Diversity Accelerator

Diversity does not create harmony, but requires energy. It is much easier to make decisions in a homogeneous group in which everyone agrees anyway. But creating more diversity in companies is not only a matter of fairness and equal opportunity, it also pays off for companies economically. The more diverse a company is, the more likely it is to be profitable – this was the conclusion of the McKinsey study „Diversity wins“ in 2020.

However, the fact that certain groups have difficulties successfully starting a business, contrasts with the potential that a more diverse startup landscape offers for the economy. Germany could see over 41,000 new startups by 2030, fostering growth and innovation. This will only be possible, if more women, non-academics, older people, and people with a migration background are encouraged to become entrepreneurs.

In order to accelerate the development towards a more diverse start-up landscape, McKinsey and Handelsblatt have launched the Diversity Accelerator Award. The award is intended to help create the necessary awareness for trailblazers who serve as role models for a more diverse corporate organization and can thus influence decision-makers.


• People, organizations or companies that are personally or with their business model committed to a more diverse working world and start-up culture, or
• Have anchored diversity as an integral part of the corporate culture

The Diversity Award takes into account all seven diversity dimensions: Age, ethnicity and nationality, gender and gender identity, physical and mental abilities, religion, sexual orientation and social origin.

The Diversity Accelerator Award is the natural evolution of the Female Founder Award, which was launched in 2019 by Handelsblatt and McKinsey. The aim of the latter was to provide a stage for successful female founders so that, in the long term, more women would take the step of founding a company. The Diversity Award now takes a look at all diversity dimensions in order to make the reality of different groups disadvantaged in founding visible and to change existing mechanisms.

Winner and FinalistS 2023


10.4 million people with disabilities live in Germany. The path to an inclusive society, in which people with disabilities are a natural part of our society, has not yet been achieved.
But myAbility has a vision: an inclusive economy in which people with disabilities can contribute their potential on an equal footing. myAbility is shaping this inclusive economy – with you.
Through training and an e-learning platform, the social enterprise offers basic knowledge on the topics of disability and inclusion and helps to break down prejudices. The career programme for young professionals with disabilities supports talented people on their way to a self-determined career. Consultations on digital accessibility make customers’ products and websites more accessible. myAbility supports the implementation and design of inclusion strategies. The job platform myAbility.jobs, which currently has 4,500 jobs, is the largest platform for job seekers with disabilities or chronic illnesses in the DACH region.
The inclusive team at myAbility, where around 40% of employees live with a disability, has set itself the goal of bringing this modern vision of inclusion to the world.
We spark the joy of disAbility Inclusion.



The vision of ArbeiterKind.de is that every child in Germany from a non-academic family with suitable qualifications should have the chance to advance in education. Since May 2008, the non-profit organisation ArbeiterKind.de, which is financed by donations, has been encouraging pupils from families without an academic tradition to take up higher education.
families without an academic tradition to take up higher education and supports them as students on their way to completing their studies and starting a career. Through a nationwide network of thousands of volunteers in around 80 local ArbeiterKind.de groups, pupils, students and also parents are informed about everyday life at university and the possibilities of financing studies.



socialbee is Germany’s first integration service provider. We have been integrating refugees and migrants into the labour market since 2016. In this way, we not only help disadvantaged people to build a new life in Germany, but also support companies in becoming diverse and sustainable. Our key to success is our holistic support programme: we not only qualify and place people, but also ensure that every employment relationship is successful in the long term.


Jury statements

Diversity in start-ups is crucial for innovation and success. Diverse teams promote fairness and competitiveness. With the Diversity Accelerator Award, we give the pioneers of a diverse start-up landscape and working world the visibility they deserve to drive change. Together we can overcome challenges and create an inclusive future.

Hanna Asmussen, Co-Founder & CEO Lokalyze, Winner Female Founder Award 2022

As we all know, diverse teams are proven to be more innovative and have a higher potential for success. The inclusion of the ESG criterion for the evaluation of startups, as well as the awarding of the Diversity Accelerator Award to accelerators of a more diverse work and startup world, is therefore an important and right step! Diverse companies not only promote the future and competitiveness of the economy, but also contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society. Only together can we meet the challenges of the future and create a sustainable, inclusive and successful future for all.

Susanne Kadner, Co-Founder & Head of Ecosystems CIRCULAR REPUBLIC, UnternehmerTUM

Diverse teams are demonstrably more innovative and often more successful. Therefore, the inclusion of the ESG criterion for the valuation of start-ups is an important and right step.

Sebastian Matthes, Chefredakteur Handelsblatt

Diversity is a key factor in our success. It helps us attract the most talented and skilled people in the world and provide the best possible support to our clients. More diverse teams have more creative ideas and find better solutions. We need more of them – in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and all of Europe. Because we all know: There are many complex challenges ahead of us. By supporting the Diversity Accelerator Award, we want to help promote the importance of diversity in organisations and firmly anchor inclusion in the corporate culture – for fairness and the best result!

Fabian Billing, Head of McKinsey Germany

Nomination and selection process


Inititators nominate possible award winners.


The selection committee chooses the top 3 from the nominations.


Finalists present themselves at the jury meeting in September. Jury members select the winner of the Diversity Accelerator Award 2023.

Award Ceremony

Awarding of the prize winner at The Spark award ceremony on November 23 in Berlin.