Kenyan job alerts app goes viral
- Parent Category: Mobile
- Published on 26 June 2012
Kenyans can now access job alerts and apply for jobs via SMS through M-Kazi, a mobile application targeted at low and middle income earners who make up about 80% of the country's estimated 8 million qualified but unemployed working population.
The application has been created to counter the inconsistent access to the internet among job-seekers due to lack of access to computers, despite the growing number of employers posting job adverts online.
“There is 70 % mobile penetration in Kenya, but we are talking about 5 computers for every thousand people. A mobile tool like M-Kazi which sends personalized job alerts through basic mobile phones via USSD and SMS will bridge this gap,” says Nancy Wang, a co-founder of M-Kazi.
M-Kazi uses the shortcodes 838 for SMS and *8382# for USSD. The service couldl also save job seekers time and money spent when trying to find a job.
Wang explains that typically job-seekers have to take a matatu to the nearest internet-cafe where he or she also has to pay for internet access to browse and look for job opportunities.
The M-Kazi platform will cost users 6% of what they spend in these journeys.
“Job-seekers will be charged Ksh. 5 for job alerts they qualify for. The maximum fee they can be charged in a week for multiple alerts is Ksh. 20,” says Wang.
Job seekers who want to use M-Kazi will need access to the internet via a computer only once to load their CV and cover letter to the M-Kazi site.
Thereafter, every time they want to apply for a job, they will inform M-Kazi via SMS, which will then email their CV and cover letter on their behalf.
“Users are able to apply for a job anywhere and anytime even when you do not have access to the internet. Job seekers at the moment miss out on opportunities because they find out about a vacancy when it is already too late to apply or do not have access to the internet when they need it,” says Wang.
Another aspect of M-Kazi that makes it unique is the fact that job seekers have to post information regarding their level of education, job experience, profession and jobs they are interested in . They will then receive job alerts for the jobs they qualify for only.
“What is the point for you spending money applying for a job you will not get selected for? For employers there is no need to receive so many applications from people who do not qualify .Our personalized job alerts system will eliminate this,” says Wang.
M-Kazi hopes to generate revenues through subscriptions by charging job seekers for every job alert received.
M-Kazi is targeting to reach 250,000 across Kenya by the end of the year and plans to replicate the service in Sub-Saharan Africa next year.
“We foresee this product to be relevant in all the markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. We are talking about similar economies and similar mobile penetration rates,” says Wang.
M-Kazi has already identified potential partners in Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana for expansion in 2013.
M-Kazi has been funded by Innovation for Africa to the tune of $50,000 which went towards developing the technology, building the team, conducting research and acquiring connectivity from telecom operators. The service has received confirmation for second and third rounds of funding.