Solution Overview

Solution Name:

ConHector: A community of opportunities

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One-line solution summary:

ConHector, connects youth looking for jobs with employers, providing guidance, data analysis, and leading to successful job insertion.

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Pitch your solution.

Unemployment rate in Colombia at 13%, one of the highest in Latin America. Even worse so in urban areas, for young people, women and those with low-literacy rates. The young population makes up add up to 30% of the working-age population, however low proficiency levels, education and skills along with barriers to access the labor market limits the opportunities of this population to improve their living conditions. Approximately 21% of young people (2,600,000) are “Ninis”, people who neither study nor work. We propose using ConHector as a virtual assistant that connects youth population seeking for jobs with employers and training through practical guidance tools, while leading to job insertion. Our strong data science approach gleans insights from structured and unstructured data providing valuable feedback and analysis to employers of the youngsters participating in the program and relevant stakeholder behavior. 

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Unemployment rate in Colombia is 13%, and it's particularly worse in urban areas, and amongst young people, women, and people with low educational levels. Approximately 21% of young people (2,600,000) are NEET ( young people who neither study or work) and, “therefore, remain exposed to risks and are excluded from the country's social and economic progress, with the aggravating circumstance that 71 % of them are women and 85.9% of them are also poor and vulnerable”.

The vast majority of NEET are looking for jobs and/or are working in the un-paid sector (e.g. housework). They would like to work, but they are unaware of job opportunities, or, lack the skill set and training demanded by companies and/or the labour market. Even though technology can facilitate access to employment and training information it might be challenging to access it. On the other hand, there's a high mismatch of the skills available and those required by employees.

The increasing access to smartphones and strong adoption of WhatsApp, motivated us to use these instruments to provide the vulnerable and young crowds, a clear and curated job and training information opportunities catering to their needs

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What is your solution?

ConHector is a virtual assistant that connects youth with job and training opportunities that cater to their specific skills and characteristics, providing them with access to new opportunities. It provides counseling and guidance for job insertion, part of a broader intervention that builds the skills youth need to enter the job market with a strong data science approach to glean insights from structured and unstructured data to provide valuable feedback and analysis to employers, the youngsters participating in the program and other stakeholders. Using non-industrialized machine learning models makes personalized recommendations to users about job and training opportunities (geo-referenced). With clear and relevant information young people can make decisions about the job and training opportunities available, with coaches or local leaders, ConHector builds a network of users and monitors in real time the acceptance and access of users to the programs or services offered in order to accompany them throughout the process. With data analysis it can provide innovative advice for policy design while enhancing public value specifically on youth employment. Potential employers can also learn about youth and strengthen their recruitment services. The stronger Conhector is, it will lead to youth accessing the labor market cost-effectively.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

We are serving youth population in the ages of 18 - 28 years who live in poverty, extreme poverty and vulnerability. They lack opportunities and are considered NEET. Fundacion Capital has already worked with vulnerable youth. In each initiative that we design and implement, we engage in a co-design process leading to a collaborative solution. We receive constant feedback during the design and implementation phases. In this way we are sure that the messages, information and counselling are fully understood. We engage with them in this process through focus groups and permanent observatories (permanent groups formed by project beneficiaries that provide constant  feedback throughout the process). On the other hand, because virtual assistance has machine learning, we are able to cater and personalize the interactions constantly learning and adapting.

The data analysis of these interactions, allow us to engage in dialogue with the private companies in order to understand their needs, requirements and to close the gap between potential employers and employees.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Equip workers with technological and digital literacy as well as the durable skills needed to stay apace with the changing job market
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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

ConHector tackles youth unemployment, strengthening the employment ecosystem with a precise data science approach.An effective solution because the information and services provided are accessible when and where youth needs them responding to the specific characteristics and needs of the youth; Recommendations and engagements with the youth become smarter by adapting to their evolving needs (specific contexts and moment in life); eliminates middlemen to directly connect providers of services through a platform at a fraction of today’s cost; Informs youth about the opportunities available for them and how to access with an in-person support service that provides additional guidance.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Bogotá, Colombia
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model
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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Nelly Ramirez Moncada

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More About Your Solution

If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new business model or process
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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

The innovation provided by ConHector is related to a new application of existing technology to tackle youth unemployment, strengthening the employment ecosystem with a much more precise data science approach.

