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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

An integral part of the BVCA’s mission is to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within our industry and support firms to build inclusive environments in which everyone can thrive.

The BVCA promotes the participation of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and of all ethnicities, genders and sexual orientation in the private capital industry. This includes representation in investment and senior roles.

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within our industry

  • As the venture capital and private equity industry association, we will use our convening power and profile to champion and actively encourage diversity and inclusion within our industry. We will cover diversity and inclusion as a whole and seek to ensure we include areas of interest to people from all backgrounds.
  • We will support and partner with industry groups, including Level 20, Diversity VC, the British Business Bank, UK Business Angels Association, the Rose Review Council and other organisations. We will also get involved in relevant government initiatives. We will not seek to replicate the work carried out by these industry groups as they are backed by the industry.
  • We will be a forum for sharing intelligence and educating members on new and topical areas to assist their efforts.
  • We will work with our partners and other stakeholders to promote careers in the investment and financial services industry to influence the next generation.

The BVCA supports the work of Level 20 and Diversity VC and the targets they have set for the industry.

BVCA statement on Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter movement and protests around the world have been a reminder that the private equity and venture capital industry still has a long way to go to increase the representation and inclusion of people from a black and ethnic minority background, especially in senior roles. Our member code of conduct promotes the principles of equality and diversity, equal opportunities, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, and we remain committed to helping firms instigate change. We know that careers in this industry can be rewarding for all, but we also know that finding a position can be challenging. At a portfolio company level, diversity is not always present either. The BVCA is proud of our diversity series, which includes events for minorities in private equity and venture capital. This has highlighted the need for further action and so we will continue to have discussions with members, even if they are uncomfortable, and work with our partners and organisations on the actions that can lead to change.


Governance and Women in Finance Charter

We have looked at our own governance arrangements to improve the representation of women on the BVCA Council (the board), Committees and Advisory Groups. The Governance section of our website includes the BVCA Governance Handbook and provides detail on our structure and our committees, including their composition.

The members of the Council, Committees and Advisory Groups are drawn from BVCA member firms and work together in their area of expertise to advise us on a voluntary basis. We would encourage women and men from all backgrounds to apply to join these to have a role in the BVCA’s governance and a voice on matters that impact the wider industry.

HMT Women in Finance Charter

The BVCA has signed the Women in Finance Charter. This is a commitment by HM Treasury and over 300 signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair financial services industry. As the trade body for the UK venture capital and private equity industry, the BVCA has a leadership role to play in improving gender diversity in the industry and our activities are set out on this page.

The BVCA has pledged to promote gender diversity by:

  • having one member of our senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion;
  • setting internal targets for gender diversity in our senior management;
  • publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on our website; and
  • having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.

Our target is to ensure that the proportion of women or men in the senior executive management team and the Council is at least 30%. Currently, 40% of the senior executive management team and 42% of the Council is female.

The BVCA is keen to support firms considering signing up to the Charter and please contact the BVCA at bvca@bvca.co.uk for more information.

Events and networking

We host regular face-to-face networking breakfasts, forums, receptions and webinars for all gender identities, LGBTQ+ and minorities within the membership. These events are designed to be inclusive and provide a convivial and open environment to exchange experiences, share best practice, debate the issues in our industry and showcase what firms are doing to improve diversity and inclusion.

For further details, see our range of events focused on diversity. Given the importance of the diversity debate, everyone needs to be part of the conversation, so these events are open to all members.

More broadly, we are committed to ensuring there is a diverse representation of speakers, including people from all backgrounds, at our events and especially our flagship conferences such as the Summit, High Growth Conference and National Dinner Series. If you are interested in speaking at one of our events, please contact Amy at abbott@bvca.co.uk for more information.

Rose Review and Industry Guidance

HMT commissioned Alison Rose (CEO of Natwest) to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. The review shed renewed light on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses and identified ways of unlocking this untapped talent. The report and the Government response set out the steps being taken to help achieve the ambition of increasing the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030 (equivalent to nearly 600,000 additional female entrepreneurs).

The recommendations of the review are monitored by the Rose Review Board. The BVCA is a member of this board and this progress report from February 2023 highlights recent achievements. The BVCA, and a number of our members, are also members of the Rose Review Council. This group is working together to publish guidance and support the work of the review.

In February 2021, the Rose Review Council, in partnership with the Investing in Women Code (see below), Diversity VC and Diversio, published ‘Guidance and best practice: examples for VCs and institutional investors’, a document created by leading investors and professionals within the venture community as a resource to help drive greater diversity in across the investment industry. Further details are available in the press release here.

This guidance has now been made more accessible in the form of a dedicated microsite, launched in May 2023 and available to view here.

The Rose Review recommended that The Investing in Women Code be created and adopted which commits all financial institutions to the principles of gender equality and transparent reporting of gender funding data. Further details are available here along with the list of 70+ signatories, which includes many VC firms.

Research

The BVCA, in collaboration with Level 20 started gathering data on female representation within the private equity and venture capital industry in 2018, focusing on Women in Private Equity. In 2019 we undertook a similar study looking at Women in Limited Partners.

In 2020/21 we conducted a study looking at women in investment firms, to see whether there had been any improvement since the 2018 survey. We also collected data on the ethnicity of individuals working in private equity firms for the first time.

Our latest report, published in May 2023, repeats the 2020/21 study, once again looking at the representation of women and people of different ethnicities working in private equity and venture capital firms. In a further refinement to our methodology, we are now able to compare a UK office gender data set to the latest Level 20 European data. This shows the UK is performing well in comparison to other countries, with further room for progress.

Our research provides a robust and valuable data set that highlights the lack of gender diversity in senior investment roles. The pipeline, however, is promising and we will continue to work with the industry to improve on these results over the coming years.

We were also delighted to join forces with the British Business Bank and Diversity VC to run an industry-wide initiative that built the first clear picture of the representation of women – and diversity more broadly – in the pipelines of UK venture capital firms, and how this corresponds to the deals that get done. Further information is available here.

For further information and if you have any suggestions for research, please contact research@bvca.co.uk.

Outreach and careers in the industry

We need to do more to encourage women and men from all backgrounds to join and stay in the industry and this involves working with private equity and venture capital firms, universities and business schools. The BVCA is: spending time with the HR professionals within firms or those individuals with responsibility for people; promoting the issue to senior industry leaders; raising the profile of our events; and working with Level 20, Diversity VC and the other organisations listed below.

Please feel free to share this content with your networks, including schools and universities. The BVCA would be delighted to speak at events or nominate people in the industry.

Our HR events are part of our peer networking series. Please contact Amy at abbott@bvca.co.uk for more information.



Further reading

Further information

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT GURPREET MANKU

 +44 (0)20 7492 0400

 bvca@bvca.co.uk