A Women in Tech Special Interest Group is launching as part of TechWM’s strategic goal to grow the region’s digital economy and establish it is an internationally recognised tech hub.

With an overarching aim to make the region a “Global tech superpower with soul”, the West Midlands is committed to creating a new socially responsible world driven by technology where it benefits everyone, solves some of societies’ greatest challenges, and creates digital empowerment.

The group has been created with the aim of improving the landscape for women in tech; elevating their voices and contributions to the sector, and promoting better gender equality across leadership and investment. A launch event will be taking place on Thursday 18 April at Bruntwood SciTech’s new smart-enabled building, Enterprise Wharf, bringing the ecosystem together to recognise and celebrate women across the sector.

Chairing the group is Tara Attfield Tomes, founder of EAST VILLAGE., a multi award-winning PR agency working with tech brands that empower underserved communities and organisations that support the ecosystem. She comments:

“The stats are horrifying. Women make up only 24% of the tech industry, with less than 3% from Black and ethnic minority groups. A massive 77% of leadership roles in tech are filled by men, and we’ve all heard the statistics around only 2% of VC funding going to female founders.

As a group, we want to tackle these stats head on and shine a light on the organisations, initiatives, and individuals working hard to create change. Our focus is on getting more women into tech and advocating for changes that enhance retention, ensuring that organisations support more women into leadership roles through robust sponsorship and mentorship. In addition to helping more female founders securing funding, of course.

Collectively, our goal is to make the West Midlands the best region for women to succeed in tech!”

The group’s launch even will welcome Lisa Slade, Managing Director at Accenture, leading tech transformation in large-scale complex deliveries, with a team of 1,000 Data and AI engineers. Alongside Jordan Dargue, Co-Founder of Lifted Ventures, a leader in the gender-smart investing space that focuses on helping more female founders to secure investment.

There will also be an interactive panel discussion featuring women from across the region’s tech scene, which will be chaired by Kellie Kwarteng, Founder and CEO of Halzak – a boutique recruitment firm connecting underrepresented talent with leading tech companies – and host of the Elevate Women in Tech podcast.

The panel will feature:
– Amandip Kaur Jheeta, Director at NTT Data UK&I and Chair of the organisation’s Women’s Business Network
– Carla Brown, Founder of Black Tech in Brum
– Oyin Adebayo, a serial tech entrepreneur, Angel Investor, and founder of Niyo Group
– Paula Whitehouse, Deputy Dean of Enterprise and Innovation at Aston University
– Roxy Kasprzyk, Co-Founder of safety start-up, SafeQueen

Kath Fuller, COO at TechWM, adds:

“Our Women in Tech Special Interest Group will bring together people and projects that are focussed on empowering and improving the landscape for women across the industry. From networking groups and promotional platforms, to targeted support and access to finance – we’re here to coordinate, champion and celebrate our united response to the challenges facing women in tech.

This follows the success of our AI & Future Tech Forum, which launched last year, with future plans for Special Interest Groups for key areas such as cyber security and ESG. The upcoming launch event is the perfect opportunity to network with fellow tech professionals, gain insights from prominent female leaders in the tech world, and connect with like-minded individuals.”

Join the official launch and learn how the Women in Tech Special Interest Group is planning to make the West Midlands the number one region for women in tech to thrive.

This event is kindly sponsored by the West Midlands Innovation Accelerator.