All parts of society have an important role to play in fostering economic development. People should be exposed to new technologies and entrepreneurship from a young age in order to keep pace with technological innovation and secure greater access to job opportunities. Stereotypes and social exclusion are considered to be the most serious barriers to female, older and youth participation in the labour market. Tech Talent Pool is an innovative tool created by Socialinnov that aims to match people with the labour market based on their knowledge, abilities and skills, in order to find a new job or a business partnership in the technology field. Let’s find out more about it from Mr Konstantinos Politis, the founder of Socialinnov.
Intro question: What is the social innovation ‘Tech Talent Pool’ about?
It is a quick, precise and automated way for skill advancement and job pairing … the right people for the right job. It’s a tool that aims to match people with the labour market based on their knowledge, abilities and skills in order to find a new job or a business partnership in the technology field. The tool aims to go beyond the job board by carrying out an ongoing data analysis, in order to identify a lack of skills or skills that need to be enhanced among the different types of groups which are considered crucial in their sector of interest. The overall objective is to prepare the ground for the development of a series of educational workshops/seminars and lectures based on the training needs of each target group (young unemployed, older unemployed, girls and women) and the identified need of the market.
Why did you (or your partners) start this social innovation?
The idea for Tech Talent Pool was generated by our team in an attempt to solve two basic problems that we frequently encountered within the start-up ecosystem as well as in most industries. In Greece, while we have one of the highest percentage rates of unemployment in Europe (youth unemployment is more than 50%…), most companies complain of not being able to find people with the right skills to hire. On the one hand, Tech Talent School is an educational body which encourages, facilitates and provides continuous advancement in digital and tech skills through free lessons and courses. In 2017 this became a unique offering through the great help of our strategic partner, Microsoft. On the other hand, Tech Talent Pool is a platform, currently in beta testing, which connects the best designers and developers with companies who are looking for skilled personnel.
How did you come up with the idea? Was a creative or collaborative process involved?
A few years ago we carried out some market research to index the skills of Greek designers/developers. Through our collaborations with a lot of companies, we understood that it was very difficult for them to find the right person with specific characteristics and that in the process of trying to find someone they would have to sift through hundreds of candidates until they found someone with the right skills. So creating Tech talent was something that came out of the real needs of the market.
What were you afraid of at the beginning and how (if at all) did you overcome your fear?
The major thing that you fear when starting a venture like this, as in most ventures, is whether you can make it economically sustainable.
What were the beginnings of the social innovation? (i.e. how did you build your initiative, business, NGO from zero?)
The company was a spin-off of our for-profit company, so it needed to be a non-profit.
How did you attract public attention to the issue you wanted to tackle and make others believe in your purpose and potential?
The need was self-evident; the market felt it and knew it.
How did you make sure that your idea actually fits the needs of the users?
We used to do it for companies, but we did it through countless e-mails, ‘manually’.
How did you raise the money for your idea and what is your advice for others considering DIY fundraising?
We were able and lucky enough to share the first prize of the 2017 Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award. This gave us the funds and the justification to move forward with our idea.
How did you scale your social innovation and what tips for scaling could you share?
We are just getting started…
How do you change the whole system?
By automating a rather mundane process.
What would be the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social innovator, a member of the Social Innovation Academy, who has only two things at the moment: a big heart and a willingness to do something?
The only lost battles are the ones that you never fought. A big heart and a willingness to do something are the best foundation and fuel to create something spectacular.
Interviewed by Kostas Sotiropoulos
Konstantinos Politis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/konstandinos-politis-6175b77b/) is the founder of Socialinnov, a non-profit endeavour with a mission to eliminate the digital skills gap and high unemployment rates by educating individuals and connecting technological talent with the private sector. He is also the managing partner of ‘The Hub Events’, a company that provides ideal hospitality for business conferences, social and cultural events, and alternative and artistic events, the managing partner of ‘IMEK HELLAS’, a leading company in the hospital and medical equipment planning field, and the President and CEO of ‘Gnomon Constructions S.A.’, a modern and dynamically developing Construction Company based in Athens. Konstantinos holds a Civil Engineer’s degree from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and an M.Sc. in Construction Management from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Would you like to learn more from other inspiring social innovators?
Check out the Social Innovation Academy – the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation. If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.
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