New Student-Focused Job Board, Localwise, aims to strengthen local communities


Imagine a job board that’s perfectly tailored for students. All the jobs are convenient, local, part-time, and most importantly, they’re all paid. Lucky for East Bay students, that job board just launched eight weeks ago. It’s called LocalWise.
“It’s super grassroots right now,” says LocalWise co-founder Ben Hamlin. Hamlin is just arriving from five hours of door-to-door drop-ins with local business owners. According to Hamlin, one of the main differentiators of LocalWise from other job boards is the direct local engagement. “We’ve met literally over 1,000 business owners,” he says.

One of the conditions of LocalWise is that it’s exclusive to postings from local businesses and non-profits. This is because it’s poised to be more than just a job board. For Hamlin, It’s a community building exercise. It’s a movement.
“The way things are going, the world is moving in a direction we aren’t happy with,” says Hamlin. “Places become sterile with no local businesses, and we want to give local businesses a fighting chance.” Local businesses, according to Hamlin, “bring uniqueness to a community.”

“If we vote with our wallet on convenience and price, we’re voting for businesses that are all the same,” says Hamlin. “You’re enriching shareholders of large companies like Target, and they don’t care about the community.”
Hamlin’s love for local businesses began at an early age. Both he and his business partner, Maya Tobias, are children of local business owners. In high school, Hamlin launched his own catering company, and Tobias managed an on-line shop on ETSY where she sold her crafts. They met through Cal’s Social Entreaupreunership MBA program. Guided by a common mission to strengthen communities, they set out to create a streamlined job source with students in mind.

It was last May that they initially began laying out the groundwork for Localwise, and now that it’s launched, their next steps are to get the word out. “It’s probably one of the only job boards with more posted jobs than candidates,” says Hamlin. “If you have any friends looking for a job, tell them about Localwise.”