Rinku Razdan is the Founder and CEO of Connections Australia, a new on-boarding platform for migrants.
It connects migrants to communities, jobs, training and social events, bringing all the information together in one cool app. She’s passionate about helping other migrants settle in quicker into their adopted country.
I spoke to Rinku about how she developed this app, the challenges she faced and how she feels about the app’s future.
Q. How did you get the idea for Connections Australia?
It’s inspired by my personal story. I walked out of a marriage 16 years ago with my 3-year-old son with only 20 dollars in my pocket.
I started with nothing and built my life up to what it is now. I didn’t have any family here or a support network. It’s a daunting feeling! That’s one of the main reasons I worked as a migration ambassador for some time, I didn’t want others to go through what I went through.
I’ve always wanted to give back to the community and initially helping women was the focus of this app. But when I started meeting more people from various communities, I realised that the challenge of settling into a new country is significantly larger than anyone understands or recognises. That’s where Connections Australia comes in.
Q. Why did you choose to develop an app and not, for example, an event?
Anything to do with technology gives you acceleration because it doesn’t have a start or end date like programs or events.
I wanted to build something that’s sustainable and scalable, something that could be rolled out to other countries too, not just Australia. Building an app came naturally to me because of my personal experience and background as a tech consultant.
The content on the app is human centric – it’s been developed in consultation with migrant communities. They told us what kind of information they needed, and we included it in the app. Plus my team is made of people from diverse cultural backgrounds – Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Australian, English and Spanish. We are all migrants and personally invested in making it work.
Q. Please tell us how the app works
It’s basically a one-stop multilingual platform for anyone moving to a new city or a new country.
There are three key services [presented as tiles] that we provide to users – Life, Careers and Community.
Life connects you to the information you need immediately such as how to get your Medicare card, how to get your driving license, how to navigate from point A to point B, how Australian banking works etc.
Careers connects you to employers looking for candidates that match skills and qualifications and availability, hence removing conscious or unconscious bias.
Community matches migrants instantly to people within their specific communities. If you’re looking for someone of Chinese background, you simply click on Chinese and it’ll connect you to the community where they live, where they hang out in different states, upcoming events in the community among other things.
Connections Australia is your one-stop platform helping you settle and adopt a new country and home as quickly as possible.
Q. What challenges did you face in getting the app off the ground?
I’ve built the app using my own money, I didn’t receive any funding for it. It’s also a new concept, we are providing a free service for employers so there’s no money coming in from it either.
’m hoping someone will be interested to fund us going forward because this app is essential in migrant communities.
Because it’s such a new concept, large organisations are finding it difficult to get their processes synced with the app.
It’s a time-consuming process educating them about the benefits of listing jobs with us.
Q. Finally, what is your top tip for migrants in Australia?
Openly embrace your adopted country, if you’ve made a conscious decision to move to a new country. It’s good that you’re holding onto your culture and rituals but be open to what the new country is offering you and your family.
You have to find that fine balance between what you left behind and what’s facing you presently.