You might have seen this script way too many times; one starts a company, or quits a job, and begins freelancing.
A few gigs down the line, when they have tackled the ones they had in mind as they were getting into it, they realise new ones are not as easy to come by.
So what does one do? One gets into the opaque marketplace of CV-sharing driven only by hope, rather than knowledge, where opportunities are driven by who you know.
Enter the Yakazi Network. The digital platform provides an “opportunities marketplace” for work and enterprise locally across various value chains.
It comprises mobile apps and web dashboards, namely the Yakazi Find & Hire Yakazi Corporate Dashboard, and the Yakazi Professional Mobile App, all available on Google Play.
Under the Find & Hire and the Corporate Dashboard apps, corporates and individual clients seeking to hire service providers, freelancers and employees access the network’s database and connect directly to professionals and service providers on board.
Additionally, the platform gives corporates the opportunity to collaborate with training institutions through the Institute Dashboard, where they can source interns and fresh graduates for employment.
The Professional mobile app, on the other hand, is where professionals create profiles as employees or contractors. They can hire or buy tools, equipment and products to implement technical work contracts on the platform.
“The trigger for the platform was, among other factors, frustration of the founders in finding qualified and capable technical freelancers. Second was the observation that skilled professionals largely miss the ‘what next’ factor as they are unconnected to relevant marketplaces and value chains,” Ashington Ngigi, Yakazi’s co-founder told Citizen Digital.
Mr. Ngigi and co-founder Kevin Njenga had been conceptualising the platform since 2018 to give those wishing to take up enterprise, rather than employment, an “entry point” into different sectors.
Yakazi says its uniqueness comes in its provision for interaction between workers and businesses, training and mentorship in peer networks, as well as market information to its users.
For instance, the work sites, employers, service providers and freelancers on the platform are geo-located, and one can find and unlock nearby work opportunities.
“Professionals can hire tools and equipment from nearby persons or peers. This is important because many technical jobs require hand tools, but the purchase price is outside the reach of many,” said Mr. Njenga.
As a marketplace the platform provides information, up-skilling and re-skilling, using posts, features, downloads and podcasts.
Yakazi says its goal is to create digitally enabled job opportunities and to link skilled youth.
So far, it has collaborated with, among others, UK NGO Practical Action, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA), as well as the Nakuru, Makueni, Homa Bay and Kisumu county governments.
The platform currently boasts of over 1,000 professionals and 70 technical training institutes on its platform.