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Impact Investment: The Key to Unleashing Unrealized Global Talent

Updated: Jun 18, 2021

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.

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