Client story - Shtudy
Client Name: Geno Miller
Business Name: Shtudy
Industry: Talent placement
Location: Manchester, NH
SBDC Advisor: Andrea O’Brien
If there were a photo next to the definition of “entrepreneurial spirit,” it could probably be that of Geno Miller, co-founder of Shtudy. An article in entrepreneur.com defines the entrepreneurial spirit as “a gift that inspires others to become the best they can be. From passion and positivity to leadership and ambition.” Geno holds all these attributes, but beyond that is his drive to (and it sounds cliché), be the change he wishes to see in the world.
The change is to close the large wealth gap that exists for people of color and the vehicle through which he is doing that is Shtudy. It’s a career matchmaking platform that technically screens, trains and connects top software engineers of color, specifically black, Latinx and Native American young talent, and connects them with companies who are looking to increase diversity, inclusion and equity within their workforces. Think LinkedIn, but for under-represented groups.
Growing up in the DC area, Geno was not exposed to a lot of positivity outside of things like sports and music, and at the age of nine he fell in love with football. He believed that would be his path to eventually supporting himself and a family. His talent and hard work afforded him a great football career that included a full scholarship to the University of New Hampshire (UNH), through which he experienced a whole other world of opportunities he didn’t know were out there.
Grateful for his experiences, Geno asked himself how he could bring those opportunities back to the people he grew up with.
In 2015, he started conceptualizing Shtudy to help those who have amazing skills, but just don’t know how best to showcase them. Wanting to be intentional about how he built this business, he jetted off to California where he interviewed and began to hand pick companies who wanted to hire under-represented talent but didn’t know how to find them.
NH SBDC Business Advisor and Director of the Business Sustainability Program Andrea O’Brien was hooked the minute she heard Geno (a then student at UNH) pitching his business at a business competition.
“She was really grilling me, but I loved the feedback,” says Geno. I like to be told how I can do better.”
Andrea believed Geno was onto something and wanted to help. That’s how she became his business advisor.
Andrea and Geno would sit down together and brainstorm, discussing different insights and sharing knowledge. One challenge was in establishing what Shtudy’s target demographic would be, whether it would be interns, athletes, etc. Research was imperative. When Geno had a hard time hearing back from contacts, Andrea stepped in to contact people in each space.
Geno recalled one example where he had sent a contact about five emails and heard nothing. But, with a little help from Andrea, the connection was finally made.
The other challenge for Geno was understanding that advice is just advice. “Andrea would remind me of that,” comments Geno. “She was very understanding but was 100% committed to helping us reach the next level. I love Andrea to the end of the world.”
Shtudy was officially founded in 2018 and is already making great strides in closing that racial wealth gap and having a real impact on real people.
Geno reflected about a job candidate who at the start of COVID was employed by a start-up that laid off half its workforce, this candidate being one of them. The candidate was a “first-generation” whose family depended on them to bring home the money. In less that one week, Shtudy had an opportunity for them.
The candidate figured what they needed and would likely get paid for the position was in the range of $50 - $60K. Rather, with the help and guidance offered by Shtudy, this candidate was offered the position and locked in making $85K. In just a few short weeks, they went from laid off to working and making more than they were before. Today, the candidate is grateful and loving the job and their employer is happy with them as well. “That’s what keeps me going,” shares Geno.
The future of Shtudy looks, in Geno’s words, “very, very bright.” They are in the process of uploading more e-learning content (around three times what’s there now) and they have candidates who are getting jobs exclusively through their website. Shtudy also looks forward to its public launch in the next three or four months to welcome on more companies and expand the opportunities available to their candidates.
Reflecting on the guidance he received from NH SBDC, Geno shares, “I really appreciated all the help. NH SBDC is a huge resource that a lot of people could be leveraging.”
For software engineering job candidates, Shtudy is placing talent every day. For more information, or to sign up with Shtudy, visit shtudy.co.