I scour the globe for stories worth reading about ventures that are a true force for good for humanity and our planet.
That’s why I’m THRILLED to introduce Ronnie Kwesi Coleman, Cofounder and CEO of Meaningful Gigs and Stephanie Nachemja-Bunton, Cofounder and COO of Meaningful Gigs.
Meaningful Gig’s mission is to guide people toward their full potential, and the vision is to create 100,000 skilled jobs in Africa by 2028.
Their impact to date? Meaningful Gigs has already empowered 1000s of African designers, upskilling and connecting them with brand partners such as Starbucks, Bloomberg, Facebook, and IDEO.
Let’s dive into the deep end.
Diana Tsai: What’s the problem you’re solving?
Ronnie Kwesi Coleman: From the African perspective, we are solving a shortage of skilled jobs on the Continent. By 2050, 25% of the world’s population will live on the African continent; furthermore, the number of young people entering the workforce in Africa is more than the number of young people entering the workforce on all other continents combined, which illustrates just how important it is to create skilled jobs in Africa.
From the company perspective, we create easy access to a remote, diverse workforce that companies can hire with confidence. We are a market-ready solution that addresses both racial equity and design issues.
In sum, there are two main problems that we are helping companies solve: one is a skilled labor shortage, and the other is a want of meaningful ways for companies to live up to their commitments regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Tsai: How are you solving it?
Stephanie Nachemja-Bunton: We are connecting African designers with skilled jobs at major companies, primarily within creative, product, and marketing teams to create highly skilled jobs in Africa while also solving labor needs in places like the US and Europe. Companies like to work with Meaningful Gigs because we offer them simplified logistics, a flexible workforce, and curated design teams.
To solve the labor shortage issue at a more foundational level, Meaningful Gigs has developed a proprietary machine-learning system that helps our community of designers to upskill their work. This is the main point of differentiation for Meaningful Gigs, as we not only offer highly skilled jobs but also the opportunity to improve one’s work so that designers can constantly deliver better work and find better opportunities.
Tsai: What does the world look like once you’ve solved this problem?
Kwesi Coleman: The world will be more equitable, with at least 100,000 more highly skilled jobs in Africa. Companies will have more resilient and flexible workforces, while also living up to their DEIB and CSR commitments; furthermore, companies will benefit socially and fiscally from the cultural competency of a global, diverse workforce.
Tsai: How does your organization define and measure IMPACT?
Nachemja-Bunton: Impact for us happens on an individual level as much as it does on a macroscopic level. We measure impact by the number of jobs created, but we also have to consider the quality of the jobs that we create. We guarantee a high hourly wage and make sure that both sides are happy with the design and work being produced. This is important in how we measure impact because we want to ensure that economic prosperity is ongoing and not intermittent.
Another key measurement for us is how many people we are upskilling. We are not just looking for talent, we are also developing it. This means that, even if we don’t immediately help someone find a job, we can still empower that person to find well-paid, highly skilled jobs in the future. This talent development pipeline also benefits companies, so we want to make sure that we have a positive impact for both designers and companies.
Tsai: What motivated you personally to start this company?
Kwesi Coleman: There were many motivations, but you’re right in that starting this company was extremely personal. I had to leave Africa because I couldn’t get a job making even $5000/year, but I never wanted to be the person that left his motherland and forgot about it. My primary motivation was to help others in my community find skilled jobs so that they didn’t have to leave the Continent like I had to. People don’t necessarily want to leave their own countries, and with the internet and acceleration of remote work because of COVID-19, we now have a unique environment to provide highly skilled, remote work for people in Africa.
After seeing the impact that just a few of these jobs had on our designers’ lives, such as being able to put a downpayment on a house, I became even more motivated to help people I didn’t necessarily even know. We don’t want to drain Africa of its talent, but rather create more talent and opportunities there.
Tsai: A little vulnerability – how do you take care of you so that you can be the best version of yourself for the world?
Kwesi Coleman: My physical and mental health are both really important to me, so I like to take care of myself with meditation and exercise. Another really important aspect to my well-being is spending time with loved ones, which has come even more into perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By taking care of my own mental and physical health and surrounding myself with loved ones, I’m able to be the best version of myself. What’s great about my job is that it also feeds my soul, as I know that I’m building something that is empowering people and changing lives… so I’m very lucky in that my work is a different kind of self care.
Tsai: How can readers get involved / support / help?
Nachemja-Bunton: The best thing that readers can do is to help large companies and enterprises know about Meaningful Gigs. By introducing Meaningful Gigs to your company or other organizations, you can help to directly create jobs in Africa and thereby transform lives! Inclusive economic empowerment is fundamental in the global fight for equity, and you can have a profound impact on the lives of multiple people in Africa by simply introducing Meaningful Gigs to your company and/or other large enterprises.
Learn more and take action:
Connect with Ronnie Kwesi Coleman, Cofounder and CEO of Meaningful Gigs
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