How can jobseekers better connect with employers looking to hire? When working parents scramble for time, how can they remain engaged with their child’s education? What if teachers could organize their classes with the help of an app?
These were just some of the challenges addressed by innovative startups from across the western United States in the semi-finals of the 2018 Global EdTech Startup Awards (GESA), co-sponsored by Digital Promise and GSVlabs, and the Michelson Foundation on November 15.
Each startup had five minutes to pitch their product and then answer questions from a panel of five judges who are experts in the fields of venture capital, information technology, and education.
The ultimate winner of the western U.S. semi-finals? Skillist, an online platform that connects often-overlooked and underrepresented jobseekers, including the millions of Americans without four-year degrees, to employers who need their skills.
During the pitch, Ananth Kasturiraman, co-founder and CEO of Skillist, described a growing problem across the country and how Skillist can help address it.
“As new roles and industries emerge, Skillist can help companies connect with applicants who are acquiring skills outside of traditional higher education (e.g., vocational schools, boot camps, MOOCs, etc),” Kasturiraman said. “We can create labor market flexibility by empowering workers to understand their capabilities in terms of skill sets rather than job titles—as industries like mining disappear, miners can more easily seek out jobs in other industries and understand how to expand their own skill sets instead of feeling like their livelihoods have disappeared.”
GESA is the largest edtech startup competition in the world. It has partners in a dozen countries, including Boston-based LearnLaunch, the Center for Educational Technology, Digital Promise, and Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterey.
“Pitch opportunities like the Global Edtech Startup Awards allow us to share our vision for a fairer, more effective hiring marketplace,” Kasturiraman said. “Through past pitches, we’ve been connected with workforce development leaders, strategic startup advisors, and employers looking for better ways to find great talent.”
Skillist advances to the global final competition in London on January 22, 2019. They’ll compete for an opportunity to win $20,000 and connect with international investors. We wish them good luck!
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