matches skills with seekers locally

For many small businesses, finding the right people to create a quality Web site is not a simple task. Typing in Internet Development on any search engine available on the Web can produce hundreds of matches, resulting in countless hours wasted sifting through prospects. Matching Internet professionals and skills seekers is the concept behind Toronto-based

Andrew White, the company’s chief operating officer, said Brainbanx had a lot of trouble finding companies to create its Web site last year.

“There’s no one place to go and find help,” White said. “If you go to Yahoo, for example, and type in ‘Internet developer’ you get something like 45,000 hits. How are you going to find somebody like that?”

White explained businesses to business marketplaces on the Internet are growing in popularity. Upon visiting a few sites, he found most were too general and lacked geographical focus.

“If you are on one of these sites and you say you need Internet development and have $10,000 to spend, you’ll get 100 responses and you’ll be lucky if one of them is from Canada,” White said.

At Brainbanx, White said the decision was made to create a place in Canada, specifically in Toronto, where companies or individuals looking for help can find it easily.

According to the company, Brainbanx acts as an on-line marketplace that matches a network of skilled, experienced Internet professionals with organizations that need them.

“You come to our Web site to find projects or as a skills seeker,” White said. “Brainbanx thought it could capitalize on the trend of outsourcing and capitalize on the trend of (service providers) wanting to work on a more freelance basis. We thought we could leverage the communication powers of the Internet to create a community of these professionals to consolidate all their talent and create a product out of the talent that exists in Toronto.”

According to the company, customers can browse the Brainbanx database and initiate a project at no cost. They can also customize their request for proposal (RFP) and tailor it to their every need.

Ensuring reputable sources is a big concern, White said. He added that anyone registering as a service provider or a skills seeker is evaluated through personal meetings, via telephone interviews and examination of their corporate resume.

“It’s very important to have quality service providers on our Web site, but it’s also important not to waste their time with bogus proposals or projects,” White said, adding that the same screening process is used for Internet developers.

“There are a lot of kids who know how to use Microsoft Front Page, and there are a lot of people who are not Internet professionals that can somehow suggest that they are.”

E.J. George of Doug and Tom Reid Sports ( a hockey equipment supplier in Fort Erie, Ont., recently acquired Brainbanx services to develop the store’s Web site. Reid Sports already had an existing Web site, but was in need of an update to become more focussed in e-retail.

George, having little time and knowledge of the IT arena, contacted Brainbanx for assistance.

“Brainbanx exceeded our expectations,” George said. “We told them our budget and they worked well within it.”

George presented Brainbanx with criteria and information for the site, but otherwise his involvement was minimal. He said Brainbanx constantly kept him up to date on progress, and kept within the original established timeline.

“We are very happy with the results,” George said, adding that Brainbanx provided qualified skills providers to develop a professional Web site for the store.

“People aren’t looking just to say ‘I’ve got a Web site,'” White said. “The Internet is becoming more mature and more sophisticated and is becoming a more intelligent piece of business strategy. (Brainbanx) is more than just a matchmaker. We form a virtual consulting firm and we can provide a lot of strategy, a lot of vision and a lot of advice. The fact that we’re local is very important.”

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