Improving diversity and inclusion in the Greek entrepreneurial ecosystem

By Endeavor Greece Mar 8, 2021

Thoughts by Endeavor Entrepreneur Nicky Goulimis

Nicky Goulimis, the co-founder & COO of Nova Credit, shares her views on female positioning and overall diversity in the entrepreneurial ecosystem both in Greece and globally. Given her experience in New York’s tech ecosystem, in addition to her understanding of the Greek culture and entrepreneurial scene, she shares with us insights on the current state of female founders and she suggests policies that Greek founders should have in mind, in order for us to see more female leadership and mixed gender teams in Greece.

“In general, a team that does not represent the 100% of the popularity, but only a 30%, has very few potential on becoming successful. As they say, ‘ideas count for nothing; execution is everything’. After 5 years in Nova Credit, I can confirm this as well. Our idea was good, but the secret lies in the execution and on how you can bring the best people in to do the best possible job. In order for a company to achieve global wins, it must have the best team and if one believes that talent is evenly distributed, as science says, then founders should recruit people that belong to the 100% of the population. 

Very often, people discuss gender equality as if it’s a moral issue. In my view, it’s a business problem; as in hiring and pushing the best people to work with you. Since the very beginning of Nova Credit, we put a lot of effort into interviewing the right applicants to join our team. Whenever we realise that the final 10% of the chosen applicants are narrow demographics, we understand that we have made a mistake and we try to correct it. We do so by outreaching to specific communities and by changing the interview, or even the entire selection process. Afterall, there is an entire academic framework with best practices.

You should have very clear goals on how you recruit talent and build successful teams. At the same time, you must protect your people. Unfortunately, I believe that often there is less protection for the underrepresented or the less powerful groups. Companies can think proactively what they can do to protect employees, by writing down sexual harassment policies and having a protection in place. The same applies to sex discrimination, parental leaves and much more. Offering benefits is not enough; an employer must have a clear view on what these benefits actually mean for the employee. And although I understand and embrace all the marketing campaigns on female founders, at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. There is essential work that must be done in terms of  recruiting and forming company policies. 

We often look at narrow statistics, such as how many CEOs are women or what applies to that top 1%. These are such small sample sizes, that the smallest shift can change the numbers completely. In a small company like Nova Credit, for example, if we hire two people with a specific background, the company’s demographics will change completely.  What matters is long term changes; it’s not just a matter of who will be the next CEO of the next Greek unicorn. And it will take decades of supporting diverse people, in order for one day to have more female entrepreneurs or more founders from unrepresented backgrounds.“