The Afrijob Network (Afrijob) is a recruitment and human capital marketplace which provides relevant content and training to build top tier global teams for fast-growing African companies.
Afrijob’s seamless end-to-end solution enables its partner companies to focus on their core business – saving them on both time and cost. Over the last year, the firm has built a database of top tier professionals and recruited for more than 100 partner companies in nearly a dozen African countries.
TechMoran caught up with Tre Hunt, Afrijob’s co-founder and CEO and this is what the company is doing to transform the job market in Africa.
Who are the founders and what inspired them to start it?
The growth of African companies is hindered by the widening skills gap in the ecosystem, where organizations lack the human capital critical to ensure they scale into global enterprises. Tre Hunt and Harriet Kariuki both graduated from Harvard and Peking University, where they recognized an increasing demand for work opportunities in Africa as well as a need for more informational content on the business and startup ecosystem across the continent. The difficulty they both faced finding roles that best suited their interest and skills led them to found Afrijob to bridge the gap between globally competitive talent and fast-growing African companies as well as upskilling professionals through the Afrijob workshops.
What else do you do apart from connecting youth to jobs?
Education and training for productive employment is an important tool for economic growth and development. Leveraging our growing network of top tier Afrijob Professionals (AfriPros), Afrijob offers online and offline training programs through a myriad of diversified content around professional and entrepreneurship development. Our workshops and webinars center around essential skills including communication, presentation, negotiation, etc – critical for the future of work. If you are an entrepreneur or professional keen on your own development, follow us on our social media platforms to get informed on our next Afrijob Workshop!
Entrepreneurship is said to be the one safest way out of unemployment and poverty in Africa. Do you think so? What are you doing to encourage job creation among the job seekers in your networks?
There has been a growing interest in entrepreneurship amongst our 5,000+ top tier professionals. Earlier this year, we launched Afri-[X] an idea-stage incubation program, focused on university student entrepreneurs. In partnership with local key stakeholders, we build top tier youth teams to solve for African problems from idea to Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage over the course of the multi-month program. The program culminates in a ‘demo day’, where the student entrepreneur teams pitch their start-ups to a panel consisting of key stakeholders, such as investors, government representatives, experienced entrepreneurs, and industry experts.
What are your experiences so far?
Our interaction with fast-growing African startups has highlighted the growing skills gap in the continent that’s key to scale them into global enterprises. Startups, which are often resource-strapped, need an efficient and agile team to go-to-market quickly and cannot afford to waste both time and capital recruiting for 4-6 months to build a team or develop a new product. Afrijob builds top tier teams comprised of top local, regional, and global Afrijob Professionals (AfriPros). From the get-go, it became clear that Afrijob provides a service that is greatly needed not only in the Kenyan ecosystem but in various countries that span the Africa continent- which has been a great contributor to our own rapid growth.
What is your business model?
Afrijob charges companies a matching fee upon the successful placement of a candidate while our charges on trainings are on a case-by-case basis.
Have you raised venture capital before (if so please give details) Why is that many local startups do get as much venture capital as their western counterparts in Silicon Valley?
While always open to having discussions with VCs and investors, Afrijob is a revenue-funded company and has not raised any venture capital at this point. In 2019, the total funding raised by Chinese start-ups was around $ 112 billion (and this was down 36% from 2018), while deployed VC capital in the US surpassed the $130 billion mark. The same year (2019), the whole of African start-ups raised between $1 and $2 billion depending on the source. Given that the VC ecosystems are more mature and that the US and China are significantly more economically developed than many African countries, it is no surprise that entrepreneurs in such ecosystems have greater resources and are able to raise more venture capital than their African counterparts.
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transformation of businesses around the world in the 4th Industrial Revolution era. With lockdowns and social distancing in place, a majority of organizations have enforced Working From Home – a policy that’s expected to persist post-Corona. Afrijob is in a strong position to transition into this new normal given that we already provide African companies with elite remote teams, and conduct trainings both online and offline.
Any local competition and how unique are you from them?
The local recruitment firms mostly focus solely on recruitment while the local training organizations focus on training. Afrijob’s focus on matching fast-growing African companies with top local, regional, and global talent, in addition to our content production, entrepreneurship, and professional development, is our unique selling point. Afrijob strives to build top tier teams to enable African companies to scale African companies into global enterprises.
What can be done to reduce the skills gap among African youth compared to their counterparts in the West?
The future of work is remote. African youth have an opportunity to take part in the global digital marketplace and for this reason, Afrijob offers upskilling programs to bridge the remote skills gap. Our workshops have ranged from the art of storytelling to optimizing remote work platforms like LinkedIn.
How big is your team?
Our team is currently 5. Once the COVID-19 situation cools down, we will be looking to hire- so please be on the lookout for job opportunities at Afrijob!
Where do you expect your business to be in 2 years in terms of new features, products, geographical reach, etc
Afrijob is aiming to become the premier talent matching and skills development marketplace in Africa within the coming years. We are already working with companies and talent in nearly a dozen countries, and only expect this number to grow. As we scale our services across the continent, we are looking into using AI and machine learning to build our recruitment platform.
How will new technologies like 5G, AI, machine learning and blockchain affect the jobs of the future? Are African youth ready for this future?
African youth can be ready for this future if they position themselves in the right way. Through acquiring a combination of tech, soft, and essential skills, African youth can prepare themselves to become globally competitive.
What is the best way to get in touch with Afrijob?
The best way to reach Afrijob is to send an email to [email protected], as well as to add the co-founders Tre Hunt and Harriet Kariuki on LinkedIn. You can also visit the Afrijob website, at www.afrijob.org.