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New Tech Startup Aims to Link Black Professionals According to Skillset

BlackUp Founder

Christabel Agbonkonkon has launched tech company BlackUp, a recruitment tool aimed at connecting Black professionals while empowering the workforce of color.

The Texas-based mom of five was motivated to create the company following the public outrage from the murder of George Floyd. Seeing how Americans, especially the Black community, gathered during protests in support of justice, Agbonkonkon saw the power in those droves.

With its debut last month, Agbonkonkon says the company is a “foundational” must-have for the community workforce. During the early stages of her research, Agbonkonkon took notice that Black people were applying for jobs that didn’t quite match their current skill set.

BlackUp campaigns for “BlackUp, Making Job Equity a Reality” aligned with her blueprint of securing the equity gap between the job market and Black professionals.

“Jobs are so [fundamental] to our mental health, self-reliance, and economic security that can help you believe in yourself,” she said. “It’s about building self-esteem and a better feeling about the world around them.”

She continued, “Giving Blacks better access to jobs would do so much to improve their mental health. Jobs can provide for families, keep families together, and keep people out of trouble and out of jail.”

Another great amenity is that BlackUp uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies while adapting to our forever-changing climate for enhanced communication.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is the broad science of mimicking human abilities, while machine learning (ML) is a specific subset of AI that trains a machine how to learn using methods from “neural networks, statistics, operations research and physics to find hidden insights in data without being explicitly programmed where to look or what to conclude,” the businesswoman said.

She added, “We needed a better algorithm, that’s BlackUp’s design, to provide a better matching algorithm and a better screening process for both the enterprise and our employees.”

Algorithms have had a long-standing controversy as to who builds them and the biases it creates for people of color. Agbonkonkon wants to combat those barricades while creating a safe space for the community.

Prospects can use the service much like a subscription plan either monthly or annually. There’s even an option for those who prefer the free service while searching for employment, whether full-time, part-time, remote work, or contract with companies within the U.S.

Agbonkonkon, who is Nigerian-born, is a graduate of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business.

Her ambition allowed her to set a goal to obtain 1 million Black professionals as subscribers for BlackUp.

“It’s not a job that a company employs just because it’s trying to fill an allocation; it’s a deliberate match between a company that uses AI and machine learning and a candidate,” she said. “We believe that when people match a qualified job better, it helps them stay in their job.”

Main Photo: Nate Edwards/BYU

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Emil Flemmon
Emil Flemmon
Èmil Flemmon is an Atlanta-based editor, red carpet interviewer, writer, and photographer, with a career spanning over a decade in the editorial industry. His work has been featured in Kontrol Magazine, The Atlanta Voice, Blavity, Aspire TV, REVOLT, The Jasmine Brand, and Where Y'at Magazine in New Orleans.
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