Jobs in Kenya’s construction industry are very informal and job seekers may go for days or even months minus landing jobs if they don’t have the right people or which contractor is hiring.
However, a new informal jobs marketplace startup dubbed Mjengo254 aims to solve this menace using its online portal connection construction workers to contractors or builders on the go. This also means the construction workers can eliminate the middle men who usually make a lot of from the job seekers.
Founded in Kenya by Flavian Bwire Ojiambo and Irvin Karungu, Mjengo254 aims to bridge the gap by connecting the common mwananchi to professionals like engineers, architects, land surveyors and various service providers.
“Subsequently, we also want to help these professionals come close to their clients by making their portfolios visible,” the firm says. “It is quite evident that construction industry is taking Kenya by storm. In 2015, construction grew sharply by 14.1 percent. However, a quick survey shows that most individuals seeking to take up construction projects such as homes, which has become a growing trend, do not know where to start from.”
With this in place, house builders, engineers, contractors can easily hire from a huge database of those guys who have bo bank or would prefer to.
“People tend to rely on referrals for professionals as well as service providers in this industry. They will ask for help from family members and friends on who is the best candidate to help them build their projects,” the team says. At the moment the biggest competition could be Lynk.co.ke which was declared the winner of 3rd Edition of Safaricom AppWiz Challenge, taking home Ksh 1.5 million in cash.
Mjengo254’s biggest challenge will be signing up workers into the database and to get to use the web and mobile app which requires a smartphone as most of them use feature and dumb phones. Contractors also seem to have a list of their own honest and hardworking site workers-many of them are their own friends and relatives or reffered to them.
Juakali.co.ke, another blue-collar jobs marketplace has been trying to crack this industry but it has not been easy and the startup has kept iterating its model from time to time but we wish Mjengo254 the best. Another player in this sector Mafundi seems to have died a natural death and even pulled down their website.