Creating a link between skilled contractors and employers through tech
In years past, talk of online job hubs would often cause sadness as many supposed hubs asked for money from subscribers to lead them to interested employers only to defraud them. As such, conversations around online job hubs were rarely about how they helped people but rather, how many have been scammed by unscrupulous people in the name of getting employment.
However, this is changing and one of those playing a big role in changing the narrative for the better is Natasha Katondwaki, a computer science graduate from Makerere University and an entrepreneur. In her entrepreneurial journey, she is one of the co-founders of Waape, a technology start-up meant to match freelancers with employers not based on their transcripts or experience but on other dynamics. These include learning ability, communication, accountability and commitment, among others.
That is surely a plus because for many people, jobs elude them because they did not do a certain course, failed one paper or do not seem to fit. However, character traits such as integrity are crucial in the job market and should be considered when awarding a job contract.
Katondwaki and her team are thus building a career-transforming App.
“We are currently running Africa’s Digital Talent Marketplace, which matches global employers and companies to pre-vetted quality tech and creative talent from Africa in less than seven days,” she says.
Katondwaki and her team started Waape because they wanted to create a platform where young, talented people can easily access meaningful earning opportunities entirely based on their skills. That was their contribution in the fight against soaring unemployment rates.
“We believe that with Waape, we are adding a brick to the fight against the soaring unemployment rates in Uganda, and eventually Africa,” she says.
The genesis is that along their tech innovation journey, they realised that there are so many upskilling programmes happening in the technology space. However, there are very few solutions for what happens after these people have gotten these skills. That set the ball rolling to create a solution, which is Waape, and was launched on June 8, 2020.
“At the moment, we have a talent pool of more than 3,000 people; more than 150 of these have been placed into full time roles with African and international companies. About 100 others have worked on freelance gigs and we have more than 40 companies actively hiring with us,” she says.
That surely brings a smile to the lives of the youth who would have otherwise had nothing to do yet they cannot eternally depend on their parents.
Being part of this contractor and company ‘matching making’ organisation also means that one’s skills are appreciated by getting value for money, which lowers exploitation of either party.
“Professionals get value for their skills while employers get the end product they desired, leaving both parties satisfied. Additionally, contractors can work either full or part time depending on their schedule, meaning there is something for everyone,” Katondwaki says.
She has also worked in the customer service sector; as a customer service representative at MelBet Uganda and a customer care support at BetLion.
Outside work, in her free time, Katondwaki reads books, listens to podcasts and eats out with family and friends.