Ajumah Helps You Find Freelancers and Pay Them With Mobile Money

Product
Ajumah is an online marketplace that enables employers to find, hire and use mobile payment systems to pay skilled African freelancers. It is completely free for employers to post tasks on the site and to receive bids from freelancers. Jobs can posted can be from diverse categories such as web design, data entry, article writing, logo design, software development, social media marketing, Adwords, etc.

It is also free for freelancers to create a profile and to send bids to the jobs posted on the site for consideration. The profile should contain details of a freelancer’s skills and expertise as well as past work history and ratings from previous employers to increases their chances of getting hired. After a freelancer’s bid is accepted, the employer deposits the money which is kept safely in Ajumah escrow, and it is released to the freelancer on work completion.

Value

  • Value to Employers

Most startups and businesses in Africa do not have the resources to hire permanent employees to get tasks done. Also, finding, managing and paying skilled freelancers takes a lot of time and resources.

Ajumah addresses this problem as it enables businesses post their task or job to thousands of skilled freelancers in Africa to help them get more done while they save time and and prevent overhead administrative cost and permanent hiring cost.

  • Value to Freelancers

Freelancers can easily find freelance job opportunities across the African continent and beyond, work and make money from the comfort of their homes or remotely while they build a great freelance profile and online job reputation. With Ajumah, they can easily receive payment for their work and get rated by past employers to boost their changes of getting hired again.

Successes

  • Start-Up Chile Accelerator Participant, Generation 11 (link here)
  • Online launch – October 2014

Team
We are a new startup made team of experienced software entrepreneurs with years experience in developing software that solves problems locally in Africa.

We believe that there is a wide pool of quality talent on the African continent and that when given the opportunity and the right platform, they can unleash their potential to contribute to development. Our goal is to provide this platform so that young Africans can create a gig economy by raising their income levels with their skills and talents.

We also believe that businesses can leverage on this talent to attain high growth by getting tasks done quicker and cheaper by experts; and that a marketplace that connects experts with startups is a huge step in the process.

Development Stack
Confidential

Contact/Social Media/Job Openings

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Ethel Cofie Shortlisted As Part of 5 Women in UN ITU GEM Tech Awards

As part of the United Nation(UN) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) GEM Tech Awards, Ethel Cofie was  1 of 5 shortlisted from over 360 nominations for the GEM Tech Awards under the Category : Promoting Women in ICT Sector. Winners will be announced at PP-14 on 28th October 2014. Below is the list of the 5 shortlisted candidates for the same category. Categories which have Africans shortlisted are also listed here.

 
CATEGORY 3:  Promoting Women in ICT Sector – initiatives aimed at attracting, retaining and promoting women within the ICT sector and into decision-making positions (private and public sector)
Luna Shamsuddoha – President, Bangladesh Women in Technology (Bangladesh)
Luna’s efforts have been in gender equality and inclusion of women and girls through education participation in the ICT sector in particular. She has been engaged in a number of activities to promote gender empowerment within the ICT sector including leadership roles in private business, government and the banking sector, and advocacy work through speaking roles and work with various NGOs.
Ethel Cofie – Founder, Women in Technology Alliance Africa (Ghana)
Ethel Cofie is the founder of the Women in Tech group in Ghana, a platform to help women in the ICT industry grow and climb the cooperate ladder with networking sessions. The events have brought together a variety of speakers such as Estelle Akrofi, Country Manager of Google, and Otema Yirenkyi, Country Manager of Microsoft Ghana, who draw on their diverse range of backgrounds and personal experiences to discuss tips, tricks, and anecdotes on how women can take advantage of changes happening in the high tech world.
Ifat Baron – Executive Director, ITWorks-Empowering People (Israel)
Ifat Baron established ITWorks, an Israeli non-profit organization in 2006, to provide economically disenfranchised women throughout Israel with technological training, professional skills, and job placement support, helping them launch careers in unfilled positions in Israel’s hi-tech and communications industries. ITWorks has provided approximately 1,100 women with the tools for financial self-sufficiency and long-term integration into Israel’s thriving technology sectors, successfully maintaining a 73% quality job placement rate.
Dr Salim Sultan Salim Al Ruzaiqi – CEO, Information Technology Authority (Oman)
Dr Salim is active in bridging the digital gender divide and empowering women in Oman. Realising that Omani women cannot be left behind in the pursuit of knowledge in the digital age, he has implementation of various capacity building initiatives targeted for Omani women, so they become avid users and contributors in a knowledge-based economy.
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (UK)
Established in 2007, BCSWomen is a group of almost 1500 IT professionals who, as volunteers, work on numerous initiatives to encourage more women to join the IT profession and support those who are part of it, including training courses, virtual activities using social media and discussion groups. The group comprises women working in technology based roles from across all industry sectors and has an international membership. 
 
