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What: Job site for low-wage workers
Who: Eli Portnoy of HireWorkers.com
Where: New York City
When: Started in 2005
Most people search for jobs online. But Eli Portnoy saw that many people, especially immigrants, look for jobs the old-fashioned way. "I had a lot of friends and acquaintances who immigrated from Latin American countries or didn't have access to the internet," says Portnoy, 25. "They couldn't find work, so they were going door-to-door and using classifieds."
A Mexican-born immigrant himself, Portnoy started HireWorkers.com. Job-seekers fill out their background information and job experience online or on postcards distributed in thousands of retail locations. HireWorkers.com then takes their information and matches them with jobs that employers post on the site. The system automatically places an outbound telephone call to the appropriate candidates. It's free for job-seekers, and Portnoy says his automated system lets him charge the employers less than his competitors do.
Portnoy started the company from home with money from friends and family. He worked with outside developers to create the telephone program, and after six months, he expanded into an office in New York City. While his sales team pitched the site to local employers, word-of-mouth helped bring attention from local communities. Now with offices in New York City and Colombia, the service is also available for the Los Angeles market, and Portnoy is looking to expand to other major cities across the country, with 2007 sales projected at nearly $2 million.
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