Experfy, Innovating at the Harvard Innovation Lab, partners with Project Starfish


For those of you who have seen me tweeting about Project Starfish, or for any of you who attended my presentation at the CSUN 2014 Conference on Disability, you may recall my mention of Harvard Innovations Lab. Here is a press release announcing the partnership about which I spoke.

Experfy, Innovating at the Harvard Innovation Lab, Launches a Consulting Marketplace to Address the Growing Big Data Talent Shortage

“Until today, no dedicated marketplace existed for companies to hire big data experts for their short-term projects. Experfy is here to fundamentally disrupt the dominance of large consulting firms by providing quick access to the most prestigious analytics talent. Our experts will transform big data problems, across industries, and turn them into solutions.”

—Harpreet Singh, PhD, Co-Founder, Experfy

March 31, 2014 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Experfy, innovating at the Harvard Innovation Lab, announced today that it has launched a paradigm-changing, online marketplace that will allow industry leaders to solve their “big data” talent needs. Enterprises now have a central platform for on-demand hiring of vetted experts with algorithmic skills and domain knowledge, primarily for short-term projects related to data, analytics and business intelligence.

“The business relationship with Harvard i-Lab start-up Experfy stands as a model of corporate social responsibility that should be adopted worldwide.”
“What was missing from the big data consulting industry was a bidding platform like Experfy, that is driven by a fair and balanced approach, where both sides—clients and providers—are winners in the end. Whether a company has a short-term project need or is looking to augment its existing team, Experfy, with its fully-vetted experts, enables companies to hire on-demand, thereby giving them unparalleled value for their money,” said Sarabjot Kaur, Co-Founder, Experfy. “Our data experts have the ability to deploy advanced analytical skills coupled with deep domain knowledge to solve complex business problems. Whether it is minimizing risk, simplifying supply chains or identifying new channels of growth, Experfy will be the trusted intermediary for hiring data, analytics and business intelligence talent.”

Along with individual experts, Experfy has also signed up smaller companies to provide reliable and cost-effective consulting for data, analytics and business intelligence projects. Experfy’s enterprise-ready dashboard provides collaboration tools to manage agreements, team members, project milestones, timesheets, payments and expert ratings.
Gordon Jones, Managing Director of the Harvard Innovation Lab said, “Experfy is just one example of the many cutting-edge technology ventures that incubate at the Harvard Innovation Lab. It is exciting to see this team launching an innovative marketplace for experts with deep technical skills and insights to tackle complex business challenges put forward by companies eager to gain an information advantage.”

Experfy has also partnered with Project Starfish, an international business development group with a learning and opportunity platform for talented, unemployed blind individuals, to help with lead generation, data mining, market research and social media promotion. Subhashish Acharya, founder of Project Starfish, said “The business relationship with Harvard i-Lab start-up Experfy stands as a model of corporate social responsibility that should be adopted worldwide.”

About Experfy
Experfy is a consulting marketplace where enterprises hire big data experts and vendors for their data, analytics and business intelligence projects on-demand. Experfy brings together the world’s most prestigious data and analytics talent that not only possesses technical skills but also deep domain expertise. Experfy is based in the Harvard Innovation Lab.
About Harvard Innovation Lab
The Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab) is a Harvard University initiative fostering team-based and entrepreneurial activities among Harvard students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and members of the Allston and Greater Boston community. The i-lab encourages entrepreneurship and innovation across the University, bringing together many cross-curricular interests, including students from Harvard Business School, Harvard College, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Harvard School of Public Health.
About Project Starfish
Project Starfish is an international business development group with a learning and opportunity platform for talented blind individuals. Project Starfish seeks to lower the unemployment (above 70%) rate among the adult blind population. Its “shared service” model allows emerging and start-up companies to share talented resources from an amazing talent pool of blind individuals who are virtually available and work on-demand, to help grow their business. Project Starfish offers support in marketing, sales, social media, business research, customer support, content writing and operations.
Contacts
Experfy
Harpreet Singh, PhD, 617-642-5833
Co-Founder
or
Sarabjot Kaur, 617-642-5769
Co-Founder
http://www.experfy.com/

