Though it is rooted in the male-dominated industries of technology and construction, Harbr has set a target to have an equal balance of men and women on its staff.
The Halifax company released a statement on Tuesday saying that it has almost reached gender balance as its seven-member staff comprises three women and four men. Once it reaches parity, the company intends to maintain a 50-50 gender split within the company.
“I am thrilled with our team dynamics and look forward to continuing to diversify the company,” said Harbr Co-Founder and CEO Dave Kim in the statement. “I have a daughter and a son, and I want to demonstrate to both of them that women can succeed at anything they put their mind to.”
Harbr has developed a mobile app that allows big construction companies and their project managers to analyze data on the sub-contractors they’ve hired for specific projects. That helps big companies to improve efficiency in the short term, and to understand how to improve their overall performance in the longer term.
Kim said the company is growing its customer base at a good pace, mainly through open beta tests. Harbr is “currently working on a significant number of construction sites all across Canada with some of the country's top general contractors, mainly commercial and multi-residential projects,” said Kim.
With the company growing, Kim is now actively raising capital and believes its commitment to gender diversity will help it outperform rivals.
Research conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY shows that profits increased by 15 percent when the share of women in leadership positions went from 0 to 30 percent. What’s more, companies with at least one female founder outperformed all-male founding teams by 63 percent over the past 10 years.
“It can be overwhelming and hard for women to enter a workforce that views them as inferior and some women may not enter the field at all if they feel greatly outnumbered,” said Harbr Co-Founder and Head of Product Development Ashley Kielbratowski. “This is a sad reality we have to face and change together; however, the future is bright with companies like Harbr, a company that I am so thrilled to be a part of.”
Harbr’s commitment to gender diversity has won endorsement from such leaders as Annette Verschuren, CEO of NRStor and Chancellor at Cape Breton University.
“Studies have shown better financial performance for companies with diversity at the top. The team diversification at Harbr should be seen as a shining example for other companies to look up to,” said Verschuren. “It is reassuring to see companies such as Harbr attempting to close the gender gap. I know they will continue to have great success because of their company values and innovative product offering.”