Konexio trains vulnerable groups (refugees, disadvantaged youth) in digital skills to promote skills development and access to employment.

Photo of Jean Guo
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Written by


  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Jean Guo

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • France

Where are you making a difference?

IDEM + Malawi

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.facebook.com/konexio.eu/ https://twitter.com/Konexio_eu https://www.linkedin.com/company/konexio https://www.instagram.com/konexio_eu/?hl=fr https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqXo4Vldspm69Vx-qt8L-yw

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways) 

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $500k - $1m

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Konexio’s CEO Jean Guo first came to Paris as a Fulbright scholar researching migrant health. She was motivated to launch Konexio based on her personal journey as a child of the immigrant experience. She defined 3 key barriers to integration in France: lack of language, education and professional certification , and a professional network. To overcome these barriers, Jean developed a digital skills curriculum that includes language learning, globally recognized digital competency standards, and networking through mentorship and workshops to create job opportunities. Today, this curriculum forms the backbone of Konexio’s programs, which address specific integration barriers for refugees and migrants as well as disadvantaged youth.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Refugees take up to 20 years to reach the same employment levels as nationals, and disadvantaged youth in France experience unemployment rates of 20%, over twice the national average. Meanwhile 90% of jobs require a basic level of digital literacy, leaving behind the 1.2 million people impacted by digital transformation in the past 10 years. Without a digital skill set, there is no access to stable, dignified employment.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Konexio equips unemployed refugees and youths with the digital skill sets demanded by the labor market. 42% of companies report that positions remain open because of a lack of digitally skilled talent. By training vulnerable groups in digital skills, Konexio fills the market need for workers with digital skills. Bridging the digital divide ensures long-term employability in a job market projected to see 55% growth in jobs requiring technical skills by 2030. Meanwhile, non-technical jobs will decline 15% in the same period. The future of work is digital, and Konexio opens the door to refugees and unemployed youth who would not otherwise have the skills to access digitally-dependent jobs. Course levels range from Digital Basics, which teaches essential skills such as computer usage, internet navigation, and Microsoft Suite, to DigiTous Full Stack, which teaches a skill set sufficient for an entry-level web developer position. Konexio also supports trainees by providing soft skills and language training. Once trainees complete courses, they can earn EU-recognized certification and work placements, overcoming systemic hiring bias and creating sustainable and consistent income.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Konexio’s approach addresses the specific needs of our target population, with a laser focus on gaining employment. Connecting trainees to jobs is our first KPI. Konexio works closely with the private sector, so that trainees gain real-world experience, develop soft skills, and build professional networks. For example, Konexio co-created workshops with Salesforce and SAP, where company employees work directly with Konexio trainees. In another instance, Konexio is piloting a program in a refugee camp of over 40,000 people in Dzaleka, Malawi, that fast-tracks trainees to gain digital employment via online freelancing. Accessing income through remote work has the potential to drastically uplift refugees in Malawi, who have no right to work.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

The future of work will depend on digital skills. McKinsey reports that by 2030, over 75 million people will need to change jobs due to technological progress. Even now, EU demand for digitally skilled talent is skyrocketing. In this context, Konexio trains society’s most vulnerable populations in these highly demanded digital skills. Courses teach hard digital skills at a range of levels, from basic computer usage to Full Stack web development. In addition, Konexio partners with leading companies such as Salesforce and SAP to host workshops for trainees to practice soft skills essential to professional success. Once trainees complete courses, Konexio offers direct work placement through this network of partner companies. We also aim to implement funding arrangements like the POEI (in partnership with Pôle Emploi), which ensures employment for our trainees at the end of their training.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Konexio focuses on fostering digital skills essential to any job, including computer usage, internet navigation, email, and Microsoft Suite. Konexio supports these hard digital skills with holistic training in soft skills, language, and networking. We measure success rates for these objectives using different quantitative and qualitative methods, including attendance sheets, trainer evaluation of students, post-course student interviews, and student surveys. Impact measurement occurs monthly. A standard three-month course is evaluated at three stages: T0, T1, and T6.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Existing programs are either multi-year (e.g. Epitech), excluding individuals who need more immediate employment; expensive (e.g. Le Wagon); or not adapted to trainees facing language barriers and other vulnerabilities (e.g. Simplon), and who first require a mastering of digital basics. Many programs focus only on either soft or hard skills and do not address hiring discrimination against non-traditional candidates. In contrast, Konexio offers short and free training programs, with a focus on soft skills and language training, and overcomes hiring biases through its corporate partnerships.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since 2016, Konexio has taught 650 trainees, with a 80% rate of course completion. Konexio has also engaged 52,000+ hours of volunteer work and over 300 public, private, and associative partners. Of the former trainees we surveyed, 72% have since found jobs, started their own entrepreneurial projects, or enrolled in further education. 90% say they’ve gained valuable digital skills that they use on a daily basis, and 95% feel more integrated in their communities and in society in general.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our funding consists of public grants (Ministry of Labor, Pôle Emploi, City of Paris, DASES, DRJSCS, Est Ensemble, GEN, Paris Code) and private funds (Bouygues Telecom, Air Liquide, SAP, Google, etc.). At the same time, we want to work and develop our self-financing capacity to perpetuate our economic model. This will involve, on the one hand, the implementation of arrangements for funding vocational training through public (Pôle Emploi, OPCO) and private (companies hiring our students as interns) actors, and, on the other hand, the development of service provision with public and private clients.

