Interviews with purpose-driven leaders who are making a meaningful impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m Enrique Yervez and I’m one of the founders of iWorker, a socially-minded hiring agency that connects remote professionals from countries in crisis, primarily from Venezuela, with companies in North America and beyond who need help with some aspect of their business.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I’m a Venezuelan public accountant living in Argentina. Prior to moving to Argentina, I was a manager of 200+ employees at a major hotel on the Venezuelan island of Margarita. But due to hyperinflation, I quit that job in order to look for better opportunities working online as a virtual assistant. In 2018, I moved to Argentina with my wife where I combined forces with two North American entrepreneurs to launch iWorker, hoping to provide other Venezuelans opportunities to find life-changing work online as I had.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
In Venezuela, nearly 90% of the population lives in poverty and faces regular shortages of food and medicine. Well-paying jobs have become a rarity. Consequently, nearly five million Venezuelans have fled the country and I am one of these. In 2018, I left Venezuela with my pregnant wife to move to Argentina. With a daughter on the way and hyperinflation hovering around 1,000,000% per year, we knew we couldn’t raise her back home where job opportunities are non-existent and violent crime is through the roof. I am passionate about giving Venezuelans the power to tap into the global economy by working online so that they can earn and save in USD and thereby better support themselves and their families.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
iWorker has helped improve the lives of 1,500 Venezuelans to date since we have hired around 300 people from Venezuela and on average they support four other family members with the income they earn. Many of these workers have been able to start families, have enough savings to move to a neighboring country, pay their university fees, gain critical digital skills, and significantly increase their buying power.
Empowering women has also been a major priority for iWorker and we specifically seek out talented, English-speaking women in our recruitment search. As a result, nearly 60% of our Venezuelan workforce are women. This is a step in the right direction to reducing the economic and social inequities that many Venezuelan women face.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
The growing movement of impact-driven companies like Samasource is an inspiration to us. Like them, we strive to use employment creation to make a positive social impact in countries in crisis.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I would like to see more Venezuelans empowered to move beyond the current crisis and to live financially secure lives with the sense of safety and stability that we all deserve as human beings.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
Occasionally unstable access to electricity in Venezuela is the main challenge we face. iWorker addresses this issue with clients and workers upfront, though, establishing realistic expectations with clients and having procedures in place for workers to follow. As a result, clients are generally understanding and workers are usually able to make it work just fine since power outages are relatively infrequent and most don’t last for more than a few hours.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
One of the key differences between iWorker and other online work opportunities is the level of stability we offer. Most freelancing alternatives are “gig-based” and short-term but iWorker seeks out clients looking for longer-term engagements. In fact, some workers have been with their iWorker clients for over two years and counting. So creating stability for our workforce is very important to us. For instance, when a worker loses a client or wants additional hours, iWorker can typically place them with a new client within a matter of days.
By providing access to stable work online, Venezuelans can make a steady income from home, avoiding the need to flee the country and eliminating the risk of being robbed or assaulted when commuting to an in-person job. If a worker does decide to leave Venezuela, they can build up savings and have the job security they need to afford decent housing and medical care once they arrive at their destination.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Tolstoy
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Businesses or entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their team, reduce busywork, or get the help of a virtual assistant should reach out to us at iworker.co and we can connect them with a talented, English-speaking worker from Venezuela. We’ll be able to find them a remote professional to assist in areas like customer service, graphic design, copywriting, data entry, and social media, and they’ll, in turn, be generating a significant social impact for that worker and their family.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations helps purpose-driven businesses increase awareness and become sought-after for their work and expertise. We believe those who are working to make a difference in the world deserve to be known, supported, and celebrated. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.