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Policy

The Power of Inclusion

November 15, 2016 • 5 min read
Ro Prakash

Ro Prakash

CEO and Co-founder

My co-founder, Nipul, and I started Townsquared with the belief that we work stronger when we work together. Our goal has always been and continues to be empowering every local business to make the best business decisions by providing them with the most accurate information.

Right now, the small business failure rate flirts with 50 percent — there is absolutely no room for hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism. There are enough hurdles to success as we all try to build a community that is equitable and rewards hard work and creativity.

Reflecting on this week’s election results, I am compelled to re-emphasize the power of inclusion. At Townsquared, this principle is the premise of our whole business: Each local business in a community has the ability to positively affect the others precisely because of their diverse experiences and knowledge.

The social makeup of this country is built on diversity, and our diversity — including women, people of color, veterans, the disabled, and immigrants from around the world, to name a few groups — has clearly driven our country’s economic success. Immigrants, for example, are twice as likely as native-born Americans to become entrepreneurs.

A 2012 McKinsey & Company study found that companies with highest executive-board diversity had returns on equity 53 percent higher than those with the least diverse boards. According to the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned firms contribute approximately $3 trillion in economic impact to the US GDP. In 2013, the Fiscal Policy Institute found that 28 percent of the local business owners creating local jobs in the US were foreign-born.

These facts do not diminish the entrepreneurial drive of other citizens. Indeed, the inclusion of everyone who works to make America a better, more prosperous country for everyone is the point.

The evidence is clear: We are stronger when we work together.

On Friday, I spoke to my employees about the week’s events. In their eyes, I saw both hope and fear. Hope because we as a citizenry live in a place where we can enact change. Fear because it feels as though we are all of us splintered away from one another by a mutual incomprehension that exacerbates the rhetoric of both spite and condescension.

We are a company of different genders, beliefs, races, and immigration statuses. That diversity of perspectives is one of our greatest strengths. We believe we can our achieve our mission because of our commitment to a diversity of talent and ideas. We overcome fear and anxiety by taking the time to understand each other’s views, even when we do not agree with them.

I implore everyone to harness the power of inclusion, reject hatred, and listen to all views, no matter how different they may be from your own.

Together we will figure out the best path forward.

 

Here are some upcoming business events that support entrepreneurial diversity.

New York City

InclusionNYC: Tech, Mentorship, Inclusion, December 6, 2016

Oakland

Women in Leadership: Lessons for Success, November 17, 2016

Come Meet the Neighbors, December 7, 2016

Seattle 

Seattle Startup Week events, November 15 – 18, 2016

Originally published on Medium, November 13, 2016


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