How to create a leading website in Nigeria
Posted on April 16, 2014
“I first touched Windows 95 around 1997 when I was 6 years old,” Tayo notes. His passion for information technology was ignited. Although he would have opted to study the subject at university it unfortunately wasn’t available at that time. Software Engineering became his fall back, the fall back which introduced him to his business partner and friend Dele.
Dele’s JobsInNigeria story was preempted by his successful creation and launch of Pandorgs, a Christian networking site designed to bring all denominations of Christianity to the same platform by bridging the gap between their beliefs and life. The tools he gained gave him insight on how to grow an online platform from a management, web development and marketing perspective.
When (after completing their tertiary education) Tayo began to suggest to Dele to quit his well-paying job, and join him in the creation of a platform which would actively address the unemployment issue affecting what is now Africa’s largest economy, his major concern was capital. “Capital was the main factor I needed to resolve before leaving my paid job at the time.” Not seeing wisdom in pursuing entrepreneurial careers without access to finances that will meet daily operational needs, before revenue is generated, meant that the duo would have to tap into their savings.
“I remember going to White House (a local restaurant) for lunch, and ended up eating without buying water because it was 70 Naira (approx. R4.50 or $0.43) for a bottle. Life was very hard for us,” Tayo recalls the events of their early start-up days, “as we had no source of income and we were not yet making revenue.” They had not yet launched the recruitment platform and were working from a private beta so people could give them feedback on their services. The now successful platform was launched 1st June, 2012 and after 2 months of operation received over 15 000 engaged users. “We spent Christmas eve and most of the holiday working on the site that year. It crashed because we had too many visitors. After my call to him we started working: changing servers, re-configuring and moving to the new server,” Dele shares. The early response to one of Nigeria’s leading sites was unanticipated. However, the crash lead to a significant drop in traffic for a while. This taught the duo to take every issue (big or small) seriously, and be forever prompt to act quickly.
A year after its launch JobsInNigeria had registered over 200,000 users and connected over 20,000 people to jobs. With a population of over 160 million people, Nigeria faces the largest unemployment rate (at 24 %) in Africa. This allowed the team to realise that if the platform could work for Nigeria, it could work anywhere else on the continent. With the support of Co-Creation Hub; Tony Elumelu Foundation and the African Leadership Academy JobsInNigeria has become one of Africa’s fastest growing job board in over 15 countries and territories around the globe.Currently, the platform is pursuing an aggressive mobile strategy and has applications available for Android, Blackberry and Nokia devices.
“Technology in Africa is on the rise. With the dramatic rise in access to cheaper bandwidth and the proliferation of mobile devices, we should expect to see more business empires powered by technology in Africa,” Dele says. “Our end goal is to reduce the level of unemployment in Africa by leveraging technology to give businesses easier access to talent and create more jobs as a result,” concludes Tayo.
Their final words of advice to young entrepreneurs are: “sometimes life’s going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith!”