Image: A photo of SmartJob founder and CEO, Gina Kline smiling at the camera.

In today's edition of his Forbes column, SmartJob Board of Advisors member Jonathan Kaufman discusses SmartJob's mission and why the ideas of people with disabilities are critical to the future of work:

"It is vital to look beyond the present and take a creative approach to the possible and appreciate that the business ecosystem of tomorrow is ever-expanding and those with disabilities can play a central role in shaping its future."

You can read the full article here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathankaufman/2021/06/18/mindset-matters-how-an-upstart-like-smart-job-llc-is-disrupting-the-impact-investing-world-and-offering-a-vision-for-the-future

Updated: Jun 15


SmartJob Board of Advisors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2021


Contact: Margaret Knowles

Email: comms@smartjob.net

Website: https://www.smartjob.net/


New Company that Facilitates Impact Investments to Close the Disability Wealth Gap Announces Inaugural Board of Advisors


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2021—As companies contemplate a post-pandemic return to the workplace and business as usual, many people are pointing out that “business as usual” excludes millions of people with disabilities, who stand to lose access to the job opportunities provided by remote offices and new and flexible ways of working.


At this critical moment, the market is demanding that we reimagine the future of work itself to be more flexible, sustainable, and inclusive. For this reason, people with disabilities may be the most skilled designers of the future of work.


SmartJob, LLC was formed to help make work more inclusive, through better designed, or “smart,” jobs, including by facilitating investment and support in new skills training, innovative work-related technologies, accelerators, incubators, and innovation hubs, and giving founders with disabilities access to venture capital.


SmartJob has assembled an exemplary team of advisors from the financial, tech, nonprofit, and government sectors, including:

  • Long-time disability rights activist Judy Heumann

  • ClearMask CEO Aaron Hsu

  • VC advisor and Neurodiversity Pathways Director Ranga Jayaraman

  • Forbes columnist Jonathan Kaufman

  • Motley Fool Vice-President John Keeling

  • Google Head of Brand Accessibility KR Liu

  • Immediate Past Past President of the National Federation of the Blind Marc Maurer

  • Facebook Policy Communications Manager Erin McPike

  • Georgia Advocacy Office Executive Director Ruby Moore

  • Southern Bancorp Advisor Jan Piercy

  • Activist, Award-winning Humanitarian, and Global Goals Advisory Senior Partner Eddie Ndopu

  • National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono

  • SHRM President and CEO and USA Today columnist Johnny C. Taylor Jr.

  • Inclusively CEO Charles M. Trunz III

With the wide-ranging talent and support of its exceptional advisors, SmartJob will work to close the disability wealth gap by facilitating impact investments in the people, products, and companies that can dramatically improve access and opportunities for people with disabilities in the workforce, and in turn, strengthen work for everyone.


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About SmartJob

SmartJob’s mission is to close the disability wealth gap and make jobs “smarter,” by expanding access to investment, financial services, and technology, and by improving public policy.


We do this by engaging with innovation partners across the world and delivering better economic opportunities to people with disabilities through our impact investments in disability-led, early-stage companies and non-profits that are building an inclusive future of work.


SmartJob investments enable people with disabilities to access capital, supports, and products to gain meaningful employment and access upward mobility. The result is measurable improvements in labor market participation and reduction in disability poverty.


Contact:

Margaret Knowles

comms@smartjob.net

https://www.smartjob.net/


Updated: Jun 18



Image: Two people working at a desk in an office. One of them is a wheelchair user.

SmartJob was founded to create the “smart” jobs of the future. To do so, we facilitate impact investments in the people, products, and companies that can dramatically improve access and opportunities for people with disabilities in the workforce, and in turn, strengthen work for everyone.

Ideas become viable businesses through ingenuity, development of critical business skills, meaningful support, deep and trusted networks, and access to early risk capital.

That’s why we have focused the investments of the SmartJob Fund at ImpactAssets into four main impact areas:

I. Work-Related Technology

Workers with disabilities know what they need to find, obtain, and thrive in employment, and when they can’t find solutions in the open market, they often invent them themselves.

Yet until now, disability-led innovators have often lacked access to the early-stage capital necessary to launch and deploy their work-related innovations.

From solutions built with AI and machine learning to apps, wearables, and communication devices, SmartJob seeks to seed and scale innovative technologies that maximize global human talent at work.

With the worldwide population of people with disabilities holding an estimated $8 trillion dollars in disposable income, these inventions possess immense revenue potential and corresponding opportunities to build wealth and upward mobility for entrepreneurs with disabilities.

II. Up-Skilling, Re-Skilling, & Future-Proofing

SmartJob is shifting the labor market toward an inclusive economy by filling ever-widening skills gaps. SmartJob supports investments which give workers the skills they need to compete in the 21st century global economy.

From coding bootcamps to advanced manufacturing training to augmentative or alternative reality vocational training, we facilitate the deployment of capital to fill the growing skills gap and support disability-diverse talent pipelines into emerging industries.

III. Seeding Underrepresented Founders

Groundbreaking ideas come from people of all backgrounds, but unequal access to wealth and social capital mean that many truly transcendent ideas are never realized.

We can change this by investing in early-stage companies across sectors that are led by underrepresented founders with disabilities. This is one of the best ways to build a more inclusive workforce and generate wealth for people with disabilities.

We are looking for early-stage, investible companies founded by people with disabilities that will have a material and measurable impact on disability-led entrepreneurship and innovation—and increase the labor market participation of people with disabilities.

IV. Accelerators & Incubators

SmartJob plans to support accelerators and incubators to find and fund the strongest disability-led employment solutions in the world.

We can help unleash unrealized global talent by backing programs that support disability-led solutions and the next generation of breakthrough founders, no matter where they live.

What SmartJob Seeks from its Allies

We value partners who believe that an inclusive economy depends on innovators working across national boundaries, social identities, and economic backgrounds to build a more equitable future.

Thus, we are in search of allies operating in any country who:

  1. Are entrepreneurs with disabilities, those with disability-led solutions, or disability innovation hubs that possess agile and flexible ways of approaching 21st century employment, and

  2. Champion innovations derived from diverse lived experiences which highlight new ways that workers with disabilities can lead in the next century, such as by participating in emerging or growing labor market sectors, inventing and leveraging technology, defining new avenues to access wealth and upward mobility, and tackling difficult global problems.

Founders with disabilities should be supported and funded to bring their best ideas to market. People with disabilities should also be included from the outset in testing and piloting new products and services. Building an inclusive economy will depend upon this.

The pandemic has made it more obvious than ever that 20th-century concepts of work are due for reinvention. Post-COVID, we have the opportunity to reimagine the future of work to be more adaptable, flexible, innovative, and inclusive. One exceptional way to start is to invest in ideas that come from people with disabilities.

Interested in investing in solutions with the power to close the disability wealth gap? SmartJob is on a mission to transform the labor market so that qualified workers with disabilities are included in wealth and opportunity. Sign up now to get new posts delivered directly to your inbox.