Spotlight on José Bouça of TONNIE Talent

International-ready talent without the hassle

Co-founder of IPBN member company Tonnie Talent José Bouça is currently living in Portugal, having moved from Brazil back to the land his grandfather and previous generations had established their lives. These early family roots have laid the groundwork for José to begin his immigration process, which he has described as “amazing and yet painful.”

With a background in computer science, José was one of 16 original employees in the first talent and technology company he worked for in Latin America, and after 25 years, he became a shareholder as the company grew to 2K employees. He told the IPBN, “I founded Tonnie Talent after I decided to leave my country and saw, after the first year and a half, an opportunity to help people like me to have a structured and safe international journey. My personal life is connected to immigration, so I see a lot of opportunities to work in outsourcing. Lots of companies were fighting for local talent. It was cazy.”

As the network likely knows, crazy is exactly the right word to define the tech scene in Portugal, especially over the last few years. In 2021 the IPBN held remote Investment and Hiring in Portugal Tech Talks that centered around sector experts on the topics of what makes Portugal so special in this area and anecdotes on the fierce competition that Portugal has as a haven for Tech among both those for hire and the companies looking to secure them.  As a follow-up, in 2022 the network further explored the subject in the Algarve at the Algarve Tech Seminar looking at the Algarve as Europe’s Silicon Valley and diving further into how technology is changing business

With all the demand for talent, José noticed there was a shortage of applicants to fill it. “I was trying to hire people from this shallow talent pool. I could help the companies find the best match, find the gaps, and fill them, so I founded TONNIE, which stands for Talent on International Experience because lots of companies struggling with the challenges of reaching out to international talent. There are language barriers and logistic headaches like paperwork, visas, housing, and more. For most talent, there were more problems and fewer solutions to get set up properly and stay with the employer.”

International talent starting new positions often have the added strain of integrating, feeling unsafe, and having only a few points of contact. Misinformation abounds, and therefore TONNIE needed to find the answer to set themselves apart as a cure-all to hiring woes. “We enable companies to hire globally, yet locally. We handle the talent and bring them to the employer as if they are already a citizen. We enable the talent to be international-ready by providing education and logistics, guiding them through bureaucracy, and through post-graduation in business, culture, and tech through a one-year immersive English course, a rehearsal of daily tasks, a cultural fit course in personal and professional life in the European mindset, and tech updates to re-shape and improve their knowledge base.”

TONNIE uses a “MESH (Motivated English Soft and Hard Skills) algorithm” to vet their over one million-strong talent pool before they make the move. According to their MESH score, these applicants are ranked either newbie, potential, or pro, ensuring that only experienced, highly skilled talent progress. 

“We have helped over one thousand people and brought over 100 talents to the European Union, and now, we are ready to scale. We’ve tested the ingredients and are now poised to connect with Irish companies in need of talent on their teams. TONNIE can be the tunnel for companies to grow their teams properly, safely, and accurately. We work with big and boutique brands and are poised to grow fast.”

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