A team of 12 young innovators at Innovation Village are re-inventing the wheel in job search and hiring using their artificial intelligence solution – ‘Waape’.
The innovative platform with an App and website helps employers find the most suitable employee as quickly as possible through matching the right candidate with the right job.
The innovators are beneficiaries of the NextWave Program implemented by Innovation Village in partnership with Mastercard Foundation under Young Africa Works. The program identifies unique challenges faced by the youth, provides potential solutions and engages young people in the best practices that they need to successfully own different enterprises.
Their big mission is to influence job creation by revolutionizing efficiency in curating today’s jobs and careers starting with the digital economy in Africa.
Collins Mbulakyalo, co- founder and tech enthusiast at Waape says the innovators started off in 2020 to solve a long-standing problem that companies and individuals face in day-to-day hiring.
Companies often struggle to find the right candidates, and often end up having too many irrelevant applications.
Even so, job seekers also spend days polishing their application documents and praying to land the right jobs.
Infact, for so long, most employers have fronted academic transcripts and experience as the only prerequisites for landing a job.
As a result, it’s a long and tiring task to match the right skills with the right job, making it hard for many to get jobs today hence fueling the unchecked youth unemployment rates.
How amazing then would it be, if a candidate or company could get automatic recommendations using artificial intelligence and didn’t need to use their time searching?
For starters, artificial intelligence, or AI is altering the way we work, play, and live.
It is causing the most disruption in the job market.
Key highlights in the World Economic Forum’s ‘The Future of Jobs Report 2023,’ indicate by 2025, AI is expected to replace 85 million jobs globally.
However, the report also suggests that AI will create around 97 million new roles, leading to a net positive impact.
Mr Mbulakyalo therefore explains that their artificial intelligence solution focuses on connecting people to opportunities not just based on their transcripts or experience, but also on other dynamics like learning ability, communication, accountability and commitment amongst others.
The solution is also set up in such a way that it provides a support system for skilled unemployed citizens who lack the opportunities, connections, academic qualifications and experience to allow them land their next or first employment engagement.
This, according to the innovators, will ensure a leveled playfield to demystify the myth that careers are built through honours and full-fledged education only.
Thus, getting the unemployed involved in more constructive endeavors.
“Hiring great talent and finding work you’re passionate about shouldn’t take more than a month, yet they both easily do,” he says.
Waape has helped teams hire African talent in less than a week.
This is done by fast tracking the hiring process through abstraction and connecting available technology and creative talent to jobs that match their skills, passion, work preferences and benefits.
‘Innovation Village is home’
Before joining Innovation Village (IV) in 2022, Mbulakyalo described his work life as, “working remotely and in isolation, and not being fully productive.”
“… things were still moving, and we were working, but you just don’t have a community you’re building with, which I think is very important as an entrepreneur because it is a lonely journey,” he says.
The opportunity of working at Innovation Village gave the innovators access to companies and businesses as possible customers.
Acquiring free office space has helped the team grow a bigger vision and actual perspective into what they’re building, but also having a credible support system.
Their revenues have also grown immensely from an initial $700, to about $6000 a month in the last eight months, having worked with over 150 companies.
Mbulakyalo notes that the focus is now to grow their current talent pool from 7000 to about 50,000 by next year.
However, he shares that many Ugandan businesses in the technology startup market are reluctant to pay sufficient amounts for the services.
The grand ambition for the innovators is now to expand into customer markets in Europe and other continents.
In his parting shot, he believes Innovation Village and Mastercard Foundation should keep betting on young people and ideas because very few people do that, and that relief is what makes the difference.