Chris Richmond N’zi, founder of Mygrants tells us about the agency that helps to identify all the excellence among migrants.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chris Richmond N’zi: Thank you very much for asking. We are currently in lockdown, Italy is constantly changing and tightening the restrictions, but we are doing pretty well.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Mygrants.
Chris Richmond N’zi: I was born in Ivory Coast, I have a double passport: American and Swiss. I studied International Law and Diplomacy in Switzerland, then I did my professional training in the United States. After graduation, I joined Frontex from 2010 to 2015. I was working on the consequences of migrant flows and on the potential that they generated, a work of analysis. I followed developments during the whole post-Arab Spring. I had the privilege to visit the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the largest in the world, run by UNHCR, with 500,000 asylum seekers. Then I went on a mission to the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia.
In late 2015 I resigned from the Agency. I had a couple of entrepreneurial experiences and in early 2017, I decided to dedicate myself to Mygrants, – we want to identify all the excellence among migrants inside and outside reception centers. The aim is to turn what is often a passive and restless waiting period during the immigration procedure that can last for up to 600 days into a proactive and enriching time. Through a microlearning and quiz system, our app screens professional skills, work experience, and individual aspirations. We also train them by providing them with a range of information about their rights that they are often unaware of. The analysis of the data collected also serves to facilitate entry into the labor market.
How does Mygrants innovate?
Chris Richmond N’zi: We innovate by improving and perfecting existing learning methodologies; constantly producing new learning content; improving our existing platform with new features: Cashme – financial rewarding system dedicated to our Trainees, Pickme – sourcing platform dedicated to SMEs and corporates; scanning new potential partners. We take on new volunteers and interns to bring some fresh ideas and innovative views.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Chris Richmond N’zi: The pandemic did affect our business in that we had to cut some costs and to continue to ensure all services, so we needed to freeze all activities related to marketing and communication. The process of raising the money required more effort and was more time-consuming compared to 2019, that’s why we decided to focus on deals that require less time. Also, some projects needed to be canceled or postponed because of many reasons related to the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices?
Chris Richmond N’zi: Regarding our team, there were no difficulties, since from the very beginning we have been a digital company, which means we can always work from home.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Chris Richmond N’zi: We use tools like Trello, Google Workspace, etc, that allow us to work remotely and share all the documents, data, and information with all the teammates when it is necessary.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chris Richmond N’zi: We do have some competitors in Italy, in Europe, and worldwide, but the difference between all of them and Mygrants is that everything we produce is based on the data that we collect and carefully analyze.
Your final thoughts?
Chris Richmond N’zi: I have always believed that we are the right people, in the right place, in the right moment doing the right thing. This is a $35B value market, and we are one of the first movers and one of the best players in this field.
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