SEP. 23, 2019

NI tech start-up to help upskill US workforce with new funding

Niamh Campbell

Belfast-based start-up, Upskill Enterprise has announced its first round of pre-seed funding, which will enable the company to deliver the first functional release of its tech product “Talent Sensus”.

The purpose of “Talent Sensus” is to give small-to medium-size employers an affordable way to analyze their workforce, while levelling the playing field with larger companies, according to the tech firm.

The company’s flagship online platform is launching in Benton Harbor, Michigan and within six other US States over the next six months. This will be through their local partner Kinexus.

Upskill has also created four new jobs, including its first US-based employee in Dallas, Texas. The pre-seed raise of £160,000 will additionally be used to expand their operation in the US and Northern Ireland, using its financial returns and market traction to secure seed funding in the range of $500.000.

The start-up established their US entity in February 2019. This was following support of their Chair, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training for the US Department of Labor.

Upskill plans to work directly with the US Federal and State Government, Workforce Boards, Business Chambers and Educationalists to set the right skills agenda for the future of work.

Stephen Rice, CEO of Upskill Enterprise featured on Northern Ireland’s “40 Under 40” list this year, and was selected as a finalist in the RBS Entrepreneur Awards as NI Disruptor of the Year.

He commented on how the implementation of technology is changing the nature of jobs and work, “faster than most of us anticipated. Business, economic, and community growth depends, in large part, on the talent and agility of the people residing in regional areas.

“For these reasons alone, it is increasingly important for businesses to play a leadership role in supporting their employees through up-skilling, for employees to embrace lifelong learning, and for governments to create an environment to enable business and employees to sustain such efforts.”

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