Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: Goodwall

Goodwall, a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer, is a skills-based social network that helps Gen Z to nurture the right set of competencies to gain access to educational and work-related opportunities.  The app enables 2 million plus young people aged 16-24 in more than 150 countries to develop skills with gamified challenges, showcase skills with a digital profile and connect to learning and earning opportunities from scholarships to jobs.

The advantage for Fortune 1000 companies is that it allows them to build early relationships with young talent and engage with them at scale, says Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder Omar Bawa.  The Swiss scale-up’s partners include SAP,  PwC and UNICEF.

The app is not about transactional talent acquisition. It focuses on skills development that prepares youth for future employment. “We do have jobs listed but that is not the core business or focus,” says Bawa. Companies pay Goodwall to engage with Gen Z. “We can co-create programs with corporates in a bespoke way, depending on their needs, ” he says.

For example, IBMz and Goodwall partnered on #CodingStory, a mission run through the Goodwall platform, to help youth improve their skills in coding and build stronger digital communities. Participants created short videos on what or who inspired them to start coding. The mission resulted in more than 250,000 impressions, 170 video submissions, and drove participation in IBMz’s online event, “IBMz-4-Good-Ideathon”, to more than 2,000 participants. The winner received mentoring from IBM, and $1,000 to help further their education in coding.

Challenges are not limited to tech or coding. “The problem we are solving is that a billion young people are expected to enter the work force and they need to be equipped with 21st century skills,” says Bawa. “The majority of our programs are focused on transferable skills such as creativity,  problem solving and communications which are valuable irrespective of what career you choose,” he says.

Goodwall’s skills programs and challenges are presented in a format that appeals to Gen Z . “Think of it as LinkedIn combined with Tiktok,” he says.  Completed skills programs and challenges are listed in participant profiles. Since many of the app’s users are from emerging markets and often do not have the opportunity to get a higher education or gain experience via internships it is a way to round out their resumes. The social networking app also gives participants a safe space where they can connect with others on shared interests and shared skills, Bawa says.

By designing competitions on the app corporates not only have the chance to connect with the future work force and meet ESG impact goals but also “to build a meaningful relationship with Gen Z so that when they make a purchase your organization is top of mind,” he says.

In addition to brands the Swiss-based scale-up works with governments to meet their mandates to help upskill young people and with UNICEF In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UNICEF works with Goodwall on a number of initiatives that support youth and are focused on making an impact on the UN SDGs 2030. It has partnered on missions encouraging youth to help increase Covid-19 vaccination rates in Africa, for example. It has also worked with UNICEF’s ecosystem of partners like Yoma, to help youth worldwide reach their full potential. Its #BetterTogether mission gathered a network of 35 plus  partner organization and 60 plus guest speakers with a series of 10 missions that were uniquely designed to tap into young people’s motivation to better themselves and raise awareness of global issues, in support of the SDGs.

Goodwall has raised about $10 million in funding to date and has big ambitions to increase its reach. “We are actively seeking new and existing partners to expand our impact on youth as a whole,” says Bawa.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.