One could hardly turn on the news without being confronted with images, videos, and reports of thousands of refugees streaming into Europe. While some people were hostile to the newcomers, others have tried to do what they can to make the best of the situation. A few weeks ago, we looked at Refugees Work, an Austrian startup that hopes to connect migrants with potential employers. Now, we take a look at another project, Finnish startup Zharity, which similarly wants to get the newcomers working, as best they can.
In speaking with a representative of the startup, I learned that the idea came about as they were volunteering to help newly-arrived refugees. What they discovered was that the asylum-seekers were not only interested in becoming acclimated to Finnish culture (and that the government was overwhelmed with the need to teach them), but that they were frequently skilled in a variety of professions and sought to work, so that they did not have rely on charity and could contribute to society. Connecting them with formal work is not simple, as their asylum cases have yet to be reviewed and they do not have a legal status, but the creators of Zharity decided to nonetheless create a platform through which the refugees can connect, as far as it is possible, with potential employers.
In order to connect the refugees and employers, Zharity has set up a system through which jobseekers can use email or Facebook to create an account and submit applications. And on the employer side, companies can use the platform to advertise vacancies. Zharity also uses their Facebook page (they have 1,530 “likes”) to post vacancies in Arabic and English.
Startups need money for operations and, in this case, the company intends to charge a small fee, whether monthly or annually, for access to their services. However, they have not yet decided on an amount.
Zharity tells me that they have had more than 700 users sign-up and can confirm 440 resumes. The project is thus far supported by funds from the CEO, but they are negotiating with potential investors from the E.U. market. Going forward, these guys plan to assist refugee entrepreneurs by providing technical assistance, including access to the internet. They would also like to empower people from the third-world to market and build internet-powered businesses.