###

To read more about Project Starfish, go here:

A Creative Approach to Help Bridge the Employment Gap:

http://accessibleinsights.info/blog/2014/03/07/a-creative-approach-to-help-bridge-the-employment-gap-project-starfish/

LL

A creative approach to help bridge the employment gap: Project Starfish


On Wednesday, march 19th, 2014, at 1:50 PM, I will be presenting a session at the CSUN Conference on Disability entitled, “A Creative Approach to Help Bridge the Employment Gap: Project Starfish.” As a business advisor and the Director of Recruitment for the program, I have acted as a face of the organization since its inception. I invite you to attend the session, and learn how you can share my passion for facilitating employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. If you’d like to indicate your interest in the session and save a seat, go here:

http://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/2014/sessions/index.php/public/presentations/view/361

The founder of Project Starfish, Subhashish Acharya, or “Subs,” as he is called, sat for an interview with me to introduce the program to anyone who might have a desire to gain entry to, or to re-enter, the workforce. If you have a business, and find the idea of helping to build a platform by which people with disabilities can learn, earn, and grow, read on, then join us.

LL: Please tell my blog readers about the inspiration behind Project Starfish.
Subs: The straight answer is the high unemployment rate. Seventy to eighty percent is too high a number, which is exceptionally concerning to a person like me who has been in the industry for nearly 16 years. Imagine what the unemployment rate is in other countries like India, China etc.

The biggest inspiration has been to try and use my own talent in business that I have acquired over the years, and find out if possibilities exist. Can we find a solution, has been the inspiration. I have come across many, many blind people, and everyone has some kind of talent. It will be a waste not to leverage that for someone who needs it. To put the talent to use, provide the right training and creating a unique model that creates social impact and business impact together, and bringing hope in businesses and the blind community has been my inspiration. Humanity is always under evolution. There are choices we all make, every day, whether we believe it or not. While earning a paycheck from a good job and keeping the self happy is really important, it is also critical for all of us to reach out and create opportunities for those who need it. Over the years, I’ve realized compassion, charity, sympathy do work sometimes, but doesn’t provide a solution. The only thing that provides a solution to problems , I believe is, cooperation. We can all work together, can’t we? The only thing we need to do is devote time and have a purpose. Creating a model where businesses, business leaders, and people who are blind work together in a cooperative environment is the pilot of human evolution. A model that creates an example of cooperation has been my inspiration. I am proud of my members, businesses and teachers who have walked the talk and made it possible. Truly, you can look up to humanity again and say, “yes, Possibilities exist, if we work together.” Isn’t that quite an inspiration for everyone, not just me alone.

LL: Please explain the origin of the Project Starfish name.
Subs: The answer is going to quite surprise you. Just like many, I was always inspired by the story of a young boy in the Starfish story. In brief , here it is for those who haven’t read about it:

An old man is walking along the ocean and
sees a beach on which thousands and thousands
of starfish have washed ashore. Further along
he sees a young man, walking slowly and
stooping often, picking up one starfish after
another and tossing each one gently into the
ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the
ocean?” He asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out
and if I don’t throw them further in they will
die,” replies the boy.

The old man counters, “But, young man, don’t you realize there are miles
and miles of beach and starfish all along it?
You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even
save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you
work all day, your efforts won’t make any
difference at all.”

The young man listened calmly and then bent
down to pick up another starfish and threw it
into the sea. “It made a difference to that one.”

You see, eighty-three percent of small businesses or startups die every 5 years because of the lack of talent. Imagine when these businesses die it brings demise to the product, the inspiration, sometimes their livelihood as well. Imagine what a devastating impact it can create to people, their families, business and the economy of a country. They need a lot of hands to help, and sixty percent of the country’s economy depends upon them.

