2015 saw a big influx of refugees coming to Finland. These refugees are still having a hard time gaining access to the labour market and other sectors of Finnish society. Startup Refugees is a non-profit voluntary network that supports refugees with employment and entrepreneurship in Finland. Their mission is to realize the immense human potential of refugees in Finland, most of which is now wasted on just waiting for a decision. With the support of a wide base of volunteers, Startup Refugees has already managed to create profiles for over a thousand of refugees, mapping their skills, needs and motivations and with an extensive partner network, they are working to connecting these people with available opportunities. Unfortunately, the growing number of newcomers and the lack of resources and tools, make their impact very limited and inefficient.
Futurice has partnered up with Startup Refugees, to develop a digital service that the volunteers and asylum seekers can use to share the information together. We called it Match; it is a web app, which the refugees can access, register and share their experience, skills and needs with Startup Refugees. The information is protected and accessible only by the volunteers, who can effectively react and match their profiles with possible employers. Previously the volunteers used to interview the refugees one by one at the reception centres; the information was then gathered in various excel files; the all process was extremely time-consuming, and the refugees willing to be interviewed, were only piling up in a long waiting list. Match is expected to support the volunteers in their daily tasks of collecting the skills and experiences of the refugees, and then matching them to professional opportunities and training offered in their network.
Match also provides ready-made CVs for the volunteers and refugees for making it easier to apply for jobs and networking. The refugees can edit and update the information at any time and print or send their CV via email. As the cultural background of the refugees varies a lot, often something simple like a professional CV becomes a huge obstacle, when lacking the know-how or simply access to English translated services. During the project, the creation of custom-made CVs becomes one of the most important features to developed to help both the refugees and the volunteers in their daily tasks of applying for jobs and training.
Match has been designed together with the volunteers in Startup Refugees and tested with real asylum seekers from their network. Match is one of the initiatives part of our corporate responsibility program, called Chilicorn program. at Futurice don’t only work with NGOs, but we involve other partners and education institute in pro-bono projects. Together with Startup Refugees, we involved also various groups of students from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences to develop Match. In September we are launching Match live. The first version will be in English, but we are already looking for developing it in multiple languages and spread it further. Match will be released open sourced.