Three students had time on their hands in the summer of 2009 when their university lecturers in Nigeria went on strike. Instead of slacking off, Ayodeji Adewunmi, Olalekan Olude and Opeyemi Awoyemi started an online job search company.
Five years later their start-up, Jobberman, has got a multi-million dollar valuation, employs 125 people, and is still growing.
While Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy it still has massive unemployment problems, in particular among young people who are also more likely to be connected to the internet.
Jobberman has become the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa, helping over 35,000 people find jobs within the last two years.
The number of companies using the site to find employees has grown from about 40 in 2009 to some 35,000 today.
Carrying between 500 and 1,000 jobs on the site every day, the founders estimate that there are about 1,000 active users searching for a job at any given time.
"The growth has been tremendous, it’s at rocket speed. One of the biggest challenges has been to keep up with the volume of work," says Olalekan.
Overcoming fraud fears
However, there have been other challenges along the way.
"In the beginning a lot of people did not trust an internet-based business because at that time a lot of people were using the internet to perpetuate fraud here in Nigeria," he says.
But as other online businesses thrived and became trusted, so Jobberman thrived. Companies would dip their toe in the water with one or two postings and then when they trusted the site they would come back.
Ed’s note: How inspiring! Do go read the rest of their story
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