Kenyan firm competes in Global Startup Battle

Kenyan firm competes in Global Startup Battle

SooTano, a micro-jobs online platform allowing young people in Kenya to make an income by outsourcing their tasks and skillset, has entered the Global Startup Battle challenge after fending off 25 other applicants.

The Nairobi-based SooTano was among those startups pitching their ideas at Startup Weekend last month and is currently competing against 238 others in the global initiative.

Founded by Morgan Andayi, a student at Kenyatta University, SooTano offers the youth in Kenya an opportunity to sell their skills or jobs at a standard fee of KSh500 (US$6).

SooTano, which is slang for ‘Ksh500’, allows anyone to post their services as the ‘job sellers’ and people to purchase the services as ‘job buyers’ on the site.

“When a job buyer orders for a job, the Ksh500 paid goes to SooTano’s account and once the seller has fulfilled what they promised, we credit their accounts,” Andayi told HumanIPO.

Andayi said being a student and having worked freelance jobs online, he thought of a way he could help fellow youths to earn basic income by utilising their skills.

He said: “I had been working on online freelance jobs and most of the time I could get most of my work done by outsourcing them on small micro-jobs site after which I ended up registering on one of them. I was surprised when people actually requested my services.”

The KSh500 concept is constant for all jobs, but as a motivation to job sellers to offer quality services, SooTano has put up a levels system in place that will allow users to add an extra service to each job they offer, earning them an extra fee.

SooTano seeks to provide an avenue where every person can earn without restrictions, but each job seller will be reviewed for every service they offer to determine their reliability.

“We have a review and rating system where each job buyer will have to rate their experience with job sellers and from the reviews the public will be able to identify whom to order a service from and who to work with,” Andayi said.

SooTano is yet to go live, but Andayi is hopeful by January 2014 the site will be active and the young people in Kenya will have an opportunity to earn a basic income, with more great ideas to come to the platform.

“Being involved in the Global Startup Challenge and hopefully winning will be the start of my journey because I know with mentorship from entrepreneurs worldwide, it will be unlikely to fail,” he said.

SooTano, being a young startup, expects there will be a lot of challenges ahead, but is ready to overcome them, especially with the scene in Kenya where most people lack accessibility to contacts or funding.

“I want to give every youth an opportunity to earn a living through self employment. We have had experiences of graduates missing out on jobs and I want SooTano to be their savior,” Andayi said.

The Global Startup Battle is currently ongoing and SooTano is encouraging Kenyans to vote for them before the voting is closed to the public tomorrow (Friday) and 15 teams are selected for the judging phase starting December 9.

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