Inclusive platform Include Me has launched a directory of ‘exceptional entrepreneurs’ from across the UK to give more role models to groups under-represented in the UK business and tech industry.

The Diversity-List, or D-Listis a searchable database of entrepreneurs that displays their industry specializations, contact details and brief biographies.

Perhaps most useful for an industry plagued by an overwhelmingly white male presence, D-List shows the availability of entrepreneurs to speak at conferences, panels, workshops and for mentorship.

The Northern-led initiative also features the locations of D-List members to showcase the regional talent available across the UK.

“After working in the technology and STEM sectors for many years, I was shocked by the persistent lack of diversity,” said Mel Selvon Elyard, founder of Include Me and the D-List.

“Knowledge of role models plays a central role in shaping a young professional’s career and is especially important if you belong to an underrepresented group. Lack of representation in the workplace can lead to feelings of isolation and lack of confidence, lower levels of productivity and satisfaction, leading to demotivation in the workplace.”

In accordance with a study by Innovative UK and the FSB, 75% of entrepreneurs grow up with dynamic role models. However, 78% of female business owners did not see role models of the same gender, while more than half of people from ethnic minorities did not have role models of the same ethnicity as them.

Diversity continues to be a challenge for the tech industry, with data from Tech Nation showing that only 19% of tech workers are women, compared to 49% of the workforce in the UK.

D-List launched with an initial 100 members, but the directory is looking to grow. Entrepreneurs stand out through online application form to become part of the D-list.

D-List will be officially launched at an event in Leeds on Thursday night. Details of the launch party can be found here.

Introducing the D-List, a diverse directory of UK entrepreneurs

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