|Ashley M. Williams
Rizar means "to ripple" in Spanish. And that's exactly what Ashley M. Williams of Detroit intends to do with her new business: have a ripple effect on the new world of communicators, called content creators.
Having minored in Spanish during college, Williams always loved the language. So she took one of her favorite words,—rizar—and "millennialized" then created an online content marketplace called, RIZZARR. It's where companies go to attract more Millennial and Gen Z buyers by purchasing digital media created by Millennials and Gen Z digital content creators.
"We know that one person can share their ideas online and have a ripple effect around the world," said Williams. "At RIZZARR, we believe that regardless of our age or circumstances, we have the power to make an impact."
RIZZARR was recently contacted by an insurance company seeking to build a younger customer base. They used a content creator on RIZZARR to create a blog and a video for their website and social media presence.
Williams, a former multimedia journalist at USA Today, was trained in broadcast and digital journalism. With RIZZARR, she took these media step farther.
"I was interested in using digital tools to help consumer products market to fellow millennials and Gen Zers more effectively and efficiently," she said. "By using a platform like RIZZARR, companies can cut out traditional advertising and marketing agencies or use it alongside them."
RIZZARR is a tech platform that links companies with freelance content producers, largely in their 20s and 30s. "We deliver content that's produced by the next generation for the next generation."
There is no cost for a content creator to promote his or her work on RIZZARR. But once a company engages that freelancer to produce content, RIZZARR gets up to 60 percent of the freelancer's fee.
RIZZARR has a network of nearly 5,500 freelancers who produce articles, social posts, videos, podcasts and photos for companies to use on their social media accounts, mobile apps, and websites. RIZZARR also conducts market research on Millennial and Gen Z buying habits as well as workplace experiences for corporations, helping them with their consumer reach and human resource efforts.
She is now working with universities to recruit more young communications professionals for her platform. They must apply, be accepted and then they are given sign-up privileges. Williams explained that she pairs corporations and content creators for short-term and long-term projects. Her vision, however, is for corporations to search and find freelancers who meet their needs via RIZZARR's tech platform.
Though RIZZARR focuses on recruiting young professionals, age is not a qualifying factor to participate in the site, Williams said.
"We don't turn people down based on age," she said. "We need mentors too. They can submit content related to life advice. We like hearing from people from other generations."
Williams is proud that in just a few for short years, her company has worked with corporations including JPMorgan Chase, Glassdoor, DTE Energy and First Independence Bank.
In 2019, Williams entered her business into Empower Change MI, a program supported by Ford Motor Company Fund which later became HI-HERImpact. Entrants receive business coaching and leadership development resources, culminating with a pitch competition with financial awards – all designed to help accelerate the number of women-owned businesses and develop the next generation of women social entrepreneurs.
Though she did not win the competition, the coaching and leadership development she received from Michigan Women Forward and Ford Fund has been invaluable, she said.
"In a time when so many women are looking to start companies and make an impact on the world, their efforts are needed now and in the future for our world," Williams said. "My coach not only taught me a lot about how to improve my pitch, she also became a great business coach to me after the competition.
HI-HERImpact is a joint initiative between the Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures to help female social entrepreneurs scale their enterprises in order to increase their impact and long-term sustainability. HERImpact offers educational opportunities, technical assistance, mentoring, coaching, and financial resources, and its Entrepreneurship Summits and Pitch Competitions are designed to build community and provide investment in early and growth stage companies in the region. For more information, visit https://herimpact.net.