Ejoobi is a tech platform that allows job seekers in rural areas, without internet access, to send their CVs to recruiters 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 seekers database.
Founders, Simangele Mphahlele and Moses Mphahlele were motivated to start Ejoobi after meeting an individual they refer to as Thabo. Thabo was a job seeker and, as a result of not having internet access in his area, he would regularly spend almost R850 a month travelling to his nearest internet café to search for jobs online. This limited his capacity to look for jobs and meant that he often missed out on opportunities.
“Thabo had to travel from the semi-rural area of Moletjie to Seshego to search and apply for jobs. He belongs to the LSM group 1 to 6 that has limited access to internet which means that he can’t always be online to email CVs and connect with employers,” explains Ejoobi founder Simangele Mphahlele.
In a digital age where recruitment is predominantly carried out online Ejoobi’s founders saw a way to bridge the gap between recruiters and job seekers without internet access.
“Approximately six million job seekers are discouraged from finding employment because of the associated costs. Our platform aims to give those job seekers hope,” adds Simangele.
She explains that the name Ejoobi is derived from the township colloquial slang for job, ‘ijob ijob’ which is often used by people who are looking for work.
Ejoobi received a R500 000 Development Award during the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards in 2018. Simangele says that their primary reason for applying to the awards was to boost their brand’s visibility and gain credibility.
“We wanted to be part of the SAB Foundation ecosystem because they add value to their social entrepreneurs. We are now getting opportunities from other social platforms, and because the SAB Foundation does a thorough screening process, we find other platforms trust our capability,” she says.
With the help of funding from the SAB Foundation, they have grown their team and they now employ five interns and four full-time employees. This has enabled them to register more than 1 018 users on their platform as well as build a database of 3 005 job seekers who receive weekly job notifications. 73 candidates also got their very first job interview through Ejoobi.
“Ejoobi is now able to move onto their second phase of development, during which they plan to focus on growing the business. The goal is to make Ejoobi financially sustainable by bringing more recruiters or employers onto the platform. We also want to grow our jobseeker users to 25 000 by 2022,” says Simangele.
Between them, Ejoobi’s founders share a huge amount of experience and expertise. Simangele has a BA Hons in Applied Psychology and the two other founders have a B.Tech in Pharmacy and a Masters Degree in Infomatics. They all share a love for maths, science and technology and have always been curious about solving challenges in communities using technology.
Simangele provides the following advice for budding social innovators who are interested in learning from Ejoobi’s success.
“Work on your innovation every day, and a path will reveal itself. Consistently measure your impact and progress and break down your goals into smaller portions so you are not stretched too much and don’t get overwhelmed,” she says.