Future History Now event took place on February 25 at Union Hall and brought together a diverse crowd to hear from two equally diverse panels consisting of minority business leaders, investors and diversity champions from Cincinnati’s BigCos.
It was the beginning of an important conversation – not just for our startup ecosystem but for our entire city. It also highlighted the importance of embracing diversity – not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it’s a good business decision.
At the end of the day, we’re all in the business of making money. So with stats like racially and
ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers and inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% on team-based assessments, it makes good business sense to focus on inclusion. As one panelist said “Greed always beats exclusion”.
As we continue to grow and as more entrepreneurs find success in Cincinnati, how do we ensure everyone in the region sees the benefits of our prosperity? It’s a question that is hard to answer and a problem that is even harder to solve.
But, when it comes to business, people work with who they know and trust. So the first step we can all take is to expand the circle of people we know and trust to include more diversity. And not diversity for the sake of diversity (like some bad sitcom), but diversity that runs deeper than race, color or creed.
Find people with different ideas, with different life experiences and different skill sets. Expand your network to include people who think, act and work different. It’s not about having a black friend to reference at dinner parties. It’s about having mentors, advisors and business partners that challenge the foundations of your perceptions and change the way you think for the better.
Cincinnati has an opportunity to be known as the city where anyone with a good idea will succeed. If we do this right, our ecosystem and our city will be stronger and more prosperous. We can create a model for the entire nation and a legacy future Cincinnatians will be proud of. But it all starts with that first honest conversation.