Chams Diagne, Talent2Africa: « I enjoy working on innovative projects »

Chams Diagne launched , the first African social network, allowing the linkage between the talents of the Diaspora and African businesses. Thus, it allows companies to more easily find specific profiles and candidates to maximize their chances of finding jobs to match their ambitions.

Chams Diagne is an experienced entrepreneur. He is the founder of Talent2Africa (T2A), which aims to make visible the great career opportunities in Africa, with the talents of the African Diaspora living in the West and eager to return to Africa. « With my 10 years of experience within a social network, I capitalize on the power of networking to encourage members of T2A recommend their contacts with a small financial incentive, which I am sure will never be the main motivation of our members. Thus, members of T2A have two options when they visit career opportunities on the website: they can either apply directly or they can recommend their contacts. Then our HR consultants take over, to interview each candidate in order to retain the best that we present to our customers, « he explains. Aged 42, Chams has a dual nationality: Senegalese and French. « I often say that I was born and I grew up in Senegal, then I have matured in France where I lived half my life. I have « landed » very young for my graduate studies. I had initially opted for shorter studies, a BTS in  international trade allowed me to integrate Microsoft France. Then after a few years, I decided to resume my studies, because I felt that I had more qualifications to be eligible for positions of Management faster. Thus at the end of two years of professional experience, I joined the Institute of distribution management of Lille where I obtained a Master in Management of Distribution that led me to make an internship within the E-Services Branch of La Poste group. At the end of the internship I have been offered a Marketing Manager position, « he said. In 2003, he started his first entrepreneurial experience. « With friends, we created Gateway Communication Interactive, a web agency that has especially allowed us to self-finance, a platform dedicated to contemporary African art. We wanted to « disrupt » the market of contemporary African art, by directly related African artists with buyers without going through middlemen who often tended to practice indecent margins on their backs, « he adds. Chams is a founding member of the professional network Viaduct called today Viadeo. Initially, in 2006, they were only five in the team and Chams handled the Business Development part  in France, then Europe, before taking care of the expansion of the business network in Africa, a project that was born in 2011. « Today, having lived an extraordinary adventure in one of the most successful French web, I look to Africa to share this rich experience in digital recruitment and branding. The common thread of my career so far has been the development of professional platforms with high added value. Indeed, within La Poste group I attended a business e-billing platform. then I co-created, a matchmaking platform for players in contemporary African art, to finally help develop, a professional social network. End of 2015, I launched Talent2Africa the first African social network, allowing the linkage between the talents of the Diaspora and African businesses that often struggle to find specific profiles locally because there are not enough  » he adds.

A professional network focused on Africa

Shams offers services to four types of businesses, such as multinationals operating in Africa, the Pan-African champions, growing SMEs, government agencies. « When I was Director of Viadeo Africa, I observed that general social networks, the type LinkedIn or Viadeo, doesn’t meet precisely the needs of African businesses recruitment. Uses and needs are different, depending on the market, our African customers often criticized us for not making enough efforts to adapt our offer to their needs. After ten years in a social network, I thought that if we wanted things to move in Africa, it had to be us Africans to take initiatives. The goal is to get things done, starting from the real needs observed in the field of innovation. Despite several proposals rather attractive, I chose to work on a social project for Africa, which would allow supply to meet demand more easily. Thus was born Talent2Africa « says Chams Diagne. As founder of the platform ,he ensures that it meets the expectations of users. Thus, we also work to make the platform known both among the  talent in the Diaspora, and among African businesses which, he said, « must change their habits by making the labor market more transparent. » Very concerned about customer satisfaction, he also ensures the good quality of services offered. « Finally, I work on a first fundraising to accelerate the growth of the platform. So I have a role of conductor that I like, even if it is not always easy, because 24 days are not enough … I am an entrepreneur, passionate and sometimes too much  according to my wife. I like to work on innovative projects, because I am driven by one goal: to develop projects that can have a positive social impact on Africa. I am very demanding with respect to myself, « he added. Unique shareholder of his company at this stage, however, he likes challenges. « I love sharing experiences, which, for me, is the main motivation to host conferences. My goal during my interventions is to create a connection with my audience. My interpersonal skills and listening help me a lot, « he says. Sharing is a term that perfectly defines the spirit of Chams. Since he left Senegal in the 1990s to study, he aims to return to share what they have learned in the West. « In all my years in France, I always thought I had to find a way to do something for Africa. » In the long term, Chams wants Talent2Africa to  evolve  in order to provide the operational management to a trusted person. Thus, he will benefit from more time to devote to other projects: high added -value projects in the direction of Africa, which ,as he points out so well: « offers  huge opportunities ».


By Darine Habchi

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