Melbourne-based web series That Startup Show has partnered with City of Melbourne to create a stock photo library designed to showcase the breadth of diversity in Australia’s startup scene.
When many think of startups, the image that comes to mind can often be that of a white male in his mid-20s, smartphone in hand and dressed in the go-to uniform of jeans, sneakers and a T-shirt. Indeed, most stock image libraries are dominated by those types of images.
That Startup Show wants to prove that stereotype wrong by creating a stock photo library featuring founders and startup employees from all walks of life.
The live talkshow discusses issues facing Australian entrepreneurs and the local startup ecosystem, with its first season already being downloaded 1 million times after launching on BitTorrent in 2015.
“I think from our perspective, as we are a show and visibility is part of our mandate, showing off the different faces of entrepreneurship is critical for the development of an inclusive and strong ecosystem,” That Startup Show co-founder and chief executive Anna Reeves tells StartupSmart.
The show was approached by the City of Melbourne to create the stock photo library as a joint project, and worked with Melbourne startups in co-working spaces and accelerator programs across the city to capture images of the diversity of Australia’s startup ecosystem.
The image library will officially be launched today, October 26, after which time the photos will be available on the That Startup Show website, which will also outline conditions of how the images can be used. Startups or small businesses with up to $5 million in annual revenue will be able to use the photos, along with other members of the startup community, including community organisations, research institutions, startup incubators and accelerators, not-for-profit organisations and participants in the show.
Those who sign up to use the image library will be able to use the photos for up to five years.
— That Startup Show (@tsushow) October 24, 2017
Issues of diversity and inclusion in the tech sector have been widely publicised in the media this year, with Silicon Valley giants like Google, Uber and 500 Startups all subject to criticism for gender-related issues within their organisations.
For Reeves, who says “we are what we see”, fostering a welcoming and diverse ecosystem is all about making diverse, local faces more prominent.
“I think diversity in imagery is very powerful,” she says.
“We had feedback from other people who were saying, we look at stock images and they’re very American, there’s no aspects of Australia there.”
To address this issue, That Startup Show visited Melbourne co-working spaces like Gravity and startup programs like the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) to capture the local startup scene in action. It’s a model that Reeves hopes to roll out across Australia in future.
“This was a wonderful collaborative opportunity to bring people together: real people, real startups and real community members,” she says.
“This is a potential future stepping stone to do this in other cities and regions in Australia — we definitely think we need to showcase some groups further, and we will do so in future.”
Reeves says season two of That Startup Show is “not too far off” and assures viewers there are “some exciting things in the pipeline” for the show.
Building a more diverse ecosystem
For startups looking to do their part to foster diversity in their organisation, Reeves says visibility is key.
“If founders are thinking about their media and marketing, it’s healthy to showcase different, diverse people in your company — think about a different person who could represent your brand,” she says.
Reeves says that the hiring process is also a crucial time for establishing diversity within a company.
“Make sure during hiring phases you’re looking at a more diverse pool of talent,” Reeves says.
Asking for different perspectives can also combat issues of unconscious bias, something Reeves employs at That Startup Show.
“Sometimes when I interview people, I ask for different people’s perspectives in the company,” she says.