On the other side, eighty percent of the adult blind population are looking for opportunities to learn, earn, and prove themselves. Why cant we simply create a workforce that will help these businesses out, grow them, and earn their employment just by working together? The only thing we need is training, creation of opportunities and cooperation. The workforce of participants who are blind helping the businesses is exactly the Starfish story. Imagine the workforce of blind team members worldwide helping each starfish(business) get back to the ocean. While this makes a difference to the business, it also makes a difference to the worker who is blind, where they experience real mainstream work, learn, earn grow and become employable. The key is to make both sides work together. A social and business camaraderie.

That’s the reason we named the initiative Project Starfish. Project defines the exactness of the purpose to work together and get as many starfish back to the sea, resulting in millions of jobs, happier families, income for all involved and a better economy, where business impact creates social impact as well.

LL: Tell us about your short term goals for Project Starfish.
Subs: We are 6 months into the journey. Our goal at the start was 10 blind professionals working with 10 businesses, at least fifty percent of whom were earning an income. Currently we have 25 people, working with 22 businesses, 20% of the businesses are international. It seems we can now be a little ambitious, I guess. Our short term goal by the end of 2014 is to have 100 blind professionals, 60% in the USA and 40% in India, Australia and UK. We will work with 100 companies, eighty percent of our professionals making an income. We have already started in Australia. Now we are looking to hire blind veterans as well.

LL: What do you see for the program five years from now?
Subs: We see 1000 blind professionals, becoming a huge change maker in helping startups across the world, and Project Starfish becoming a business research powerhouse for just-in-time, information as a service platform for corporations and small businesses.

LL: Can anyone join the team, or is it strictly for people who are blind?
Subs: We welcome anyone to interview with us, if they have a passion to succeed, ambition and want to make money. Seventy percent of those we interview have joined us and we put a lot of labor into revamping their skills so as to be relevant to businesses. Currently, we are focused on professionals who are blind, and we will slowly lead with people in different categories of disability.

You can follow Project Starfish via @ProjectSTARF1SH on Twitter.

More about the Project Starfish founders:
Founders Soumita and Subhashish ( a.k.a. Subs are a husband and wife team. Soumita is a filmmaker and owns 3 accessible films. Subs is a Director at Oracle America, managing the worlds largest management consulting company. Subs has over 15 years of business experience with technology and business. Subs was a programmer, a design artist, a multimedia expert at a different lifetime. He has phenomenal experience with business, processes, six sigma, sales, business development, innovative business strategies, management consulting, business operations and is an avid networker. They are passionate about serving the blind community, and both are advocates for people with disabilities.

During my presentation at the CSUN Conference on Disability, I will be speaking to two different audiences simultaneously. My aim is to attract both potential candidates for employment as well as the businesses that might employ them. Please plan to attend my session, and I will be available all week during the conference to answer questions and further elaborate on Project Starfish details.

About Laura Legendary:
Laura Legendary is a speaker, author, educator and entrepreneur, specializing in disability awareness, advocacy, accessibility, and assistive technology. She has developed and delivered curricula for the State of Washington Aging and Disability services for use in the continuing education program for independent in-home health care providers. To book Laura for your next corporate, community, or caregiver training, go to her flagship site, Eloquent Insights (www.eloquentinsights.com), or email l.legendary@eloquentinsights.com. Laura’s latest venture, Elegant Insights Braille Creations, showcases her distinctive collection of Braille embossed jewelry and accessories. Follow Laura @Accessible_Info or @ElegantInsights on Twitter, or for information about job opportunities for accessible web development, testing, accessible mobile, and other access and assistive technology professionals, follow @Accessible_Jobs on Twitter.

To indicate your interest in attending the session, go to:

http://www.csun.edu/cod/conference/2014/sessions/index.php/public/presentations/view/361

I look forward to seeing you. Don’t forget to use hashtag #CSUN14 when tweeting about the event.