Key differentiators:

•       Fast response

•       High-Tech solution

•       Optimized Services

•       Customer-focused and computer coordinated

•       The best end-user experiences

•       Statistically optimized response

•       Profitable by design

•       Location-based goods and services


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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

ECaaS' technology stack includes a Google Cloud based solution for both its WhatsApp Bot and chat routing with our support and influencer team. Bot is powered by our proprietary web services using Lumen by Laravel, and a content management web application built with React; both running reliably on a LEMP stack web server. Additionally, we use tools like Google Data Studio for monitoring and tracking our key product metrics in real-time.

Description of our systems architecture below:


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Provide evidence that this technology works.

Examples of the projects we have implemented with ConHector: 

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Audiovisual Media
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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What is your theory of change?

Our theory of change is as follows:

Activities

1. ConHector is fed with job market information (FC contacts employers and identifies opportunities.)

2. Information is gathered from youth that are reinforcing their skills for the job market.

3. ConHector combines the information about employers and job seekers  and starts sending bespoke information to young beneficiaries (opportunities that suit their characteristics).

4. ConHector provides specific guidance to each young person to support their recruitment process

5. ConHector analyses data and provides specific guidance to employers in recruitment strategies.

6. ConHector analyses data and provides personalized guidance to help job retention.

Outputs

1. Youth learns about opportunities available for them,  to their skills and needs.

2. Youth gain confidence and knowledge (prepare and submit their CVs and prepare for recruitments process)

3. Youth learn about training opportunities in topics required by the industry.

4. Increased job retention of youngsters

5. The companies increase their recruitment efficiency and job retention.

6 Specific public policy recommendations to increase youth employment and job retention.

7. Another regarding data analysis and management for public policy recommendations.

Short term outcomes

1. Young people  acquire skills required by the industry

2. Young people accesses jobs

3. Employers are able to find the talent required.

4.Employers receive valuable inputs to refine their job selection processes.

5. Job retention is improved .

Long term outcomes

Improved physical and psychological well-being of youth while  strengthening  and improving. the country’s employability ecosystem.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Vietnam
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Vietnam
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, ConHector is assisting 3,500 poor families in Colombia providing official information on crisis management, economic opportunities, finance management in times of crisis, gender based violence prevention and practical information to reduce the stress generated by the quarantine and confinement.

In Colombia we also partnered with COMFAMA (organization that provides public services to +4 million people) and Innovations for Poverty Action-IPA, in an initiative with a double objective of facilitating women's empowerment by enhancing their financial capabilities and their intrahousehold bargaining skills, and preventing intimate partner violence with more than 700 families; the initiative is undergoing an RCT impact evaluation. In Paraguay we are using ConHector with a gender transformative focus to assist with gender based violence prevention and gender roles within the household with over 1,000 families. 

In the context of the Digit-all program, designed to increase the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises through digital transformation and financial inclusion, with Mastercard's Center for Inclusive Growth ConHector is facilitating access to private and public financial support in the midst of COVID-19, as well as information on biosecurity measures that is crucial for them to keep their businesses open, currently with 3,000 SMEs in Mexico and Peru. 

With BarefootCollege International, a partner organisation working worldwide, we are making a multi-country trans-continental alliance to reach over 2 million people in the following two years, and enable people in the base of the pyramid, especially women, to recover their lost livelihoods after the crisis.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

We expect to customize ConHector to the needs of young people seeking jobs and economic opportunities while enhancing the country’s employability ecosystem. We will start scaling up ConHector in Colombia, and then, in at least 5 countries in Latin America or countries where we have been already working such as Mozambique where we have existing networks and in-country experience. We expect to reach at least 1 million people in these countries. If the necessary funding is available, ConHector can be customized to attend the needs of migrants and the poorest citizens looking for jobs, who have difficulty adapting into a new culture and social /economic context. ConHector can connect these population with jobs and economic opportunities available for them, and support the integration of these people to the country.

With BarefootCollege International, a partner organisation working worldwide, we are making a multi-country trans-continental alliance to reach over 2 million people in the following two years, and enable people in the base of the pyramid, especially women, to recover their lost livelihoods after the crisis.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

The main barrier is to be able to access enough funding to scale up. At the beginning, ConHector needs to be funded by donors before it becomes self-sustainable and its service can be sold to beneficiaries, companies or governments who can pay for the placement of people in jobs.

We will continue looking for funding with international donors. Fundación Capital has already received funding from a large network of donors including the Ford Foundation, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the Citi Foundation, Co-Impact among others. Once the pilot yields results from the evaluations, it is possible to make a business case to some donors. In the future, once ConHector is strong given the data analysis of its scale up, it is possible to establish a business plan and it could be possible that companies and/or  young people pay once the job placement has been successful.

