One local IT and services startup is on a mission to unite global Black talent and create 100,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
Meaningful Gigs, which has only been in business since January 2019, is a company you can go to to hire Black product designers and developers. The startup runs an online platform with more than 200 designers available for hire. Ronnie Kwesi Coleman, one of the company’s cofounders, told Technical.ly that Meaningful Gigs’ main revenue stream comes from charging companies a percentage of the talent’s salary when they secure designers.
Coleman cofounded Meaningful Gigs after working at StayNTouch, a Bethesda, Maryland-based software-as-a-service company that manages a mobile hotel property management system, from 2013 to 2017. After the company got acquired, Coleman said he realized that the hardest part of his job was connecting with top technical talent. He then got together with his cofounders and started conceptualizing what Meaningful Gigs has become today.
“We started off getting talent from Africa because I’m from Ghana, and I knew there were so many incredibly talented Africans that needed job opportunities,” Coleman said. “So we’ve been connecting African tech talent to remote jobs ever since.”
The startup hasn’t secured any investments from venture capital firms, but it has gotten angel investments elsewhere. Meaningful Gigs has a team of 10 employees and using its platform, companies can connect with various designers that specialize in UI/UX, product, brand, motion, illustration, web, graphics and mobile.
When designers apply to be featured on Meaningful Gigs’ platform, they go through a six-step vetting process that involves hard skills and soft skills tests, Coleman said. This process can typically take up to two months, and only the top 2% pass. For those that don’t pass, the Meaningful Gigs team helps them understand why, and give them an opportunity to work on what’s needed to reapply every three months if desired.
“Once we have a client come to us, one of our design concierges speaks with them to understand their needs, and then matches them to someone that will be a perfect fit for their team,” the cofounder said — “not just based on their skills, but personality traits, and passion as well.”
With increased recent attention to racism, diversity and inclusion, more companies have been coming to Meaningful Gigs for help, Coleman shared.
“Our business is in a fortunate position to be positively impacted by COVID: There was an initial slowdown during the first few weeks of March, but then companies that didn’t really hire remote before started reaching out to hire our talent,” he said. “When the Black Lives Matter movement [rose in public consciousness], even more companies came to us to hire our talent because they wanted more diversity and inclusion in their organization.”
Meaningful Gigs has secured jobs for more than 40 designers since its inception, and it’s on track to make $1 million in revenue this year, Coleman wrote recently on the company blog, which shares stories about tech and design trends, advice from startup founders and more. Check out a recent post in which Coleman describes his early experiences as an entrepreneur when met with racism.
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