LIOF is a regional development company focusing on the province of Limburg. Their main goal is to ensure that the economic strategies of the country and the regions are translated into investments into local economies. This includes investing in SMEs and helping them with innovative ideas, develop their business plans, build their network, and facilitate a soft landing in the Netherlands (if they’re coming from abroad).
Why did LIOF decide to join #Fundright?
We were invited to join the diversity pledge as were all other regional development companies, (and 30 odd other VCs of course) and we immediately saw the added value.
We believe that investors can be at the forefront of change because ‘Money Talks’, so where the money goes, development goes. That’s why we thought #Fundright sounded like a really strong initiative. So our directors decided to embrace it and sign the diversity pledge. As a result, we're now part of the #Fundright community and still trying to work out how to include that in our daily business.
When we did an analysis of our portfolio companies, we saw that less than 10% are led by female entrepreneurs or even female co-founders. So it's definitely not as diverse as we want it to be or what you should be aiming for as a society.
There are two critical questions we’ve been facing: Are there simply not enough diverse startups out there? Or do we not appeal to minority groups because we’re not diverse enough in their eyes?
It's really difficult to investigate. You can’t send out questionnaires for this kind of dilemma. But we believe that finding out starts by getting it on the agenda within our own company first.
So, as a result of our relationship with #Fundright, we decided to start with unconscious bias training.