Digital Changemaker Finalist: Jean Guo, France
Years in service: 4
Position in the organisation: CEO
Nominating organisation: Konexio
WORK EXPERIENCE AND CONTRIBUTION TO DIGITAL INCLUSION/EMPOWERMENT
In 2015, Jean Guo came to France as a Fulbright scholar researching economic and health challenges for refugees and migrants. Working closely with community members, Jean learned that long-term unemployment was a major detriment to well-being for many refugees and migrants, as they confronted downward social mobility, loss of recognition of their previous credentials, and language barriers.
To address unemployment, Jean proposed the idea of workshops teaching digital skills in migrant communities, receiving an overwhelmingly positive local response. These workshops grew into what is today Konexio, which runs digital skills courses resulting in EU-recognised certification, and web development courses that prepare students for careers in the tech industry. Konexio partners with leading companies such as Salesforce and SAP to place students in apprenticeships and mentoring programs, all of which increase diversity in tech and combat digital exclusion.
LEADERSHIP, COOPERATION, RESOURCE MOBILISATION
Jean grew Konexio from a scrappy set of community workshops in 2016 to an organization that has trained 800+ students, developed partnerships with 200+ companies and organizations, and established an international presence in 2020. She has laid the groundwork for future expansion in 2020-1 both domestically in 2+ regions in France, and internationally in 3+ countries.
Jean’s drive and capacity for collaborative leadership is underpinned by her experience as a researcher, policy expert, and strategy consultant. She has developed partnerships with influential tech companies such as Google and Salesforce, and has won funding from governmental, institutional, and corporate sectors.
Konexio works closely with NGO partners serving similar target beneficiaries, emphasizing a cooperative approach that maximizes efficiency. Konexio’s rapid mobilisation is a testament to Jean’s drive to create an impactful change for refugees. In 2020, Jean was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur.
Jean has grown Konexio’s budget from €20K in 2017 to over €1M today, accelerating Konexio’s mission of digital inclusion and social integration. She has won recognition from the European Investment Bank for her efforts, as well as working closely with the World Economic Forum and UNHCR on refugee issues.
As a result of Jean’s efforts, Konexio has expanded at an incredible rate, and will have trained 1000+ students in digital skills by the end of 2020, giving new access to livelihoods and multiplying integration opportunities.
For example, students in Dzaleka Refugee Camp increased earnings from no income to $500+ per online freelance project, a dramatic rise where the average population lives on less than $1.90 a day. In France, 81% of trainees report feeling more integrated in their local communities.
In 2020, Konexio increased advocacy efforts to change policy and shape the ecosystem, including contributing to the French Interministerial Delegation for Refugee Integration.
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