Set to launch later in 2018, Connections is an app developed to empower migrants in Australia to set up valuable connections – an idea conceived by Rinku Razdan, an Australian migrant herself. Hitting Google Play soon, Connections' goal is to create an easy-to-use, accessible platform for migrant and refugee onboarding into the country.
The app provides information and "how to's" to help migrants settle into their new life, matches individuals' skills, availability and location with jobs, and helps migrants and refugees meet new friends and build communities. The app is aimed at helping those starting a new chapter in their lives to feel less alone and provide them with the tools to create fulfilling, rich lives in a strange new place.
Ahead of her presentation at the Digital Strategy Innovation Summit in Sydney, Innovation Enterprise sat down with Rinku Razdan, CEO and founder of the Connections app, to talk about digital strategy and the challenges of being a female founder:
Innovation Enterprise: As a female founder, what sort of challenges have you faced when developing your company from the ground up?
Rinku Razdan: As a female in a corporate world, you face challenges at every corner.
We need to work harder and prove ourselves better than others to be treated equal. As a female founder, single mother and migrant with no family in Australia, driving a social enterprise has certainly not been easy. You are faced with various types of judgement, challenged at your ability, regarded as someone who will require a lot of help and considered for failure from get go.
Not only I am navigating my own way in a country that I am still adopting, but I am funding the entire venture, determined to drive a difference and to make way for others to follow. Wouldn't it be nice for others to acknowledge that, if one migrant can achieve so much in 12 months, what more female migrants do with a little help?
IE: How has the rise of integrated digital partnerships changed startup strategy? Have digital partnerships played a big part in your company's growth?
RR: Absolutely! This world is more connected and convenient due to rise of digital. What would take days can now be achieved in minutes at your fingertips. If not for the digital revolution, Connections could not have even dreamt of helping millions of people moving to a new country.
This experience has previously remained a scattered, find-your-own-way approach. I believe that Connections is a game changer: Australia's first data-driven mobile app not only connecting migrants but also businesses and other service providers in creating an inclusive community. If not for digital partnerships, acceleration of value and problem solving at a global scale would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
IE: After all the negative press this year, will social media continue to be vital to digital strategy? If not, what do you predict will take its place?
RR: Where there is a reward, there is a risk.
I would like to focus more on rewards than mulling over risks. Yes, there may be concerns with data privacy, but in an ever-growing and ever-changing world, imperfection needs to be accepted. Anything new that adds value needs to be tested, refined and tested again... that's the only way to continuously improve.
With all the focus on Facebook, people forget that migrants like me can only stay connected with our loved ones through social channels. Just being able to see them, their pictures and their continuous updates makes us feel closer to home, even if we are far away.
IE: What do the next five years look like for your company?
RR: We are going through very exciting times! We are in the process of consolidating some significant partnerships which will provide the right acceleration to launch the product shortly. Our next five years include consolidating our market position in Australia to become "the on-boarding platform" for anyone coming into this country and scaling to other countries.
Every country has new arrivals, some more skilled than others, but everyone requires some amount of support!