OxTech Fest is a two day festival that celebrates the tech industry, helps forge connections amongst tech innovators and aids companies in fostering diversity and gender balance in the industry.
With a focus on diversity throughout the whole festival, the panel discussions give a voice to those currently underrepresented.
OxTech Fest is aimed at those running tech businesses, or those looking for a career in tech. Alongside speakers and panel debates, there are free workshops and webinars to develop skills, learn about job opportunities and placements.
Diversity remains a key challenge for the tech sector, with only 15% of the technology workforce from BAME backgrounds, and gender diversity at only 19%. Recent hires are statistically more likely to be more diverse than the current workforce, given the improvements in accessing work at large technology corporations. The impact of 2020 on new graduates entering the workforce was significant, with many of these most recent hires sadly losing their jobs. We pledge to make diversity a key focus of the OxTech Fest, highlighting diverse founders, ensuring our panels are diverse and giving a voice to those who are underrepresented in the Tech Industry.
The pandemic has widened the gap for individuals who were already in less privileged categories to get into tech or well paid positions, meanwhile it has been an opportunity for the middle class to reskill in coding and tech, focus on themselves, look into entrepreneurship and furthering their career. This has led to a boom in tech entrepreneurship but with a limited demographic. With this festival we want to work toward addressing this and closing the opportunity gap for individuals who do not have the same level of privilege.
Over the course of 2020 most tech focused meetup groups and forums had to stop meeting in person. Some groups managed to move online, and these are attempting to rekindle a sense of community that was lost at the start of the pandemic. But these groups are far and few between, with many Oxfordshire Tech Businesses mentioning that they feel isolated, and that they feel less supported than before the pandemic. With the OxTech Fest we aim to bridge this gap for Tech Businesses, creating a forum for individuals across Oxfordshire to meet up again, virtually, and offering a platform to network across the geographical spread of Oxfordshire tech innovation.