A Durban tech team’s innovative mobile application, Spazapp, has now joined forces with the likes of big corporates Microsoft, Hollard, Barloworld, and Coca-Cola in signing the Tshepo 1 Million pledge led by Premier David Makhura, Gauteng Provincial Government.
The Tshepo 1 Million project is an expansion of the Tshepo 500 000 initiative, launched in 2014, which now aims to provide 1 million unemployed youth opportunities through skills training, job placement and entrepreneurship by 2019.
Beyond the App
Recently dubbed the David in the “Goliath world of retail”, Spazapp continues to prove that relevant, ambitious technology can shake up industries and unlock the potential to radically shift the depressing status quo on youth unemployment.
Spazapp, a freely downloaded Android app aimed at spaza store owners, aims to bridge the divide between the formal and informal markets by providing informal traders access to bulk buying benefits via an easy to use mobile ordering app. It has been hugely successful since launch and continues to garner big corporate support with the likes of Unilever and Tiger.
Beyond the technology, the sustainable social enterprise amplifies its impact by running Spazasparks, an upliftment division that train youth on using the app for mobile trading and rendering support to other spaza store owners.
“Being first to market with this type of app, we’ve built our success on working from the ground up. Through partnerships with government and employment accelerators like Harambee, we will be supporting 5000 youths to become self-employed from the moment they complete their Spazapp development course,” shares Tim Strang, Spazapp CEO.
“We aren’t an outside force that come in and try to change things. We support the Sparks, who in turn then support business owners and members in their community, earning a percentage of all sales,” continues Strang. “Spazasparks is an opportunity that offers self-starting youth a cost-effective, scalable income source to support their growth into formal employment. The best is that we can roll this out anywhere with any partner.”
Innovation critical to giving hope of a job
New data released by StatsSA reveal that South Africa’s jobless rate is now at a 14-year high, at a time when the country is in a technical recession.
“Unemployed youth are often exploited and excluded from opportunities to grow out of survivalist enterprises and develop into viable businesses. By taking “app technology” a step further through innovative initiatives like Spazasparks, we can create real-time jobs and enable informal enterprise in the most impoverished areas so that our youth don’t have an inheritance of poverty,” explains Byron Verreyne, Spazapp’s CTO.
The feature allows youth wanting to make a difference in their own life the opportunity to generate income, experience, and skills from the sales of airtime, life insurance policies, electricity and conducting incentivized tasks such as surveys and brand training.
“It’s not just about hope for the youth, it’s about hope for us all, for government, private sector and civil society,” comments Premier Makhura on the Tshepo 1 Million project.
The programme is also designed to accelerate the use and adoption of Spazapp by store owners to close the gap where those who typically “have the least” are paying the most for basic goods because of inefficient supply chain processes.
“Spazapp’s mission is to uplift thousands of families and youth by empowering those trading in the informal sector with free, smart trading technology,” shares Strang. “We’ve found a niche tech-solution to real problems – through Spazapp, informal traders can now lower the cost of essential groceries sold by placing orders for free directly from large suppliers without having to shut down their store, pay for transport, or miss out on bulk buying savings because of cashflow constraints.”