Project STARFISH | Global

Project STARFISH | Global: A socio-economic model creating employment by empowering blind/disabled globally

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Millions of disabled people are talented, yet do not get opportunities to get back to the workforce, and create business value resulting into economic independence. We virtually train, create a workforce and deploy them as workers with small businesses who need part-time, on demand skilled workers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Millions of disabled people who are talented, yet poor could find an inclusive platform for work opportunities to learn, earn and grow creating economic independence?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are two problems: 1. Millions of emerging companies ( 60% of a countries economy) fail to generate money because they lack simple skilled hands to execute. 2. Millions of disabled people, are talented yet do not get inclusive opportunities to work. The impact of both problems are : Monetary :Billions of dollars are lost due to both. Social :Families and lives are lost because poverty and disability are connected.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

A new socio-economic virtual model 1. Find emerging businesses, speak to them and develop the need for part-time skills. 2. Find talented disabled workers, train them on 7 kind of contemporary skills that emerging businesses need ( sales /mktg/social/operations/business research/analysis etc) 3. Engage workers and share resources with businesses , manage the relationships and expectations. Impact: a. Disabled people are empowered and included in society and business. b. Business get affordable resources ( because its shared) to generate money. c. Creates new Jobs, strengthening the economy. d. Work is from home, thus model can scale cities, states and countries. e. The model works,We executed it in 5 countries
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Here is where we stand after 1 year: 1. Trained : 44 blind individuals, in 5 countries ( US/ Canada /Australia /India/ UK) , via phone, skype etc. 2. Retained : 80% till date 3. Part-time employment : 30 people , 70% self employed. 4. Full time employment : 3 people 5. Skills developed : Sales , Marketing, Social Media, Business research/analysis, Project Management, appointment setting. 6. Businesses worked with : 36 , out of which 5 are International from 4 countries. 2 of them are Harvard University startups. 7. Income generated by Blind professionals : $21,800 , paid to professionals directly. Org or Entity doesn't make money. 8.Total part-time jobs created ( Job is a specific project , per month) : over 150

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

First of all , there is hardly a platform that teaches, empowers, creates opportunities, engages, manages and ultimately that is scalable, repeatable, cost effective. Second, very few people in the world understand businesses and disability both. We are unique. We have the passion, the drive, the mindset and biggest of all impact driven. We don't talk, we do. We invest our own money and time, we don't look for handouts, charity or sympathy. The impact is highlighted in the above section ( Under Example ) with statistics, but we have created a training, inclusive engagement, empowerment program that brings in disabled people and turns them into smart workers. The model is virtual and scales across people, cities, countries and continents as long they have a computer, a phone and the Internet. People generate their own income. Charity is never sustainable. Our model is!

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Business impact : Working with thousands ( if not millions) of small/ emerging business worldwide. Social Impact : Thousands of disabled professionals find opportunities. They feel there is hope in their lives. The goal is to create a workforce in all countries in the world to provide services and provide access to global markets. No company does that, yet. We also want to create millions of jobs by making them smart business researchers. Data is Oil, it can be extracted, sold and monetized. Disabled people will find millions of jobs with this model, Globally.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Note - Individuals earn money by working with Business directly. The organization is supported by us, from our own money. Financial plan: 1. deliver cutting edge research to big corporations. 2. Donations from the business ecosystem we create. 3. Employment trainings provided to groups supported by Govt. ( Billions spent here) 4. Other services sold. Yes, we want to be a Million dollar company by Jan 1, 2016, and Billion in 20 year.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Frankly we wish there was another organization doing what we do! There are others who open call centers, or basically have contracts that subcontract work to disabled people, but what is missing is a complete, end to end sustainable system. The world doesn't have it. If there is one that is designed for disabled people globally, show me, I will pay a Million dollars.

Founding Story

If there is an Aha! moment, it was painful. At a job fair for the blind, which attracted sharp blind professionals to meet 30 employers, none of them found a job! A closer look showed the employers actually wanted to participate and share information about the company, but had no intent to recruit! That day we felt their pain, because the blind were pretty heart broken. One of them said " if only I could get one opportunity". That was the Aha! It wasn't jobs, it was about opportunities, and do that we had to create a new socio-economic model, a platform that solves the root causes. We spent a year perfecting the model, and then knocked doors to find people. It was tough rolling out a new idea. At the end persistence wins.


Sunish Gupta , MBA MIT and Harvard Business School Bob Hachey , MBA Umass Boston Amanda Berkley , MBA Tarlton ( Co founder ) Note all above are blind.
About You
Project STARFISH | America
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name

Project STARFISH | America

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, GLOBAL, Global

Country where this project is creating social impact

United States, MA, Global/Virtual

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?



Opportunities for Women, Inclusive Business.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

We have two sides, a demand side and a supply side. The demand side is Startups, emerging businesses who need part-time, on demand talent and a global workforce. On the other side we have unemployed blind/disabled/women who are IT savvy, willing to work, but need opportunities.

We train and empower the unemployed on skills that emerging businesses need through an experiential, opportunity and engagement platform creating a global shared workforce working together to create jobs/opportunities. A win-win

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

There is a need to understand the model a little better, since no one has done this globally.

Emerging businesses need talent, but part-time to generate money. The skills are sales/marketing/soc media/ content writing/ business research/analysis/ operations and appointment setting. They need multiple skills working together in a coordinated manner but it needs to be affordable.

On the other side, there exists a global group of people like blind/disabled/veterans/women who have IT skills, have education, but dont have opportunities but want to work and gain economic independence.

The prize money will go towards : Technology / Infrastructure/ Training/ Marketing/ Publicity to expand both sides.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

We are no bare bones startup, and for professional experience please lookup my Linkedin Profile.

1. 44 blind people, in 5 countries.
2. 70% plus made an income
3. Engaged with 35 businesses , 20% global.
4. Working with 3 Harvard Univ startups.
5. We generate money, creating business impact and social impact- thus sustainable.

No one has done what we have done before.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?


Will you require a visa to enter the UK?


Are you are a current Unilever employee?