New award honours tech diversity

Digital Agenda Awards, the stage with crowd

Written by Julian Blake , Director of Digital Agenda

DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards are back for a third year – and for 2019 we’ve added a diversity category. Julian Blake explains the thinking behind the new award – and the sorts of innovations the judges will be looking for.

DigitalAgenda’s quest for the very best of UK tech for good is on – with our 2019 Impact Awards open for entries until 23:59 on Friday 21 December.

Concern about the lack of diversity in UK tech has led to the emergence of numerous campaigns and programmes promoting inclusion of under-represented groups, as well as supporting founders and startups with investment and more.

Among the stats we must stop getting used to are that just one in five of those working in tech are women, and the fact that black and minority ethnic employment is in single percentage figures. People with disabilities, different sexual or gender preferences or from lower income backgrounds, are massively under-represented.

That’s why for 2019’s Impact Awards we have created a new diversity award, recognising initiatives and digital products that support and promote inclusion, and that boost under-represented groups in the technology sector. That could mean startups, investors, or established organisations trying to change themselves.

Among the initiatives we’ve been glad to see emerge in tech are:

  • Angel Academe – pro-women and award winning angel network
  • Colourintech – non-profit dedicated to a fairer, transparent and more inclusive UK digital economy
  • Global Disability Innovation Hub – building a movement to accelerate disability innovation for a fairer world
  • Series Q – network for LGBTQ in UK tech startups
  • SheCanCode – empowering women to enter and remain in the tech industry
  • Tech Talent Charter – government-backed campaign to drive diversity and address gender imbalance in technology
  • UKBlackTech – on a mission to make the UK tech sector the most diverse tech sector in the world
  • We In Social Tech – new London accelerator dedicated to female social tech founders

This is just a small sample of the many initiatives out there promoting under-representation and inclusion. If you’re working in this space, and want to promote what you’re doing, why not enter your project for the Impact Awards diversity category?

Thanks to sponsor BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, for sponsoring this new award. BCS has made diversity a major organisational and campaigning priority.

Look out for more on our second new category – safety – soon.

Entry to the Impact Awards is open to any UK-operating business, government or non-profit using digital products or services for positive social or environmental impact.

The awards are open for entries across our 12 themed categories until 23.59 on Friday 21 December. Entry is free via our new dedicated website at

Judging takes place in January 2019, with the finalists announced in the first week of February. Entries are judged by our expert jury against five clear criteria: idea, product/service, team, scalability and impact. Read our entry guidelines.

The 2019 awards ceremony happens on Thursday March 7 in London. Our afternoon awards ceremony will hear from winners and great guest speakers. An evening reception follows, giving winners and guests the chance to celebrate and connect. Look out for more on the event shortly.

We are proud this year to have Nominet as our 2019 Impact Awards headline sponsor.

Impact Awards 2019 – categories

Our awards categories are organised under three broad themes.

People theme

Diversity (sponsored by BCS) – initiatives and digital products that support and promote inclusion, and that boost under-represented groups in the technology sector.

Education – technologies that are transforming both teaching and learning, in schools, universities or online.

Employment & skills (sponsored by Barclays) – changing ways into work, and work itself, and initiatives that increase people’s skills and access to talent.

Health – technology that enhances healthcare knowledge and treatment, as well as people’s abilities to lead healthier lives.

Society theme

Connected cities (sponsored by Here East) – digital initiatives that enhance urban places and spaces, and enable people to connect more easily.

Safety – projects that promote online safety and security, including protecting vulnerable groups and children from online harm.

Social transformation – outward-facing products and services that make a positive social or environmental impact on society.

Sustainable living – technologies that help people and organisations to manage and understand environmental change, or to live more sustainably.

Business theme

Business transformation – products and projects that help business, government and non-profit organisations become more effective and happier, healthier places to work.

Financial inclusion (sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group) – technologies that make it easier for people to save and spend, and enhance access to and the quality of financial services.

Sharing economy – helping people and organisations share resources more easily, for a social or environmental benefit.

Investment (sponsored by ClearlySo) – the best in impact funding provided by investors and backers of all kinds, across all platforms and funding routes.

Special awards

People’s choice – the winner of our public vote, drawn from the 36 finalists across 12 categories.

Individual impact – outstanding contribution by an individual in helping to grow technology for good, through personal giving of time or money.

The Impact Awards are also supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Further awards sponsorship opportunities are available. Find out more.

DigitalAgenda’s 2019 Impact Awards are open for entries until 23.59 on Friday 21 December. Enter now.

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