Gene Waddy never envisaged venturing into entrepreneurship whenever he thought of his career trajectory; he had planned to remain an employee and retire after 30 years of service. Like many black folks, his father followed the ’employee’ routine; which influenced Gene’s decision to follow the same route – as he didn’t have a reason to disrupt the flow,
However, after a sudden twist of fate compelled his employers to terminate his employment in 2005, the urge to start his own business became a burning desire.
He had a decade of experience in IT staffing and was good at harnessing relationships to grow businesses. After much introspection, he employed the strategy on his scorecard and began his business, Diversant, in 2005.
Through strategic partnerships and mergers with other staffing firms such as John Goullet’s Info Technologies, by 2010, Diversant had grown into a force to reckon with. According to the business today journal, the staffing firm had expanded from its New Jersey offices to other ten states.
However, Gene could not achieve this huge milestone without engaging entrepreneurs and other experts in the IT field in deep conversations to help him gain an in-depth understanding of what it meant to run a business. He attributes his success over the years to his circle of mentors and advisors who have stood by him through the ups and downs of the business.
Diversant is now regarded as one of the largest African American-owned internet technology staffing firms in the US, as well as one of the most preferred entities for many mid-market and Fortune 500 companies, according to Home Depot. It is one of the very few black-owned firms raking in impressive revenue in the staffing space.
Diversant has also grown due to the massive support many black-owned businesses have been enjoying following the fallout from the Black Lives Matter campaign. Fifty-eight percent of blacks say they believe supporting black businesses is a way of bridging the existing gap created by systemic racism.
The challenge, however, is that black firms still make a fraction of the revenue and market share in the U.S. According to Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data, Black ownership of businesses has since increased from 124,004 in 2017 to 140,918 in 2020.
Gene believes another way of opening up opportunities for Black-owned businesses is the promotion of diversity. The company has been consistent with the recruitment of a diverse and active workforce.
Diversant also has a program for military veterans; offering specialized programs to equip them with IT skills to improve their employability in the tech industry.