Karima-Catherine Goundiam, Founder of B2BeeMatch.com & CEO of Red Dot Digital Inc.
Since Covid, the focus on Black and Brilliant individuals and businesses has increased, but it is still far from what it should be. In a new evolution of the Black and Brilliant Advocacy Network we spotlight individuals and businesses within our network we believe more people should get to know about… Get To Know Profiles…is an intimate interview series. We get (virtually) up close and personal to explore their path to self-confidence and success and the power of diversity in creativity and company success. Each profile includes imagery shot through their own lens. Get To Know Profiles present the compelling personalities behind the companies in a new or never seen light — one that illuminates their own journey, dreams, and desires while highlighting their uniqueness in the marketplace.
B&B: Can you, first of all, tell us about B2Bee & Red Digital and what it does?
KCG: What is Red Dot Digital?
Red Dot Digital is my digital strategy and management consulting firm. We support companies as they undertake digital transformation. So we perform a digital audit and then, based on what we find and based on the client’s goals, we create a customized digital strategy that delivers results. We look at all the relevant aspects: people, process, technology, data.
It’s a business matchmaking platform, designed especially, but not only, for small and medium businesses. Kind of like online dating, but for businesses.
That means if your business is seeking new clients, we’ll match you with organizations looking to hire.
If you have a business looking for services, whether for a short-term project or a longer collaboration, we’ll match you with professional service providers.
B&B: What is your background, and how did that lead to you becoming an entrepreneur?
KCG: After building up a background in the field of digital within corporate, I worked at Deloitte where I was leading social and digital for Ford, I noticed some things that were missing, and they inspired me to found Red Dot Digital
- Accountability for success. In the agency world, I found people were too comfortable with the status quo.
- Blatant lack of diversity—and people were comfortable with that too. Comfortable talking about it and not doing anything meaningful.
B2BeeMatch.com was launched in February, because with Red Dot I learned how hard it is to build and scale up a small business, especially in terms of international expansion.
- How do I meet not just more people, but qualified people?
- Get quality leads?
- Find collaborators?
- Get funding?
Those are the problems I am trying to solve for SMEs. I saw the gap and am filling it by creating the B2BeeMatch platform.
B&B: What inspired you to start both companies and what do you hope it accomplishes?
KCG: In my career, I’ve worked in various industries and at different levels – Bell, Novartis, Cirque du Soleil, legal firms, KPMG, Deloitte, Ford. Also, I had been working in corporate leading digital for a few years and I’ve seen the good and the bad within organizations. I managed a lot of the digital programs at Deloitte, then moved to lead key programs for Ford.
So, in those 20 years, I saw a lot of BS in the industry. Firms charging clients for nonsense. Inefficiency, lack of accountability, and lots of inability to make decisions.
I felt I could bring in a different perspective and voice and a different narrative to the industry and more importantly, to clients. My initial focus was to help SMEs. So that’s why I founded Red Dot in 2014.
Because of all my work with SMEs, more recently, I started to see the need for a platform that would help SMEs connect so they could work with and for each other. SMEs are so agile and innovative, but we don’t always have the networking capacity or resources of big companies. I wanted to make it easier for us to find each other and meet each other’s needs. That’s why I created B2BeeMatch. And then COVID arrived, and suddenly the need for digital connection became even more urgent.
B&B: What hurdles did you overcome to become a Black woman business leader and how did you do it?
KCG: I’m not sure I’ve overcome the challenges. I’m in the trenches. I’ve built experience, I’ve succeeded, but I’m still struggling more than my peers and presented with fewer opportunities than my peers, even when I work harder than them. We’re making progress, but we haven’t solved anything yet.
B&B: What do you think makes B2Bee different from its competitors?
KCG: Currently there is no other platform on the market that does business matchmaking for small and medium businesses. Our approach is totally unique! B2BeeMatch is like an online dating platform for companies.
B&B: How do you keep innovative and fresh?
KCG: The nature of what I do is pure innovation, and we are constantly in motion, so it would be difficult not to be fresh.
B&B: Where do you see your industry going over the next 5 years?
KCG: The tech industry moves so quickly and surprises us on a regular basis. Mostly I hope it gains stronger ethics and that it becomes more human-centric.
B&B: What are the biggest risks you have taken in your career and do you think your outcome would be different if you were a man or not Black or Brown.
KCG: Everything would be different. But would I have the same hunger, the same drive, the same resilience? I don’t know. These things have shaped me, though of course, I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. So I’d rather enjoy being me than try to be someone else. I am a risk-taker by nature, I’ve done most things with zero guarantees and risk is how I thrive.
B&B: Where do you find your creative inspiration?
KCG: I’m creative everywhere. It’s part of my DNA. I don’t think about it as something for which I need to draw inspiration from elsewhere.
B&B: You wear a lot of hats both professionally and personally, how do you balance all of these dimensions of your life?
KCG: I’m a multitasker and a planner and a project manager, I look at things a few steps ahead. I also don’t aim to find a balance per se, I just do things based on what’s on my plate. I look for solutions.
B&B: What has been the biggest impact on your business – Me Too Movement, Covid-19 or Black Lives Matter?
KCG: For me, both BLM and COVID-19 have had positive impacts. BLM finally brought attention to all forms of injustice and discrimination, from police violence to the business world. It hasn’t solved things, but it has given allies permission to come forward and be more supportive and has made space for more frank conversation in business circles about lack of diversity, so it’s been a good start. And the sudden major shift to digital under COVID has made people understand what I do, my business model, and so on, so I’ve had a lot fewer repetitive questions to answer. #MeToo hasn’t really affected me in a direct way.
B&B: If you met a 10-year-old KC Goundiam today – what would you say to her and what advice would you give her if any?
KCG: I would have told her to do exactly what I’m doing. Stay passionate and keep not listening to people who mean well and think they’re giving you great advice but aren’t. Just do your thing and you’ll get there.