by Andrė M. König
A couple of years ago I received an email from somebody who wanted to make a career in Quantum Tech and contribute to the field. She “only” had a bachelor in physics and had been introduced to a very well renowned and respected researcher in the field. His response to her outreach was that without a PhD from one of the big universities she will have no future in the field. The data is clear, out of 782 executives or founders that we identified within Quantum Tech the vast majority are white (600) and male (716) – stuck in an Ivory Tower; compared to classical computing where 25% are female and 8% hispanic, for instance.
Is this how we do morally responsible and ethical innovation? Is this truly the best way to move one of the most important technology innovations in a century forward for humanity?
Having grown up in five different countries and 11 cities, I quickly and naturally learned about the tremendous benefits of diversity. And I’m not just talking about diversity of gender, religion, sexual orientation and race. But, as importantly, intellectual diversity.
This is why I started OneQuantum.
A supportive and authentic community platform for anyone active or interested in Quantum Tech no matter their background, skills, origin, gender, race, or goal to equip our members and the wider community with strong local networks and access to the global community by offering events, summits, online communities, and digital assets to them as well as mentoring, and career support.
One year into this effort we are proud to say that our chapters are thriving. Our Women in Quantum chapter, run by volunteer president Denise Ruffner, organizes some of the largest and most engaging conferences in Quantum Tech. Our Startup chapter connects us one-on-one with dozens and dozens of founders as we support them with growth hacking, sales, marketing and connections to investors. Our regional chapters now expand across Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, with roughly a dozen new ones opening by the end of the summer. While technically still a LLC, our mission is that of a non-profit and we depend on motivated volunteer presidents to turn our chapters into a local success and exchange globally about best practices, learnings, ideas and next steps.
For that we focus on four core axes. Community is where we bring people who are interested in Quantum Tech, no matter their educational level, background or orientation together on- and offline through a virtual chat interface, digital resources, workshops, webinars and conferences. Mentoring, a program we just launched with the support of Keysight Technologies, is a professionally run project with close to 100 mentors and over 400 mentees to help them further their skills in basic quantum, gain a better understanding of the ecosystem and coach them on startup best practices. Career Services offered to anyone; we now have a resume database with over 500 CVs, successful career events where employers pitch our audience, often custom targeted to their needs, as well as a job posting page that is continuously growing. Projects, though, are our ultimate goal and our local chapters, with the help of Strangeworks, have started to form teams around potential Quantum Tech projects important to the local ecosystem, economy and society.
As we continue to build our infrastructure, global support platform and local chapters we will be turning OneQuantum, LLC into a non-profit, and thus are entirely dependent on the support of partners and sponsors. And I cannot thank all of our hard-working volunteer presidents, advisors and supporters, who help us with anything from digital to web, social media, newsletters, logistics and event organization, enough. Since OneQuantum started, other efforts have joined together to promote women, diversity and inclusion in Quantum Tech – out of our project we had over 10,000 participants at our events total, 5 female hires, 1 new black owned Quantum Company started and countless new stories inspired that we are committed to help see to fruition.
If you would like to join this journey as a sponsor or volunteer, maybe even start a new local chapter please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s work together to ensure that Quantum Tech will be deployed for the benefit of all rather than the few. For more on OneQuantum’s initiatives, check out our website at OneQuantum.org.
June 4, 2021