Speaking Startup: Driven by a desire for diversity

Entrepreneurs start businesses for all sorts of reasons. For some, the motivation stems from discrimination or an unwelcoming environment at a previous job.

Veta Jeffery, executive director of the Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce, has experienced those types of work environments, and she has seen the benefits of inclusive workplaces.

“Companies that are going to continue to grow and thrive have no choice but to diversify in their culture, in their thinking, in their offering, in their training and who runs the company,” Jeffrey said.

Research reinforces the value of diversity within a workplace. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their peers, and companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to do the same, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.

On this week’s episode of Speaking Startup, we look at entrepreneurs who are driven to start companies because of a desire for more diversity and representation — and how inclusive cultures can help companies thrive.

Plus, the 10th rendition of Kansas City’s Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair was forced online by the coronavirus pandemic. We talk with the fair’s founder about what that means for the event and the makers it traditionally brings together.


The Speaking Startup podcast explores news and issues important to Missouri entrepreneurs. Find more Speaking Startup on our website or wherever you get podcasts.


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