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Kenya’s Sootano Wants to Help End Unemployment Using Mobile Phones

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1422640_212083782304967_687663977_nEveryone is worried about unemployment and everyday thousands who are employed sit in Jav’s (public service vehicles) thinking they are the next to be fired.
Christmas and Jubilee celebrations mean nothing compared to the Kenyan dream, of keeping a job till pension or starting money generating business by the side.
However there is a team of three doing something about it.
Mary Amuti a UX Designer, Joseph Bosire a developer and Morgan Andanyi, a developer and team leader have developed a web based platform that aims to help end unemployment in Kenya. The platform dubbed Sootano (Slang for Ksh 500) is an Online Micro jobs Platform, where users register and post their jobs, other users also register and order the jobs posted. Every task added to the site costs 500/= to be done.
According to the three, “This is a win win for both the job seller and the job buyer. A talented but inexperienced graphic designer can add his Logo design job at sootano.com and a small business owner who wants quality service at a cheaper price can order this service from sootano.com. The Graphic designer gains experience, builds his/her portfolio while the Business owner gets a quality service at a very cheap price.”

They add that their inspiration came to them a few years back, but they sat down to develop the first prototype during the Startup Weekend Nairobi held November 22 this year at Nairobi’s Strathmore University. They say that of the 16 million unemployed in Kenya, Sootano can some of them especially the youths 18-30 to utilise their skills to earn basic income and gain job experience.
To them Sootano.com is a platform for the youth and future employees to connect and earn some income.

How it works

Sootano works simply, a job seller registers freely on www.sootano.com. He or she adds the task or job on the website under a certain category. The job goes live instantly and the job seller waits for a buyer to buy/order the job.

A job seeker or buyer identifies a certain job they can deliver, registers on the portal freely and then orders the job. The job seller will get a notification that the job has been bought. A link will be provided by sootano.com that will enable both the job seller and job buyer to chat, and agree on the specifics of the job.
Once the job seller finishes the job, the job buyer gets a notification that the job has been done.
If the job buyer is happy with the job done, the three will credit the job sellers account and ask the job buyer to rate and review his experience with that job seller. Incase of a dispute, there will be a support system And the job buyer might be refunded his cash if need be.
Though their idea looks new, there are lots of sites and companies job matching tasks to doers and job seekers to employers. Several other outsourcing firms area also present in Kenya but according to the three none of them focus specifically to the Kenyan youth.
We present the whole package, we not only give our fellow youths a source of income, but they will also be creating a portfolio and gaining job experience in the process,” said Andanyi. “We are also providing a great outsourcing avenue for business owners and the public at large. Using our platform you will be able to know which job seller to avoid and which job seller gives you the best quality service. We will be an Online platform that offers high Quality services at way cheaper price than any of our local competition.”
Though they haven’t received any funding, they are hopeful especially after being voted as the top startup at the Startup Weekend Nairobi, hours after starting to build the site.

“Andanyi said they didn’t expect to win at the Startup Weekend Nairobi but he just pitched the idea was surprised that people actually voted for it.
“We formed a team of three, the other teams at the startup had huge numbers, and that was a little bit scary.
We worked on the site during the weekend. Then come Sunday the final presentation and pitch day, one of the team members was sick, I had to create a quick presentation just minutes before my pitching time,” Andanyi said.
“I presented and showcased sootano.com to the judges who I believe liked the idea.
Am glad we won, because it means the judges saw promise in our idea and knew it had great potential.”
Startup Weekend aside, Sootano is competing at the Global Startup Battle with15 Startups which already have 1000+ votes while they only have 69 votes and are asking everyone in Africa to vote for them before December 6.
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Vote for sootano so they can win at the Global Startup Battle. http://startupbattle.agorize.com/en/juries/11/votables/905

 

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakobahttp://techmoran.com
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs  TechMoran.com, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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