Access to information about opportunities is key for young professionals and job seekers. Wutiko’s vision is to be the leading platform in Africa for young professionals and job opportunities.
Today young people are approximately three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. Nowhere is this more true than in Sub-Saharan Africa where the youth bracket is approximately 200 million people, and young people account for over 60% of the continent’s unemployment rate. Kémo Touré is a young entrepreneur from Senegal who is building a professional networking platform Wutiko, (“Find It”), which connects job seekers and qualified professionals with employers. “I was inspired to bring a solution to the high unemployment rate in Africa,” says Kémo. Wutiko has over 50,000 users just in Senegal, and has plans to expand to Nigeria and Ghana.
Kémo, a banking professional and entrepreneur, saw an opportunity when he learned from employers that advertising a position was made difficult by sifting through thousands of irrelevant resumes. For young professionals, this means a very small amount of jobs available on the market. With Wutiko’s platform, companies can access job seekers directly and young professionals can find jobs right for them. “Access to information about opportunities is key for young professionals and job seekers,” says Kémo. “Africa’s potential for skilled labor is huge, but there needs to be an easier way to connect young people with employment opportunities.”
Kémo received an initial grant of $25,000 from the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Citi Foundation to build out his platform’s infrastructure and build an online social network from scratch. The challenges were many, but Wutiko now has over 200 employers signed up to go along with 50,000 users. Wutiko also sponsors career fairs serving to connect employers with future employees, and build out its brand and expanding its reach. One such example is their work with the disability community, who face large hurdles in entering the formal job sector. Wutiko has provided training and coaching sessions for the handicapped community as well as helping them find positions that suit their unique profiles. Wutiko is committed to advocating on the disabled community’s behalf and regularly meets with employers to improve their hiring practices and find suitable career avenues for the disadvantaged.
With a follow-on grant of $50,000, Wutiko plans to expand to other countries and use the funds to adapt their platform to the unique needs that each job market presents. “In addition to the financial support from USADF and the Citi Foundation, we’ve had a strong technical support from Citi in Dakar,” says Kémo. “Nigeria is our next big expansion, with over 180 million people and a large percentage of unemployed youth. We are looking forward to scaling our model in a different cultural area with a big market size.”
Wutiko faces the test that all start-ups face: sustained growth and success. But in a sector filled with challenges, Wutiko is determined to succeed. USADF and the Citi Foundation are proud to support startups like Wutiko and support youth-led enterprise that are leading the way in their community’s development. Young entrepreneurs like Kémo offer innovative solutions that will lead to greater employment outcomes for youth and along with it, better opportunities for Africa’s future.
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Citi Foundation announced in November 2017 their commitment of over $1 million dollars in seed capital funding for youth-led enterprises in Africa. Together, USADF and the Citi Foundation – through their Pathways to Progress initiative – are funding and mentoring Africa’s next generation of business leaders to help solve some of the continent’s biggest and longest-standing problems. To date, USADF has invested nearly $4 million in 180 youth-led social enterprises in over 30 countries.