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Diversity and Inclusion in the Berlin Startup-Ecosystem; Opportunities and Challenges.


Mehmet Ercan

(Link to CV)

Background & motivation


I have a strong interest in exploring how to ensure diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystems. Are startups made up of young people from different nationalities coming together to develop a new product/service/experience diverse and inclusive enough or an ongoing self-check is necessary?  Diversity and inclusion are recognized as an urgent and important complement to innovation and disruption of the old economy. My motivation is to use this onetime opportunity as leverage to question the status quo and create a discussion platform in the general public opinion.

 “Are you dreaming?”

 Mehmet Ercan ©2020, Berlin.


Through the last couple of years, I have been pulled to the Berlin tech ecosystem that has skyrocketed in the number of startups and innovation labs of big corporates. Attending to the events organized by companies, startups, tech community, I have come to realize that this vivid ecosystem is not only a new opportunity for the city of Berlin economically, but also in other areas like questioning the status quo of migration and integration policies of the job market, housing, and state and private institutes. As I dived into the ecosystem to seek my own entrepreneurial adventure, I was also able to do observations, claims, discussions with many other actors and stakeholders of the ecosystem. At one point, as I realized that all the time I was doing a kind of participant observation and using my ethnographic toolkit to find my way in such uncertainty, I decided that I have to channel my personal experience and passion also into my academic journey.

Proposed research

Details of the proposed research

i- Field of study: Migration Studies and Digital Anthropology

ii- Tentative Research Title: Diversity and Inclusion in the Berlin Startup Ecosystem? Opportunities and challenges.

Research scope

The definition of Migrant Entrepreneurship and Migrant Entrepreneur Support will be revealed and a  brief look at the Berlin Tech Ecosystem will take place. The actors of the Migration Entrepreneur Support landscape will be introduced. Then the Diversity and Inclusion Themes will be introduced and different ecosystems in the world will be examined and Berlin Ecosystem will be discussed in regards to the qualitative and quantitative data in hand. Some recommendations will be suggested for further research.

 The Heatmap of Berlin Startup Ecosystem.

Möller, Kristoffer. (2014). Culturally Clustered or in the Cloud? Location of Internet Start-ups in Berlin.



The research methodologies are:

  • 1)- Participant observation like attending more than a thousand tech-related events, workshops, summits, hackathons.

  • 2)- Qualitative research methods including one on one, open-ended interviews.

  • 3)- Attending accelerator programs with a startup idea to put the theory in praxis.

  • 4)- Starting and being part of a community about diversity and inclusion at one of the innovators' platforms.

  • 5)- Attending a one year program to become a mentor for migrant entrepreneurs.

  • 6)- Using the model found in the research to start a new platform for Migrant Entrepreneurs and doing Applied Anthropology.

 “6 Degrees at a Time” 

Mehmet Ercan ©2020, Berlin.

Research objectives

The research objectives are:

  • 1)- to explore how the startup ecosystem in Berlin is structured and who are the key players/stakeholders in the Migrant Entrepreneurial sub-ecosystem.

  • 2)- to look for the effects of the Startup-Ecosystem on the discussion of migration in general public opinion.


Significance and innovation

The innovation and merits of this study are:

  • 1)- The Migrant Entrepreneurial Support programs are still on-going processes that could benefit from such academic studies.

  • 2)- To analyze other ecosystems around the world and coming up with a versatile model could help to optimize a more resilient Migrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.