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Hong Phuc (HP) Nguyen always expected to be an entrepreneur because she grew up surrounded by female business owners as role models. “If you walk along the street in my hometown in Vietnam, most of the owners, shop runners, even we [who] run the country, run the household, are women,” says Nguyen. But, it wasn’t until she moved to Canada in 2020 and experienced the struggle of landing a permanent job in a new country — despite an MBA and international career experience — that she decided to launch a solution to help newcomers and employers alike in the hiring process.
Two years later, Kibbi, the multilingual job board and app by-and-for newcomers was live. Kibbi tackles numerous barriers newcomers face ranging from location to language. There’s a map feature to see job postings near you if commute is a concern, automatically generated cover letters tailored to individual job descriptions, an “invite to apply” feature that allows employers to seek out candidates, AI-generated language translations of job descriptions and chats, upskilling resources and more.
“Our vision is to imagine a world where anyone, regardless of background, can effortlessly start contributing to and finding a sense of belonging in their new community from day one,” says Nguyen.
In Kibbi’s first nine months, Nguyen raised $895,000 from angel investors and VCs, followed by additional investments from organizations such as Alberta Innovates, The51 and others that brought the total amount to $1.1 million. In 2023, Nguyen was recognized as one of Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Formidable Women Across Alberta and received the Immigrant of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Today, more than 17,500 job seekers and 900 small businesses use Kibbi. This year, Kibbi will expand to more than 30 universities and colleges through a joint venture with Devant.ca, an on-demand, career service portal that helps international students seeking jobs in Canada.