A 1-week startup challenge.
My team comprised of 5 students
representing 5 countries and 3 majors
Create a concept for a startup company that answers to the theme 'Building a Home.'
Thousands of refugees enter the US every year, after being forcibly displaced from their homes.
However, once here, they are unable to gain employment to the level of their training and skill set due to the lack of required verification and certification of their skills.
Allin is a private for-profit company that connects refugees with basic skill level directly to consumers and reintegrates professional skill level refugees into companies.
A online service marketplace for refugee workers.
A platform that offers instant and quality assured services directly to consumers. While giving refugees employment and opportunities to assimilate to the local culture.
AllDaily has three categories: AllFix, that accounts for repairs and maintenance. AllClean, for cleaning services, and AllArt, for creative services.
How would it work?
We partner with professional agencies in each of these fields to provide skill assessment and verification for the employees. This assures high-quality services for our customers for a price lower than other market alternatives. This service would not only be convenient, instant, and cheap but would also provide the consumer with the satisfaction of doing meaningful work.
A transition service that integrates professional refugees into the workforce.
A transitional B2B service that verifies and certifies professional refugees and connects them directly to employers.
AllPro will start with 3 fields - I.T., professional teaching, and business & finance. By verifying the refugee's qualifications with computer-based skill assessing tests, we partner with employers to hire these professional refugees for a lower remuneration. In return, for providing quality assured skill for less, the companies would be required to fund for all necessary certifications and training that the refugee requires to sustain themselves in the workforce.
Connect to Allin
Computer-based skill verification
Employer application and matching
Transitional work and training/certification period
member of workforce
Why did we choose to approach this topic in the way we did? The first and foremost reason to tackle this issue was the urgency and severity of the refugee crisis. The second was more personal to us as five international students who are from (and spent years living in) various countries around the world, ( We together represent Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Dubai, Bolivia, Mexico, and Brazil ) Having all experienced dealing with some sort of misconceptions and ignorance regarding our backgrounds and cultures, we wanted to create a platform that would help people be more open-minded towards refugees, and understand them by their abilities rather than false stereotypes.
HOW WE WENT ABOUT IT
- We started out by each sharing our take on what 'home' meant. We all eventually found common ground and landed with - 'Home' is a place where every person is accepted and included despite their different backgrounds.
- We looked into what the opposite of this ideal definition was, and who was having to live their lives like that. We found that it was refugees and immigrants.
-We carried out phone interviews with people who had to move and adapt to different countries later in their lives, talking about the various obstacles they had to face.
- We researched statistics comparing the lifestyles, incomes and employment differences of these refugees before and after they were forcibly displaced.
- We found that employment and inclusion in society were large obstacles and turned to published journals and statistics to find the reasons.
- We researched existing solutions to this problem and identified gaps in the market.
WHAT WE LEARNED
- They are struggling to enter the workplace, not due to a lack of ability, but due to a lack of applicable certification and verification documents.
- Due to political factors, there is a growing divide between people of different cultures, this is heightened when it comes to refugees and certain unexposed people that need to be offered a different perspective.
- Apart from tangible needs, these people need love, respect, and acceptance for them to truly consider the U.S. their home.
- Existing solutions are mostly NGOs that do not offer enough incentive to people to help out. There are a large number of people aware of the crisis, but unaware of how to help.
- There can be a solution that offers refugees and locals mutual benefit, and an opportunity to expose themselves to a different culture
Fueled by caffeine, Chinese take-out, a million post-its, and some great music, our team worked into the early hours of the morning for the last few days of the challenge. The passion we all felt for this cause burned like flames and spread out all over the giant whiteboard.
A 'Mentor Madness' event for contestants gave us the opportunity to pitch to professionals from IBM, Instagram, Youtube etc. and receive feedback. Through this, we were made aware of a number
of loopholes in our pitch.
1. We were not going to make enough money to stay afloat
2. We were asking too much of consumers
3. We had no way to guarantee that users would interact in a healthy way with our service providers.
We compiled a large list of issues we discovered and suggestions we received and got to work on incorporating them into the pitch. We scrapped our initial idea of an alternative payment method called 'AllServe', which allowed customers to pay for services by refugee workers by spending time teaching them things about the local culture. That was a difficult part for our group as we AllServe was our idea baby. However, we all agreed that the timing of this feature would work better once the company was further developed.