LL

Answering some FAQ’s about the AT Work jobs board


One specific area of interest which has always been near and dear to my heart is the subject of disability and employment. In the past, I have been an employee in a corporate, retail, and commissioned sales settings. More recently, I have been an employer, and as a result of this varied background, I feel I have a fairly good view of the work search landscape. My efforts to advocate for people who have disabilities have not only consisted of direct hiring, but also offering advice to individuals seeking gainful employment. One of my most recent attempts at outreach in this area has been to set up a job board page, which is attach to my web site.

The job board site is not unlike many you’ve probably seen. many webmasters have added job board sites as a way to monetize their site or blog, or to add another “sticky” feature to their site so as to encourage more site visits or page views. Whatever the reason, many of the site owners who use these job board services use one of several that offer a site owner a variation of a main site, which is part of a larger network of jobs in a massive database. This is done by making available search niches that can be narrowed by region, state, job type, or any number of subcategories. Once you choose an area of interest that you believe will be relevant to your site visitors or site content, you can then “carve out” your little piece of the jobs database and create a jobs board page that is customized for your audience.

The job board itself is not monetized, in that they feature no ads. At least, the one I use does not feature ads. typically, work search is free to job seekers, and the fields that are populated with jobs come from the massive database of jobs that are collected from all over the web. The owner of the job board site can solicit for relevant postings from employers who are offering opportunities in that particular niche. In other words, if you have a job board site offering work in the hospitality industry, you might invite potential employers who are hiring for concierge or housekeeping or reservation positions to advertise those opportunities on your page. you can then charge the employer to place the ad.

On my own jobs board site, AT Work, I post jobs related to technology that require skills in the areas of accessible web development, 508 compliance testing, orientation and mobility specialists, educators or trainers who specialize in accessibility or disability awareness. Not all of the opportunities on my jobs board have been posted to my site specifically, some have come from the jobs database at large. On my site, employers can post a job for $39 which is significantly less than what Linked In or other career site and work search classifies charge.

The AT Work accessibility jobs board [http://tinyurl.com/6f5btoz] represents my little portion of the database. Additionally, I use the @Accessible_Jobs Twitter account to post tweets about career management, resume writing, economic news, work search tips, and general encouragement to followers seeking work. The jobs board isn’t specifically for people who are blind or otherwise disabled to find employment, rather, it’s for individuals who work in the field of accessible web development, usability, and so on.

Recently, I received a tweet asking how one might go about pursuing one of these job tweets, and if they are “real” jobs. The question inspired the realization that I haven’t written about the job board since I installed it around two years ago, and I thought it was time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

1: Are the jobs “real” jobs?

Yes. Though not all of the opportunities are posted directly through my page, they are real job opportunities. Employers have to pay a fee to post a job. When they post a job opening with me directly, I frequently have an email exchange with them, so as to learn a bit more about the job being offered. For the employers who are actually paying the $39 to post on my site, I spend more time promoting that job. I might retweet it a number of times throughout the posting period, I’ll retweet it to my other Twitter accounts, or I’ll attempt to call your attention to it in some other way. I do all I can to assist the employer in finding the right person for the job, so as to ensure a win-win for all concerned.

2: How do I apply?

If you click on the link associated with the job tweet, you will be taken to a “more information” page, where you’ll see the job description and other relevant information. The company may be hiring for multiple positions, so you may be able to click a link that will take you further into the company Human Resources pages, where you can see a full list of all the jobs, whether or not in your area of expertise.

3: Do you tweet every job available on your site?

No. Since the job tweets are only served up to Twitter on a schedule that I specify, you’ll only see the newest job listings posted about every six hours. I did this so as to minimize cluttering up a follower’s Twitter stream. I’ve seen those Twitter feeds that spit out updates once every minute or two, and they drive me crazy. Typically, I unfollow them. I have no desire to irritate my followers.

4: How can I see a more complete list of available jobs?

