Ghana’s Ajumah secures $40,000 to empower African freelancers

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ajumah-fb2Richard Brandt and his partners came across a good number of highly motivated, young and talented Africans with world class skills. However, they realized that they found it difficult to find job opportunities where they can use their skills to earn a decent living.This inspired Brandt and his friends to create a platform so that they can find freelance job opportunities while they build an online reputation.

Ajumah.com was born.

Speaking to TechMoran Brandt says Ajumah, launched in October 2014 seeks to meet the needs of African freelancers in particular as Freelancer.com does not have payment systems that are easily accessible to African freelancers.The startup has been accepted into Startup Chile and got a seed investment of $40,000.

“Ajumah allows African freelancers to receive payments on their mobile money wallets and also their preferred local bank accounts. Also, unlike Freelancer.com, Ajumah’s mission is to bring wealth and jobs to Africa, so the jobs on Ajumah are targeted at African freelancers. We believe African start-ups and SME’s can accelerate their growth by getting more tasks done by hiring freelancers on a freelance site which allows them to easily find, hire and pay African freelancers, hence Ajumah,” he told TechMoran.ajumah

Brandt says they reached out to young African professionals and freelancers by email asking them to give them feedback on the new service designed to meet their needs, and their response was amazing. He says their feedback contributed immensely in shaping the product, and so they use Ajumah as proud contributors to a worthy initiative.

Set to come out of its testing stage in February, Ajumah has posted USD $17,870 worth of jobs on the site and currently have 330 registered freelancers from 10 African countries.

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Ajumah makes money by taking a commission on all completed jobs. However, it is free for to post a job and hire on Ajumah. For start-ups that need help with finding and hiring freelancers, Ajumah offer a free service to help them with their needs. It is also free to create a freelance profile and to bid for unlimited number of jobs.

The site says its has an escrow system to ensure the interests of clients and freelancers are safe online. When a freelancer’s bid for a job is accepted, the system ensures that the client pays a deposit into Ajumah escrow to show commitment. The freelancer can commence work only when the funds are deposited into Ajumah escrow, and Ajumah only pays to their freelancer after work is completed and the client is satisfied with work done. Also, Ajumah’s ratings and reviews system ensure that fraudulent and unprofessional users are eliminated from the system.

Some of the challenges the firm experienced was the process of designing a product that is easy to use, best suited for the African market and meets the needs of its users. This is a challenge Brandt says they face everyday and they rely on continuously collecting user feedback to improve.

Ajumah recieved funding from USD$40K from Start-Up Chile Accelerator and are seeking interested investors for followup funding. The Accra-based startup says the biggest investment so far has been the investment of time and dedication of the Ajumah Team saying its hard to quantify the long work hours, intellect and commitment everyone has put in.

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“The team have invested thousands of dollars in start-up and operation costs and also got seed investment of USD$40K from the Start-Up Chile Accelerator Program to get things off the ground. We are currently looking for followup investment from interested investors for hiring, development and marketing,” Brandt told TechMoran.

Brandt says the startup scene in Accra is like most African cities it is upcoming and it has a great potential. There are startups with brilliant ideas seeking to solve local problems as well as global problems.

“It is inspiring to see a growing number of co-working spaces, tech hubs and tech meetups in the city. However, most of the ideas die in their early stage due to the lack of support or seed capital. I believe that access to seed capital and followup funding, a lot more ideas will become a reality with Accra becoming a hub for tech startups and so I would like to call on investment firms and VCs to see this opportunity,” Brandt concluded.