10. Team

Our team has 7 employees: Jean Guo, CEO, Elsa Feder, development and partnership manager, François Dabin, director of operations, Agathe Roujou, DigiTous project manager, Morgane Mariere, office manager, Denis Robert and Jénaic Cambre, educational instructors. This team is supported by several interns and civic services. We are looking to grow, with the recruitment of a communications manager and other positions.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Ethnic group
  • Status as a migrant

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Jean first discovered her passion for empowering others in high school, when she joined Amnesty International to aid refugees impacted by the Darfur crisis. While studying economics and human biology in college, she immersed herself in experiences investigating healthcare access in rural China, Uganda, and France. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked to assess healthcare access and rights for France’s migrant populations at the Paris School of Economics, and founded Konexio.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges  

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

Konexio focuses outreach in vulnerable and non-integrated neighborhoods, where beneficiaries first hear about Konxio via social services, community nonprofits, and word of mouth. Once placed in an appropriate level, trainees attend classes on either weeknights or weekends, with a student-teacher ratio of 10:2. Classroom volunteers also support students individually. Outside of class, students access course materials via mobile phones for additional review and practice, adding up to a personalized and accessible learning experience. Students also participate in soft skills workshops, networking events, and mentorship sessions co-hosted by Konexio’s corporate partners. Upon course completion, trainees take certifying exams or are placed in apprenticeships, the final step in professional integration. Many students return as graduates to support Konexio’s next cohort of incoming trainees.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Planning & Strategy
  • Program Design
  • Board Development
  • Staff Development
  • Brand Development
  • Multimedia

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Individual donations or gifts: 4%

Foundation or NGO grants: 16%

Bequests: 0%

Corporate contributions: 49%

Grants or contracts: 31%

Earned income (product or services sales, licensing, franchising, consulting, financing, etc.): 0%

Other: 0%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

We aim to fund our program through multiple types of funding - including grants (40%), corporate donations (40%), and government contracts (20%) for the certified blocks of the program (which a small portion of our beneficiaries are eligible for). Our general budget for general operations vs. programmatic funding is 85%/15%. Amongst our programs, the funding breakdown for 2020 is as follows for our programs: 38% DigiTous 36% Digital 12% Soft skills 10% Malawi 4% Other programs (Parcours Avenir Jeunes, etc.)

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

With a current waitlist of over 300 students, Konexio is scaling by growing the Paris team, which directly increases the number of courses Konexio offers. We will also duplicate the Paris programs in other high-needs cities such as Nantes, Bordeaux, and Lille, all of which contain a high percentage of Konexio’s target beneficiaries. Governments in these cities have expressed both the need for Konexio’s programs and opportunities for partial funding. In Malawi, Konexio is scaling through a partnership model, in which Konexio collaborates with an established NGO to offer digital skills classes.

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

Konexio gives beneficiaries long-term financial stability through workforce integration, creating changemakers on several levels. Firstly, beneficiaries affect workplace change by normalizing minorities. Secondly, having financial stability and self-reliance breaks cycles of poverty and supports health and well-being, allowing beneficiaries to better care for themselves and their families, set long-term goals, and invest in their communities. This is especially true in Malawi, where Konexio’s program is one of the first of its kind to connect trainees directly with job opportunities.

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Winner, Google Impact Challenge (2019)

Winner, Vivatech Tech4good Prize (2019)

Winner, 2nd and 3rd seasons, Paris Code (2018, 2019)

Winner, Global Final Round: Quick Pitch Prize, Global Social Venture Competition (2018)

Finalist, Social Innovation Tournament, European Investment Bank (2018)

Semi-finalist, Social Innovation Tournament, European Commission (2018)

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

Company partners provide a “real-world” component to trainees’ educations through workshops, mentoring and apprenticeships. Growing this partner network helps us scale, since each partnership represents higher trainee capacity. In Malawi, Konexio runs programs jointly with established NGO partners, increasing efficiency and allowing for faster launches. Future programs targeting refugee camps will follow the same model, in which Konexio collaborates with existing nonprofits.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.


Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 66.7%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 33.3%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 33.3%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 33.3%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 100%

Other option - 0%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Nazma Akter

It is a nice initiative for the refugees, disadvantaged youth! Surely they will be benefited from the good work!