Go directly to the At Work jobs board site. you can get to it by going to the Accessible Insights web site [http://www.accessibleinsights.info], which I recommend you do with your hand covering your eyes, as I have not updated the site in a long time, it has languished in a code graveyard, where it awaits a defibrillator or stem cell treatment. Click on the link that pertains to work search, and you’ll get there. Or, just go directly to the job board, bypassing the abomination that passes for my web site, which you will find by going to:

http://jobs.accessibleinsights.info/a/jbb/find-jobs

Incidentally, I’d like to hire someone to overhaul the site, so if you know someone…

5: I don’t see much that interests me there, how can I see more job listings?

At the bottom of the job listings page, there are a few search boxes that you can use to specify some particulars, such as full- or part-time jobs, jobs in related fields, or jobs in a specific geographical region. The AT Work jobs board only posts opportunities that are available in the U. S.

6: How does an employer post a job?

By clicking on the “post a job” link. The process is simple and straightforward. an employer can post detailed information, and the additional info can be accessed by job seekers who click on the “more info” link on the listings page.

7: Can you help me get a job?

I do not work in human resources, nor am I a work search consultant or headhunter. I am in no way associated with the Employment Services Department with the U. S. government, or any other employment agency. However, I’ll do all I can to assist you in your work search efforts, even if that means promoting your skills and expertise by featuring you as a “job seeker of the week.” You can read more about that here: [http://tinyurl.com/7o3ru8h].

I’m also happy to offer tips on work search, interviewing, and networking. As a long-time employer of workers in a variety of work environments, I can certainly assist with everything from skills assessment to resume writing. Or, if you just need someone to listen to your work-search misery and offer encouragement, I can do that, too.

For additional information or questions about any of the above, feel free to use the accessible contact form on the blog page. Always a pleasure to share my accessible insights with you.

LL

Online career fair for job-seekers with disabilities March 5th


Have you heard about this year’s Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair? They will be hosting 4 events this year, and the first one is less than 2 weeks away – Tuesday, March 5 from 1 to 4 pm EST. Employers are registering now for these one-of-a-kind online career fairs to recruit job seekers with disabilities nationwide.

This year’s TBTL Online Career Fairs will again be powered by Brazen Careerist and will connect job seekers with businesses like Pearson, United Therapeutics, and Aetna, who are actively recruiting qualified candidates with disabilities—all without leaving their computer. It will be a great event to meet and chat with businesses who are committed to building a diverse workforce!

There are currently over 150 registered job seekers but more are needed. Please help spread the word about this event so that moore businesses recruit qualified candidates with disabilities now.
For more information or to register, visit the event’s page online – https://www.brazenconnect.com/event/thinkbeyondthelabel_mar_5. For questions or additional information contact Laura Wilhelm at lwilhelm@hdadvocates.org.

LL

New feature for @Accessible_Jobs followers: Job seeker of the week


If you follow my Twitter account @Accessible_Jobs, then you know that accessibility and assistive technology related tweets drop into your stream several times a day.  If you are a job seeker, you can click on the links attached to the tweet, which will take you to the employer and job description page, and immediately apply.  The jobs are available throughout the U.S., and since some of you may be in a position to relocate,, I do not limit the tweets to a specific geographical location.  Besides, why limit the possibilities?

 

Some of you have written to me, asking me for additional help.  While I have explained to each of you that I am not an employment service, all I do is post job tweets, some have appealed to me in an effort to gain additional exposure, which of course, is what any job seeker should do…leverage any advantage, any contact, so as to get that edge.  Well done.

 

For some time now, I’ve been mulling over an idea that I think I’d like to try.  In addition to the daily job tweets, i’m going to roll out a new feature for my followers that I’ll call, "This Week’s Featured Job Seeker."

 

The idea is to showcase one individual for one week, highlighting their skills and abilities, type of opportunity sought, and other promotional information.  In each tweet, I will link to a resume, Linked In page or other professional profile page, a blog or web site on which relevant information appears.  The goal is to raise your visibility, connect you with other contacts and potential employers.  I will post ten tweets about you throughout your week.  If you like, you may supply the tweet.  In fact, it is preferable that you send me a list of ten tweets, that way you are ensured the precise wording and preferred tone, along with the correct link.