Other African Persons and Projects shortlisted under different categories:
CATEGORY 1: ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Social, Political Empowerment and Women’s Empowerment Linkages with Sustainable Development.
Muso Ladamunen – MAMMA project (Mobile Mothers against Malaria in Mali) (Mali)
UNESCO – Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool (Ethiopia)
Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool is a platform that consists of multimedia educational resources including comic strips, audio modules, and quizzes which highlight the role of women in African history.
CATEGORY 2: ICT Applications, Content, Production Capacities and Skills for Women’s Economic Empowerment and Poverty Reduction
Sophie Kumwanje – Malawi Country Manager, Grow Movement, (Malawi)
Grow Movement provides virtual consultancy to female entrepreneurs, aimed at improving their ICT, financial literacy and marketing skills which enables each woman to run their businesses better, employ more people in their community and earn more money.
Asikana Network (Zambia)
The organization aims to increase female participation in computer science. In order to do so, the Asikana Network focuses on teaching ICT skills to young girls, paying particular attention to vulnerable girls so that they can access better jobs
 
CATEGORY 4:  Enabling Girls to Become ICT Creators – initiatives aimed towards providing girls with an opportunity to become not just active users but also creators of ICTs and content
CEFEPROD (Women’s Centre for the Promotion of Development) (Cameroon)
The organization is engaged in multiple activities to encourage women and girls to participate in the ICT sector. These include annual ‘Girls in ICT Day’ celebrations which aim to encourage thousands of young girls to choose science courses and careers in the ICT sector by giving talks in schools, hosting competitions  and inviting female leaders in the ICT sector  to share their experiences with the girls.
 
Category 5: Closing the ICT Gender Gap – Ensuring ICT accessibility for women, such as digital literacy training and ensuring affordable and meaningful access to ICTs by women. Initiatives aimed at measuring the ICT gender gap including research and data on women’s engagement with ICTs and their impact
Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) (Nigeria)
Set up in 2008, the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) builds the capability of Nigerian girls and women to increase their economic power and to speak about issues affecting their lives through information and communication technology (ICT)-based training and projects, focusing on education, activism, entrepreneurship, and professional activities.
 
Category 6: Efforts to Reduce Threats Online and Building Women’s Confidence and Security in the Use of ICTs
Association for Progressive Communication (APC) – Feminist Tech Exchanges (FTX) (South Africa)
Through skills diffusion and capacity building, the Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) empowers women’s rights organizations, advocates and feminists. FTXs train women’s rights advocates in essential internet, audio and other technical skills to enable them to use technology to more effectively to document abuses, build knowledge, disseminate information, mobilize support and amplify pressures for change
 
Category 7: ICT and Broadband strategies policies, framework that promote women’s digital empowerment
Federal Ministry of Communication Technology (Nigeria)
The social and economic transformation of Nigeria requires that the economically active population be empowered and productive. Women, a significant part of this population, traditionally tend to be marginalized, but ICTs provide a useful avenue for the inclusion and active participation of women in development.
For further details about the Awards finalists, please visit http://www.itu.int/en/action/women/gem/Pages/finalists.aspx

DEMO Top 40: Paysail Helps Businesses and Accountants Run Payroll Via Mobile Money

PaySail is the easiest way for businesses and accountants in Africa to run payroll, file tax and social security and also pay employees via Mobile Money or through the Bank. With a keen focus on simplicity of design and ease of use, PaySail automates every aspect of the payroll process.

Product
With PaySail, payroll taxes are automatically calculated each month, based on employees’ basic salaries. Paysail generates simple payroll reports available in multiple formats (including Excel). Paysail also generates and sends payslips to employees by email. These payslips can be accessed by the employee at anytime, from anywhere.
Value
By providing an extremely easy way for businesses to run payroll, pay employees and file taxes, we want to give local businesses a better payroll experience.
Successes
Our first success was to raise seed funding from the Meltwater Foundation. It’s generally hard for startups in Ghana to raise seed funding of any amount.
Our next success is that we are currently processing payroll for over 60 businesses after 5 months of starting PaySail.
We also ranked 2nd place at the Seedstars Accra event held in June this year.
Currently, we are one of 5 DEMO Africa LIONS who will be pitching in the US at DEMO.
Team
Precious Nyarko, CEO – Precious is a former Corporate Accounts manager at City Investments Company Limited. He is an Accountant by profession and a Graduate of Zenith University College . Precious also years of experience designing user interaction for scalable mobile and web applications.
Samuel Ako, CTO – Samuel Ako has over 5 years programming experience. His specialty is in developing scalable backend infrastructure for mobile and web applications. He also has strong interests in BigData and Natural Language Processing. He has a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from University of Ghana Legon.
Osborn Adu-Kwarteng, Business Development – Osborn is a Google certified AdWords practitioner and has a degree in Mathematics from KNUST. Osborn loves to develop business strategies and to manage technical projects. Also is also a programmer and spends time developing various software projects using new web technologies.
Development Stack
PaySail is built with Node.js using the Express Framework. We currently host PaySail on Heroku whilst we use MongoDB to manage our data.
Contact/Social Media/Job Openings
Find us on Twitter on @happypayroll. You can also reach us by mail at info@paysail.co. Please visit https://www.paysail.co/jobs to see our job postings