On the other hand, we have received several international awards such as the Skoll Award of Social Entrepreneurship, the Schwab Award of Social Entrepreneur, Ashoka and other international recognitions that place us in an strategic place in order to extend our network through potential partnerships with other stakeholders.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

The main barrier is to be able to access enough funding to scale up. At the beginning, ConHector needs to be funded by donors before it becomes self-sustainable and its service can be sold to beneficiaries, companies or governments who can pay for the placement of people in jobs.

We will continue looking for funding with international donors. Fundación Capital has already received funding from a large network of donors including the Ford Foundation, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the Citi Foundation, Co-Impact among others. Once the pilot yields results from the evaluations, it is possible to make a business case to some donors. In the future, once ConHector is strong given the data analysis of its scale up, it is possible to establish a business plan and it could be possible that companies and/or  young people pay once the job placement has been successful.

On the other hand, we have received several international awards such as the Skoll Award of Social Entrepreneurship, the Schwab Award of Social Entrepreneur, Ashoka and other international recognitions that place us in an strategic place in order to extend our network through potential partnerships with other stakeholders.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit
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How many people work on your solution team?

Full-time: 8 people.

Part-time: 5 people

Contractors: 2 suppliers

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How many years have you worked on your solution?

2

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our solution is part of the  Economic Citizenship as a Service (ECaaS) Unit at Fundación Capital. Fundación Capital is an international development organization that improves the economic and financial lives of people living in poverty around the world, combining different technological tools to design and implement effective social initiatives. For more than ten years, at Fundación Capital we have been promoting economic citizenship globally and at scale.

For more than ten years we have collaborated with governments and the private sector to design and offer solutions that increase the economic prospects of millions. Throughout these years we have impacted the lives of more than 6 million people: women, youth, migrants, refugees and vulnerable populations in rural and urban settings in more than 18 countries.

For our work, we have obtained the most important recognitions in the world for social entrepreneurship: Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, USAID’s Million Lives Club, Ashoka Senior Fellowship and Katerva Award.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

At the moment we are working with Fundacion Carvajal, a recognized non for profit organization located in Colombia, with whom  we are identifying the gaps on employment process for people, and gathering data for knowing better the users, their behaviors and skills that must be enforcement or develop, and thus provide a more human-centered design solution.

As an organization we work along with local and international stakeholders all over the world. Some of the most important networks that we are part of are Catalyst 2030 (A Global Movement of Social Change Innovators; Schwab Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Skoll awardees, amongst many others.

Some of the key stakeholders we work with are: MasterCard, BDO (Banco de las Oportunidades), GIZ, Universidad del Rosario.Some of the key stakeholders we work with are: MasterCard, BDO (Banco de las Oportunidades), GIZ, Universidad del Rosario.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

The business model for our solution is as follows:

Government (National and Local): the benefit for this stakeholder is improving efficiency of social programs that target vulnerable youth. The source of income is a fee per user that was able to obtain a job.

 Local private sector: the benefits for this stakeholder is increasing their job retention and improving their employment recruitment systems. The source of income is a fee per successful job placement and potentially increasing job retention rate.  

Users: the benefits for this stakeholder are learning about economic opportunities available for them, access to information, goods and services that impact their quality of life and increase their chances at ending the cycle of poverty. The source of income is a fee per successful intermediation (user able to access a job).

 Social publicity (curated): the benefits for this stakeholder are social publicity by governments, local agencies, corporate social responsibility units, multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs and philanthropists. The source of income is a fee per bundle of publicity that reaches the user.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Organizations (B2B)
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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We are planning to seek sustained donations and grants from existing and potential partners. This is necessary to pilot the approach given that the concept and a first prototype has been developed, but it is necessary to customize ConHector for the youth, conduct evaluations, and  based on that, build a robust expansion and business plan built on stronger evidence.

We see a lot of potential. A user fee for successful intermediation can be charged to the beneficiaries, also, and mainly a fee to the companies per successful job placement and increasing job retention rates. Last but not least, governments have social programs that seek the enhancement of economic opportunities for the youth. ConHector can be integrated in such programs and the government can pay for the services.

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

The funding, but especially, the mentorship to enhance and improve the digital solution are key for our work. Most importantly, the media opportunities will be key to connect with other donors that enabling us to scale up the solution and most importantly, access a broader network of potential allies.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business model
  • Solution technology
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

Most importantly, the media opportunities will be key to connect with other donors that enabling us to scale up the solution and most importantly, access a broader network of potential allies.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

We would like to work with DataKind for improving algorithms´s design.

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Solution Team

  • NR NR
    Nelly Ramirez VP Advanced Digital Solutions, Fundacion Capital
 
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