   

Think it can’t work?  Well, who knows.  We cannot predict in life what contact leads to which connection that places you right where you need to be.  Remember, luck is preparation meeting opportunity.  Sometimes, the line between point A and point B isn’t always a straight one, and by contacting me, you helped spark this idea, which just may land you a job.  Think it over, and if you’d like to participate, I’m here to help.

 

Here are the rules of the game:

1:  You must have your professional data residing somewhere online, with a permalink to the page.  I will only link to your professional profile information, I will not link to your Facebook page. 

2:  I must be able to review your information, at least, to some degree, to ensure that I’m not promoting your effort to publicize your latest MLM scheme or porn video release.

3:  If you are out-of-country, and seeking a job in the USA, all of your work permit documents must be in order.  No, I will not be checking them, this is the honor system here, but if you are contacted by an employer and you are not prepared to travel, you have wasted everyone’s valuable time, particularly mine. 

4:  You must be willing to listen to my suggestions as to how to improve upon your presentation.  No, I am not going to rewrite your resume, but if there are spelling or formatting errors that I know will work to your detriment, you must at least be willing to hear what I have to say.  I will not require that you take my advice, but please be open to it.

5:  I will feature one job seeker per week, but I may not feature one every single week.  How often I feature a job seeker will be left entirely to my discretion.

6:  Whomever is chosen to be the job seeker of the week will be left entirely to my discretion.

7:  I will not in any way personally vouch for your skills and abilities.  I cannot vet each of you, and again, I am not an employment service.  Unless by some chance, we have worked together in some capacity, or I know you personally, I can only promote your work search effort, not endorse your viability as an employee.      

8:   I will not accept any sort of compensation whatsoever.  Therefore, I reserve the right to take a break to earn a living.  Thank you for your understanding. 

9:  I make no warrantees or guarantees of any kind whatsoever. 

10:  Do not operate heavy machinery while using this service, do not use while bathing, swimming, or near standing water.  Contents unfit for human consumption, do not ingest.  If irritation persists, please discontinue use.

 

If you would like for me to feature you, please use the accessible contact form on the Accessible Insights Blog home page, and drop me a note.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

To search jobs:

Click here to go to the AT Work job board.

 

To post job openings on the AT Work job board:

Click here to go to the posting page.

 

Best of luck to you.

 

LL
 

Accessible Insights rolls out AT Work job board


We’re all doing our part to get the economy rolling again, and whether that means you’re spending, saving, building or hiring, we’re all in this together.  Along with efforts to help others, we’re struggling to help ourselves, too.  My miniscule contribution to the plan is to add a job board to the growing list of offerings here at Accessible Insights.  The AT Work job board focuses, as you might guess, on opportunities related to assistive technology.  I’ve yet to link it up to the home page, but you’ll be able to check out the job board by clicking the category, "AT Work" here on the blog.  Or, just click on the link below.

 

jobs.accessibleinsights.info

 

All search functions are free for job seekers.  All opportunities are located in the U.S. only.  Know someone who needs a job?  Send them to the AT Work job board.

The cost to post an AT Work classified is $20 for a listing lasting thirty days.  Are you a sole proprietor AT consultant looking for an assistant?  Post your requirements on the AT Work job board.  Have a web site build in mind, but you need some help with usability?  Find a specialist here.  Looking for a Universal design guru to add to your architectural firm?  Make the request on the AT Work job board.

           

The AT Work classifieds job board is specifically for people interested in accessibility or assistive technology consulting, accessible web development, Section 508 compliance testing, accessible mobile apps and accessible social media platforms development.  I know there are plenty of job boards out there, most of which seem to focus on Internet technology, but I want to emphasize job opportunities specifically in this one narrow niche.  Please pass this along to any organization you know of, large or small, and encourage them to post their assistive tech specialist opportunities here on the AT Work classifieds.

 

See you AT Work!

 

LL

Posted in AT News, AT Work. No Comments »