About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Goal 5: We will use our position as a financer to support EDI. By 2025, 25 per cent of our investees and 50 per cent of our suppliers will be led by people from minoritised and disadvantaged groups.

Our starting point for change

Of our 23 current portfolio companies, 7 have a female CEO or founder, and only 2 have founders from a Black, Asian or and Minority Ethnic background - a reflection of systemic challenges and inequalities across entrepreneurship and impact investing. We are committed to proactively using our position as an organisation and an investor to expand representation and opportunities for business leaders of minoritised backgrounds.

How we will address this issue

Evidence shows minority-owned suppliers struggle to comply with procurement requirements but that supplier diversity is associated with various benefits, including boosting innovation, driving transparency and supporting local economies). Therefore we will review and track the diversity of our supplier frameworks and de-bias our procurement processes (as we seek to do with our recruitment processes), and support minority-owned suppliers to comply with Nesta’s procurement processes.

To prevent well-documented bias against minority founders, we will adopt measures across our outreach and funding processes. We will publicise our commitment to investing in minority-owned businesses, diversify our networks, host optional information workshops,balance the number of open calls versus warm leads and diversify our decision-making panels.

Ethnic minority business owners are less likely to be involved in formal training and more likely to rely on family, friends and informal advice. To level the playing field, we will provide tailored services in addition to regular business support for minority entrepreneurs – in line with our future approach to investments and venture building.

All investees and suppliers above a certain threshold will be required to have an EDI policy, or provide evidence they are committed to developing and achieving their own EDI goals within a reasonable timeframe. Where appropriate, we may support investees, ventures and suppliers to develop their EDI policies.

To ensure that we are measuring EDI impact across our investment portfolio and Venture Studio, we will include EDI in our impact measurement frameworks and evaluation measures.

Measures of progress

  • Capital invested in ventures led by people from minoritised and disadvantaged background
  • Leadership representation across investment and venture portfolios
  • Suppliers led by people from minoritised and disadvantaged backgrounds