Record Numbers Turn Out for Localwise Startup Job Fair
Over 1,000 enthusiastic job seekers, showed up on Thursday evening at Berkeley's NextSpace for Localwise's Startup Job Fair. With over 30 startups, 19 partners and 3 organizers – This event was purely a success. NextSpace, a local community outreach accommodated five meet & greet areas including the first when you walked in – Meet our Partners, followed by a Resume Review area inside a bank vault (amazing!), locally made Food & Drinks, an area for professional headshots and of course the main floor where thirty startups were ready and eagerly awaiting a diverse crowd of passionate job seekers. This event collaborated between Localwise, the City of Berkeley's Office Economic Development and NextSpace was focused on one thing - diversity in tech. The fair featured additional services to aid job seekers such as a free resume review and photographers from upstart Passion Projects Productions provided free headshots. Reps from Code Berkeley & Telegraph Academy were also on site to help educate and answer questions pertaining to the job market. Code Berkeley, is one of the first state-funded tech bootcamp in California and is on the leading edge of the digital revolution. Alumni have received positions at top tech companies around the area such as Tesla and board of directors includes executives currently working at places such as Google, SkyCatch, Adobe and many others in the Silicon Valley.
One of the first startups we visited was Black Girls Code – Founder Kimberly Bryant. Kimberly launched Black Girls CODE to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the exploding technology field. Their mission is to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, putting them on a new path to becoming the leaders and creators of tomorrow. With only 3% of African American women earning Bachelor's degrees in computer science – Black Girls CODE envisions a world where girls of color are empowered to become innovators in STEAM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. www.blackgirlscode.com
Kuli Kuli, a food company seemed to be another popular stop for job opportunities – Meet Founder & CMO, Valerie Popelka – Her Mission Statement: Giving Everyone Access to the nutritional power of Moringa. Moringa is a new leafy green superfood more nutritious than kale, an ancient green that has been eaten by indigenous cultures worldwide for thousands of years which can be used to combat malnutrition worldwide. Both nationally and locally distributed, Kuli Kuli is on the road to success. Q: How did you get your first round of seed funding? A: “With friends - we each put in a couple thousand just to test out the concept at farmers markets. After selling out every weekend, we became very excited and said this is a great idea. We wanted to do this on a larger scale. We did a campaign with Indi Go Go and raised over $50k. This allowed us to move over to a food packer and get regional distribution such as Whole Foods and locally Sprouts & Molly Stone. With the next round of funding we were able to raise over $500k. The idea came from Co Founder & Friend Lisa Curtis who was working in West Africa with the Peace Core, teaching women how to cultivate Moringa and add it to what they were already eating to increase their nutrition.” Both teamed up when Lisa came back to the states to make this success story into a reality. www.kulikulifoods.com
One of our last stops for the evening was at the booth of Tyler Santoro, the brand manager of Black Medicine – Iced Coffee, pressure brewed in Oakland. Founder – Chris Cooper with a background in Chemical Engineering fell in love with coffee about 5 years ago. He set out to create a way to make & brew a new type of coffee. He opened a cafe in Oakland and was able to start tinkering around with roasting coffee. By doing so he invented a brew method called, “pressure brewing”. So they brew it hot under nitrogen pressure before cooling it down & bottle it up. Selling it at the cafe, it did so well Chris sold the cafe and started Black Medicine. Self funded, the coffee beans come from all over the world. Roasted and brewed in house in Oakland. Black Medicine is different from their competitors because of their brewing method, where as currently the trend for this is cold brewing. Black Medicine started its facilities in East Oakland in a 2,000 square foot warehouse and now has migrated over to a much larger scale 18,000 square foot warehouse which is opened to the public. Great flavors including: Iced Coffee / Iced Latte / Iced Mocha / Concentrate and Kegs are available. www.blackmedicine.com
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For more information about Localwise and their next event, go to www.localwisejobs.com.