for DNNL Launchpad.

DNNL Launchpad comes at a juncture when it’s evident that the trail to constructing a profitable enterprise within the Netherlands or Europe favours solely an unique few.

“Given the big variety of economical, environmental and social challenges that we face as we speak, we merely want extra folks to have the ability to get entry to the sources they should assist resolve them,” says Kimberly Ofori, Director of the Entrepreneurship Lab & Launchpad.

Ofori, who is likely one of the companions at Dutch New Narrative Lab, sees a big pool of untapped potential and expertise and says this pool consists of the forms of founders who show to be probably the most resilient, an essential talent for any founder.

In contrast to the Silicon Valley mannequin that focuses on constructing unicorns, the Launchpad will intention to show these entrepreneurs and their startups into camels, which might survive for lengthy intervals in extraordinarily hostile situations.

Ofori explains, “Startup camel enterprises supply companies in all industries and sectors worthwhile classes on how one can survive and develop in hostile situations.”

“They do that with three methods in thoughts: they execute balanced development; they take a long-term outlook; they usually weave diversification into the enterprise mannequin,” she provides.

As a traction pushed accelerator, Ofori says DNNL Launchpad will give attention to startups with robust enterprise circumstances, working enterprise fashions, independent enterprise producing gross sales, and people with income first mannequin.

“Our thesis is to let your clients be your first buyers,” she quips.

Along with this, the Launchpad will even be residence to entrepreneurs who didn’t envision this path within the first place however determined to stroll the trail of entrepreneurship “to resolve an even bigger drawback that has affected them personally.”

Founder journey and actual range

DNNL unconferences
DNNL is tasked with enhancing range and inclusion (D&I) within the Dutch startup ecosystem | Picture Credit score: DNNL

“We [DNNL] consider,” Ofori says, “robust founders construct robust companies.” She says the Launchpad may have a razor sharp give attention to the founder journey by taking a look at each private and entrepreneurial talent improvement of the founder.

The programme will assist the chosen founders get their proposition iron sharp, construct in scalability, and get them to a income development stage.

It’s a tall order however Ofori acknowledges that the response has been “overwhelmingly” optimistic.

“Most startup operators recognise the hole we need to fill,” she says, including, “and we’ve already been approached by different accelerators to debate collaborations.”

She additional notes that founders have principally been enthusiastic in regards to the programme’s income first focus and the power to get prime quality help whereas nonetheless with the ability to construct on their very own phrases.

As a way to make the method of becoming a member of Launchpad each clean and accessible, DNNL is providing a 15 minute consumption choice with Ofori, the place she’s going to reply any questions that founders might have earlier than they apply.

That is adopted by a proper utility and chosen founders are then invited for a closing interview. Ofori clarifies that they’re at present admitting founders on a rolling foundation till September 22, 2023.

One of many key components that Ofori is searching for in startups being chosen for Launchpad is actual range in founding groups.

She says they’ve adopted the event and development of mature startup ecosystems just like the US and there’s information exhibiting that various groups outperform non-diverse groups in nearly all areas.

At DNNL, this range goes past thought and likewise appears at range by way of gender, cultural background, work and life expertise, bodily talents, et cetera.

She says, “Numerous groups will resolve issues that have an effect on a bigger group of the inhabitants as a result of they signify them, and all these completely different views on how one can make issues higher for everybody.”

To achieve this range objective, DNNL is taking a look at every particular person story, their background and what makes these founders distinctly distinctive.

“Inside their groups we are going to search for alignment in imaginative and prescient and goal however coming from completely different backgrounds and what makes them uniquely certified for his or her roles,” she additional notes.

A various Dutch tech ecosystem

Jean-Marc ter Riet DNNL
Jean-Marc ter Riet is an affiliate companion at DNNL | Picture Credit score: DNNL

Ofori needs everybody to know that the objective of DNNL Launchpad is to construct the companies the world wants as we speak and collectively, it’s attainable.

As a way to make that attainable, she needs to listen to from founders constructing a more-than-profit enterprise that has the potential to affect at scale, have a singular founder story, and wish to construct their enterprise on their very own phrases for the lengthy haul.

The purposes for DNNL Launchpad are open until September 22 and the announcement of the cohort of chosen founders will probably be on September 29.

DNNL Launchpad programme will kick off on October 5 with bi-weekly reside days, skilled classes, and occasions. The primary skilled day on technique is scheduled for October 12 whereas the skilled day on funding is about for November 2.

The ultimate skilled day will probably be on development and scaling on November 23 earlier than the programme wraps up with demo day on December 7.

DNNL doesn’t plan to cease there and can supply prolonged help on go-to market technique and investor negotiations until early subsequent 12 months.

With the primary cohort nearly near being introduced, Ofori says they may run one other massive cohort in 2024 and plans to develop to 2 cohorts per 12 months from 2025.

On the time of writing, DNNL is simply specializing in making investor connections and getting concerned in investor conversations.

Nevertheless, sooner or later, DNNL is exploring the potential of offering direct funding to cohorts of its Launchpad programme.

With the Launchpad, DNNL is equipping a beforehand ignored pool of excessive potential founders and making ready them for the following stage of development.

Ofori says this initiative will result in diversifying investor pipelines with excessive potential startups, facilitating later stage accelerator programmes with a extra diversely gifted founder and startup base.

“The Launchpad provides tangible worth to the general Dutch economic system by creating jobs whereas offering a wider vary of options that profit us all as we speak and future generations to return,” she says.

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