Flicktr CC image courtesy of Simon Cunningham
Nigerian freelancing platform Jolancer provides a service for freelancers and employers to connect with one another, hoping to alleviate unemployment issues in the country.
The platform, started by Sherif Ogunola, Hazzan Ajao and Owoyale Oluwafemi, allows freelancers to bid for projects that are listed by business owners, providing an income for freelancers and a temporary project-based workforce for companies.
“It is the African version of a freelancing platform. The aim is to help with the unemployment issue in Africa. There are a lot of talented people in Africa, most of them are graduates and professionals but they are unable to get jobs,” said Ogunola.
Once a company has selected a qualified freelancer it will pay Jolancer, which will hold the money until the job is finished. The freelancing platform will then take ten per cent commission before paying the freelancer.
The company was started last year, and since then the founders, who all specialise in IT, have been adding additional features and improving their service.
A number of freelancing platforms have seen success internationally, including Freelancer.com, but Ogunola said nothing like it exists in Africa.
“We are only focusing on freelancers, there are other companies that offer recruitment services [in Africa] but are not for freelancers,” he said.
“Platforms like this have already been excelling in developed countries. We came up with the idea of using the same business model to fit into the African market.”
The company is currently self-funded but the founders are trying to crowdfund the initiative on VC4Africa. Its search for investors has so far yielded no results but the founders are looking for equity investors with an interest in the business.
Jolancer is providing its services for free while it tries to increase its users but plans to charge monthly subscriptions once it has a substantial following.
“We made it in such a way that if it gets many people registered freelancers will be able to use the service for free for one month and after a month we will start charging. Company owners will also be able to use the platform for free for the same duration of time,” Ogunola said.
In future the company hopes to diversify its offering, both in geography and scope.
“We will look for other areas and other opportunities in Nigeria to use to expand. We would also like to offer these services to other countries in Africa and eventually in other parts of the world,” Ogunola said.