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Africa is a continent full of skilled designers and craftsmen, but unleashing their creative potential comes with a few challenges. Many African countries lack the commercial infrastructure and economic capital needed to fund, support, and market creative talent. In order to find a solution and help bring African talent to the U.S., Girl Scout alum Stephanie Nachemja-Bunton co-founded Meaningful Gigs in 2019.
Meaningful Gigs helps African designers find remote work in America by connecting them to companies (such as Starbucks, Bloomberg, Facebook, IDEO, and Van) that are seeking high-quality digital design services. Their mission is to create 100,000 remote jobs for Africans by 2028.
“We weren’t sure of the market, or the level of designers we would find,” Nachemja-Bunton tells CircleAround. “All of us — our designers, clients, and employees — are more dedicated to the cause than I would have imagined. What started as a gut decision based on our values and personal missions has become the single best decision we’ve made.”
Meaningful Gigs offers a series of skill development programs for African designers. This not only helps the designers add new skills to their résumés, but helps them become more employable, with higher earning potential.
Skill development and job placement can help create a more sustainable African economy that can swiftly grow as individuals pass on their skills to new generations of remote workers in Africa. To find out how remote jobs in America can help the African economy, Meaningful Gigs conducted studies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
One of the greatest benefits of remote work is that entrepreneurs can work where they wish and companies can source talent from anywhere. This allows writers, artists, musicians, and more to earn a decent salary in a part of the world where the cost of living is lower.
“We found that for every $1 someone in Africa receives through employment, there is $2.39 to $9.26 of wealth created in their local economies,” the company wrote in a recent blog post. “The exogenous spending multiplier (ESM) depends largely on what percentage of income is saved vs. spent and which country they are spending in, as different countries have varying savings rates.”
The company’s mission to create 100,000 skilled jobs in Africa by 2028 feels far off, but those at Meaningful Gigs know their work is really ramping up. Along with more relaxed remote work policies, there is a greater shift towards appreciation for diverse hires.
“The global economy can't afford dated mentalities and practices when it comes to finding the right people,” the company wrote in another blog post. “Currently, there are 10.4M jobs available in the U.S., and only 7.674M unemployed. Even if every one of those jobs was filled and there was 0% unemployment, there would still be 2.726M jobs without any domestic candidates left to fill those positions.”
Meaningful Gigs is helping to fill these positions by focusing on upskilling African designers to be ready to work with global enterprises. This benefits both employer and employee. One of the greatest benefits of remote work is that entrepreneurs can work where they wish and companies can source talent from anywhere. This allows writers, artists, musicians, and more to earn a decent salary in a part of the world where the cost of living is lower.
“I've learned to be more clear about our expectations and pathways to success so that we can provide stronger support to people on all sides,” Nachemja-Bunton tells CircleAround. “Ultimately, growth is my main focus with our team. In line with our mission to guide people toward their full potential, I'm constantly looking for ways that we can support everyone involved.”