Beating unemployment requires more than just good intentions, but this is the target of Njorku, whose name denotes "Elephant" among the Dikome Balue people of Cameroon, a small village in Ndian division close to the South West border of Cameroon to Nigeria.
Mambe, a self taught software and Web developer turned entrepreneur who started his career aged 19, spoke to HumanIPO about Njorku.
What does Njorku do?
Njorku serves as job search engine (Njorku.com and Njorku.com/mobile) where a computer or a mobile phone can be used to input keywords and locations, and Njorku will serve them with job results webpages that match their criteria from third party websites.
It is also a career platform, where candidates register, upload their CV and Njorku helps them by marketing their CVs to employers for jobs or internships. Njorku in addition serves as a recruitment platform, where employers or recruitment agents can register for free. It also offers career advice, email and SMS job alerts.
What inspired you to come up with it?
I created Njorku for two reasons. First, becauseI saw many African Web users go online to find jobs and most of them would apply for jobs that are as old as two years.
Therefore, I decided to build a tool that will give them information on the most recent jobs and channel their energy towards applying for active roles than those passive roles that lead to nowhere.
Secondly, as an employer running my consultancy business Afrovisiongroup.com for over six years, one thing I realised is that in Africa, I didn’t have any tool that would easily help me find the best candidates in the next couple of hours.
We have had seed funding from an angel investor in Canada (Herve Tchepannou). Recently, we also got more seed funding from another angel investor in France (Jean-Louis).
Any business partnerships?
We are a young business and we are actively seeking partners. For now, we are closing partnerships with partners in Cameroon and Nigeria. We are yet to seal these deals so we can’t announce anything as of now.
Our business model is strictly freemium. Where everybody can use our solutions free but with basic features and if they want all the features they will get to pay.
How unique are you from the competition if you have any?
We understand the African job seeker and understand a lot about career and recruitment in Africa. We think technology can make life easier for Africans and we invest a lot in research and development on technology and ways to help Africans find jobs without having access to a computer or knowing how to use the internet.
What is your driving force, energy?
I believe God has given me knowledge and energy to do things to help my people and to inspire others to do more for the continent. This thought drives me every day as I develop the Njorku experience and embark on the Njorku journey.
Have you had any challenges?
Business is full of challenges but Njorku being my second venture, I would say the challenges are not as I had in my first venture. Yes, we have issues in raising capital for expansion, finding amazing software developers to join our team given our limited funds.
Our plans are to keep developing and marketing Njorku services to help millions of job seekers and employers around Africa. We don’t know what the future holds but we know the results we wish to attain. This helps us develop towards a goal but we can’t plan a lot as technology is constantly changing. We have to be ready to adapt and continue helping our people.
Any user stats at the moment?
All we can say is Njorku has served over 600,000 job seekers and we are pushing to one million. Over 100 employers using njorku.com/employer platform and we are yet to start marketing this service.
Any achievements or awards?
Njorku was listed on Forbes as one of the best technology startups in Africa. Njorku also helped me land the JCI award for the most outstanding Cameroonian in business and entrepreneurial accomplishments.
Can you let HumanIPO in on any secrets?
Njorku is currently working on the translation engine that will help Njorku serve users in French and later Swahili, Spanish and Portuguese.