Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Our promise to our team and our partners

By Roopa Kudva

Omidyar Network India’s mission is to drive empowerment. And our purpose is to invest in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian.

To realise our mission and purpose, a deep commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a must. Our promise to our team is that we will create a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and respectful environment for you.

Our promise to our investees is that we will embed DEI in all aspects of our work with you. Our choice of “who we serve” – India’s Next Half Billion – has inclusion at its core. The Next Half Billion are predominantly from the bottom 60% of India’s income distribution and have traditionally been excluded, disempowered, and underserved. Their well-being will determine India’s future for the next several decades.

However, we recognise that this is not enough. Income is one among numerous kinds of inequalities in our society, others being gender, caste, religion, sexual orientation, and physical and mental abilities, to name a few. Every day, these inequalities manifest themselves in the form of discrimination and denial of opportunities for millions of our fellow citizens. In fact, the Next Half Billion segment itself is broad and requires a nuanced approach to different marginalised and minority groups within its fold. Thus, a deliberate DEI focus is important even for those organisations already serving the Next Half Billion. We are fortunate to partner with organisations working with some of the most marginalised populations in India. Many of these organisations are led by founders from various under-represented groups. However, these mark only the beginning of what we can and should do. Given the socio-economic realities, we believe that we must adopt a more deliberate and clear agenda for DEI in our own organisation and in our role as investors.

DEI begins at home

Any serious DEI agenda must start with ourselves. We are committed to:

  • Establishing a clear firm-level DEI agenda and targets, and holding ourselves accountable to them.
  • Attracting and promoting diverse talent in our teams, starting with increasing diversity in our applicant pools.
  • Actively cultivating a DEI mindset within our team by encouraging free and open conversations.
  • Maintaining a high bar for a respectful and inclusive workplace culture – an environment that is welcoming of colleagues with diverse backgrounds, ideas, opinions and needs, and continues to remain free from any form of harassment.

Embedding DEI in our work with our partners

As Funders, we can play a role in helping our investees in their DEI journeys. Through our investments and grants, we are privileged to work with some of the most notable, innovative, and rapidly growing organisations in India, whose practices can have a demonstration effect on many others. We are committed to:

  • Inspiring and creating a more diverse pool of entrepreneurs.
  • Fostering and contributing to the wider discourse and learning on DEI.
  • Clearly communicating our DEI priorities to entrepreneurs. We will do so in a manner that is supportive and non-judgemental, so that entrepreneurs feel comfortable in having these conversations with us.
  • Supporting and encouraging our partners to build more diverse teams and more inclusive workplaces by helping them access the expertise, networks or resources they need to further their DEI journeys.
  • Supporting and encouraging our partners to adopt a more deliberate DEI lens (beyond their Next Half Billion focus) towards serving their customers and other partners.