Mphahleles do their bit to alleviate youth unemployment
A social entrepreneur couple from Limpopo is relentlessly making its contribution towards the alleviation of joblessness among the youth in the country with their tech platform ejoobi.
Now based in Midrand, north of Jozi, co-founders Simangele and Moses Mphahlele together with their business partner Mogodu Maake developed ejoobi three years ago. The platform allows jobs seekers in rural and outlying areas, where there is no internet or WiFi, to send their CVs to prospective employers via SMS or USSD.
Simangele explained that they came up with the concept after realising that unemployed youth were struggling in Limpopo and the surrounding areas to even draw up proper CVs and send them through the internet.
"It's a given that a person looking for a job does not have money. Further compounding their situation in the rural and outlaying areas is the fact that they don't have access to internet cafes and have to travel long distances just to send their CVs," says Simangele.
"But yet again, not everyone has a smartphone to email or fax their CVs. Connectivity is a problem in areas outside the big cities and metropoles and with the cost of data being so high, young job seekers struggle to reach employers or recruiters."
Simangele estimates the cost of looking for a job to be in the region of R1,000 a month. "Where do you get the money if you are not working?"
She says ejoobi connects young people with job opportunities without them having to leave where they live.
"After sending their CVs to employers via SMS or USSD, job seekers also receive cloud storage, alerts and job adverts via the platform.
"The system further enables employers to access and connect with off-line candidates, publish jobs via SMS and USSD, conduct surveys, gain market insights and create job seeker databases, it's like a dropbox and cloud storage in one.
"Once online, you can store your CV, it is streamlined and can be emailed at any time without the requirement of data.
Simangele says they charge a minimum fee of R1,50 a minute compared to about R10 or more users are charged at internet cafes and shops.
"It's a two-way stream, the employers publish jobs via SMS, helping job seekers have easy access to vacancies and jobs available.
"We are trying to short-circuit the way people go about looking for jobs."
She further explained how ejoobi works: "We match job seekers with available vacancies, we work with job seekers to build their CVs and thirdly, connect the job seekers with employers, SMEs and recruiting agencies."
Most significantly, says Simangele, they hold CV workshops for the unemployed youth for free to expose them to the use of new or second-hand PCs and laptops, WiFi routers as they assist them to draw up their CVs.
The latest survey conducted by ejoobi sampled 480 job seekers out of 3,000 and 165 responded. In April this year, tangible results came out with 81 job seekers being called for interviews and 27 candidates were placed in job positions.
"It has been a norm that with a good CV, chances of being called for an interview are increased.
"We've seen graduates struggling to even be placed in learnerships or internships. It's not only those from the rural areas who are struggling for jobs. With ejoobi, however, we've simplified the recruitment process by just using AI [artificial intelligence]."
Simangele, a former small business woman who has been in the corporate world for 12 years and IT for eight years, is now a leadership and career coach.
Her husband Moses is an electronics engineer while their business partner and co-founder Maake is a sales and marketing guru.
Ejoobi has not been without hurdles along the way since its conceptualisation, says Simangele.
"Funding has been our biggest challenge but we've overcome that by taking up loans and entering competitions.
Ejoobi was the runner-up at the Gauteng Accelerator Programme (GAP) ICT Awards last year and were placed fourth in the 2018 SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, with a prize money of R500,000 to assist in the running of the growing tech platform.