Technology is changing the way people are able to access information but this isn’t always the case for marginalized communities who don't have access to job search resources.
When Robin Daultani first moved to Calgary in 2012, he was working for an oil and gas company. After about five years he pivoted into tech and had the opportunity to work with a fast growing company that specialized in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. This is when he fell in love with Calgary’s tech and innovation sector.
Throughout his journey, he noticed that a lot of conversations surrounding technology revolved around productivity and automation. Very few people talked about how we could use technology to impact people.
Growing up in India, he experienced first hand how not having access to technology can be a barrier and how there is so much opportunity for technology to create a positive impact and create a change in the world. In April 2019, he dove into his own startup and through the process he discovered Rainforest Alberta.
He was inspired by the support, mentorship and give-back mentality of the community that helped him through his journey of creating Nicerr.
Inspired by the Social Contract values of diversity and trust, Robin created Nicerr as a social enterprise to give back to the community. There are many companies that say they are an equal employer, but Robin found that that wasn’t the case if many people couldn’t access the job market.
He learned that:
70% of jobs are not posted online and are hired by referral
30% of people are only applying for what they think could do versus what they can actually do
These statistics meant that diverse and marginalized communities who don’t have existing representation in the job market are not able to apply for more meaningful and progressive work. Nicerr is working to change this, with the goal of helping organizations and communities build a truly diverse and equal culture.
He starts by building a culture of trust within Nicerr. It is one of the company's guiding principles to build trust within himself, with his clients and his employees. Robin empowers his employees to make decisions and he always takes a personalized, hands-on approach with his clients.
Just like any startup - especially during a pandemic - Nicerr has pivoted to meet the evolving needs of their customers. Since the beginning Nicerr has always been a social enterprise. Since 2019, they have raised $6000 for charities. They have evolved from a platform that helped individuals with career and job advice to a new offering in 2021. The new platform allows individuals to receive career and job advice from industry professionals, build connections and find opportunities that many employers aren’t posting on job boards or sites.
Nicerr enables individuals to have equal access to job opportunities, create a lasting network, and gain advice from experienced industry professionals. For the professionals, it offers a gamified approach to earn community badges for volunteering their time.
Currently, Robin is collaborating with nonprofits and charities that work with diverse and marginalized communities like Iqaluit who don’t have access to opportunities, to make sure that everyone is able to find a career.
There is so much work to be done, but Robin feels blessed that the technology sector has progressed so fast, especially in Calgary. Robin’s passionate drive, positive spirit, and love for creating social impact is changing the way companies hire and connect with diverse communities in and outside of Calgary.
To learn more about Nicerr, check out their website, or follow them on LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Where do you go when you are a new Canadian looking to get involved in Calgary’s tech and innovation community?
Calgary has long been known for our work in oil and gas so whether you are new or have been working in the city for a while, most people don’t think of Calgary as a flourishing tech hub. New Canadians have even been known to choose other areas of Canada to find work and a life for themselves because of this.
With Calgary being so oil and gas-focused, how do we change the city’s economic narrative while supporting new Canadians’ careers in our city?
This is the thought that came to Wunmi Adekanmbi, as she became curious about what was happening in the growing tech and innovation sector within Calgary.
Having moved from Nigeria to Canada, Wunmi experienced firsthand how new Canadians face the challenges of leaving behind a network and building a new one, while exploring careers in different sectors.
Wunmi believes in a two-pronged strategy. First, shift the narrative of Calgary’s economy and second, provide space and resources for immigrant professionals to contribute at their highest capacity to building Calgary's new economy.
There are many programs for immigrants in our city, however Wunmi found that even though they exist, it doesn’t mean they fit the needs of new Canadians or that new Canadians are able to access them.
To fill this gap, Wunmi created a meetup group called Immigrant Techies Alberta to create awareness, change the perception and create a safe space for newcomers to learn and become involved with tech. Through the support of the community, and implementing the values of trust and diversity from the Rainforest Alberta social contract, Immigrant Techies Alberta currently has 174 members and continues to grow.
Since November 2020, Wunmi has been inviting guest speakers to talk about different tech topics and opening an exploratory space for diversity and curiosity. Immigrant Techies Alberta provides a sense of community and support for newcomers to Calgary.
Wunmi is driven by her own curiosity and excitement for innovation and is inspired by the impact and potential of a single human being. As a graduate of the Rainforest Alberta LIBI program, she is working further to address the gaps in the industry by creating ReSkill Calgary, which is currently in the phase of exploring industry partnerships.
When people complete reskilling programs, they are often left to find their own way by self-practising their learnings and networking their way into tech roles. For a new Canadian, these challenges run even deeper. What comes natural to someone who grew up in Canada, such as small talk, is actually big talk for a newcomer to Canada. New Canadians have to re-learn as they become part of a new community.
Wunmi is changing this narrative by not only bringing awareness to tech, but by empowering new Calgarians to find their way, embrace their skills and become their true self. ReSkill Calgary will offer personalized coaching, enable competency training, industry support that is currently missing for new Canadians, and curated end-to-end solutions that ensure the full integration of new Canadian professionals in Alberta’s innovation ecosystem.
This is something that can’t be done overnight, but Wunmi Adekanmbi brings her courageous “why not” drive, passionate curiosity, and love for empowering marginalized groups to realize their full potential in Calgary’s growing innovation ecosystem. She is not only changing their stories, but showing the world how much more Calgary has to offer.
To learn more about Immigrant Techies Alberta check out The meetup group and stay up to date with events on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.