Businesses must become more inclusive if the tech sector can to continue to thrive, President Barack Obama said this week.
Obama spoke at the inaugural White House Demo Day, an event that invited entrepreneurs to demonstrate products, services and applications they are using to build businesses across the globe.
Young companies collectively account for nearly 40% of new hires, but studies have found that less than 3% of venture-backed firms have a female CEO, and not even 1% were founded by an African American.
Looking to expand what the administration calls “inclusive entrepreneurship,” the White House said it looks forward to working with businesses, investors, cities and universities. Amazon, Microsoft, Pinterest and Xerox also pledged to enhance diversity in the workforce, and Intel pledged to invest $5 million to fund projects aimed at drawing women and minorities into engineering.
"We've seen again and again that companies with diverse leadership often outperform those that don't," Obama said. "That's the market that is out there — not just here in the United States, but globally. So that lack of participation from everybody isn't good for business."