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CEO Weekends: Wants to Disrupt Tanzania’s Blue Collar Recruitment Sector

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Tanzania’s Nikweli, a mobile-to-web job matching platform that connects employers and job seekers for lower skill, “blue collar” type positions aims to bring simplicity to recruitment in Tanzania.

Founded in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, April 2014 by Agnieszka Łyniewska and Tiffany Tong, Nikweli allows job seekers to register their standardized professional details through SMS and employers search and compile candidates online with a click.

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“We control quality of the database. We aim to expand reach, reduce cost and time, and bring more transparency for employers and job seekers alike,” Łyniewska who worked as a private sector development economist at the World Bank in Tanzania and as a strategy consultant in London and Spain and also finishing her MBA at London Business School tells TechMoran.

As part of the DEMO Africa 40, Nikweli was founded to solve a need.

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We were attracted to this problem because we have worked looking at this problem from a policy level and on the ground, from a job seeker and employer perspective. There seems to be a large mismatch in the market which can be tapped with the power of the exponentially growing mobile communications market,” Łyniewska told TechMoran.

Now with over 600 job seekers signed up the firm is scaling its database to 1000+ candidates. It has 10 employers signed up for trials since it released its prototype 1.0. Nikweli is pushing for its second phase of employer trials in the next 3 weeks.

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nikweliNikweli works simple.

Job seekers register their standardized professional details through an automatic SMS survey. It has various checking mechanisms to try to make sure the details are as accurate and detailed as possible. Employers search for candidates on its web interface with criteria that are important to them. They then compile chosen candidates with a click. Once an employer pays, they will be able to see the full information and contact details of the candidates they have chosen. The shortlisting process is done. The rest is up to the employers to interview their candidates.

“There is a lot of potential for expansion with additional functionalities to make sure the experience is smooth and painless for both employers and job seekers alike,” says Tong. “Our business model is pay-per-lead. Employers pay for each candidate whose details employers would like to see. The service is free for job seekers.”

The firm’s challenge was the thought that everything needs to happen at once but the reality is that the different parts have to be developed in parallel to support each other and there are only so many hours in a day. Nikweli’s main competitors are recruitment agencies, websites with job postings, and two other new job postings through SMS services. But even with competition, Łyniewska says Nikweli’s believes its targets and methods to reach its clients are different enough from the competitors and they occupy a good-size niche.

On funding, the firm says it has not raised any round of funding right now but will be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon. Nikweli is bootstrapping and self-funding currently and the founders are beyond excited to be part of the DEMO Africa 40 because it would be a great stage to launch its product to gain visibility and hopefully funding and expertise from investors with similar vision and values.

After DEMO Africa, Nikweli aims to continue to scale its solution and with some initial investment it should be able to move onto the next start-up phase rapidly.

ttong(1)Łyniewska came up with the original idea and has the passion to implement it. She brings to Nikweli business acumen, management skills as well as relationships and knowledge of Tanzanian business environment.

Tiffany Tong the other co-founder of Nikweli has worked and lived in East Africa (Tanzania and Uganda) for over 4 years. Tong has worked in rural villages and capital cities; with donors and private companies. She’s currently coordinating an impact evaluation research project with the World Bank in Tanzania and brings detailed local knowledge and hard-earned project implementation skills to Nikweli.

Kenya’s DUMA Works and, Mafundi, M-Pawa and several others also want to mend the broken recruitment cycle for blue collar job seekers.

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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
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, 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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