A Look Into MEST Incubator’s Newest Startups [2014]

Every year, several companies move from the software development training programme of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology to join the existing companies at the MEST Incubator. With 2 acquisitions within nine months (ClaimSync and Saya), little needs to be said about the MEST Incubator and its successes.
This year, the MEST Incubator welcomes 4 successfully funded companies from the MEST Graduating Class of 2014. This post provides an introduction to all the 4 companies who will be outlined in details in following posts.
Beam is a remittance service for Ghanaians and Nigerians living abroad to instantly and affordably send money back home using Bitcoins, a digital currency. The company was co-founded by Nikunj Handa (CEO) and Falk Benke (CTO), both former MEST Teaching Fellows.
Beam is currently in private beta, and will be launching in October 2014. You can sign up to be a part of the Beam beta test at beamremit.com. For more information about Beam, email hello@beamremit.com.
African businesses who wanted a simple, automated payroll solution used to have to choose between solutions that were either poorly optimized for local tax laws, or expensive, bloated alternatives. Enter PaySail!
PaySail is a simple, web-based system that helps Ghanaian businesses run payroll, generate the appropriate tax and social security filings and reports, and pay employees each month.
The founding team is Precious Nyarko (CEO), Samuel Ako (CTO) and Osborn Kwarteng (Biz Dev), all graduates from the MEST 2014 class. PaySail was recently crowned a DEMO LION at DEMO Africa 2014. For more information about PaySail, email info@paysail.co.
For online merchants and store owners, managing multiple stores across platforms such as Amazon and Ebay can be a logistical nightmare.
SynCommerce helps online merchants manage inventory and process orders across multiple sales channels from a centralized dashboard. The co-founders are Christian Osei-Bonsu, Godwin Elorm Adjaho, Albert Fiati and Joel Funu, all graduates from the MEST Class of 2014. For more information about SynCommerce, email info@syncommerceapp.com.
Vestracker is the information management system for the freight forwarding industry, helping freight forwarders seamlessly coordinate between clients, suppliers, and the many different people who help consignments get from one port to another.
The co-founders are Osam Kyemenu-Sarsah (CEO), Fui Dodzi-Nusenu (CTO), Linda Ansong (Biz. Dev), and Emmanuel Anim (Product Manager). For more information about Vestracker, email info@vestracker.com.
The MEST Incubator has produced some of Africa’s best startups, and received lots of media mentions for its contributions to employment and tech development in Africa. Much is expected of this new batch of MEST Incubator companies, and we wish them the best as they seek to make a good name and continue the good works of Africa’s youth.

What’s The Way Forward For Entrepreneurs After DEMO Africa 2014?

The International community added their voice to emphasize the need to tap entrepreneurial energy among Africans at the DEMO Africa event held in Lagos last week. The event which brought together players in the technology scene provided a critical platform for discussions geared towards fast tracking prosperity and growth in Africa with entrepreneurship being cited as the key to Africa’s freedom and prosperity.

In a video message to the participants, The US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized the need to groom Africa’s young population to tap the entrepreneurial energy. He reminded Africans that places where people are free to trade and transform ideas are on the right track to growth and prosperity. “You can count on the United States support as you take on this journey to transformation through entrepreneurship.” He assured.

To thump their support, the US State Department through the LIONS@FRICA partnership will this year sponsor five DEMO Africa start-ups for a 10 day trip to pitch at the DEMO US. The five who were picked from the forty that pitched on the DEMO Africa platform, include Jifunza (Rwanda), Nerve (Nigeria), Paysail (Ghana), Chura (Kenya) and Spacepointe (Nigeria).

Players within the African technology scene seem to have headed to the call to secure Africa’s freedom. This was evident as they converged for the first pan-African Angel investor’s forum at DEMO Africa. Here, the need to work together in a pan-African Business Angel Network was reiterated. The investors present, both local and international, included angel investors, impact investors, venture capital funds, and corporate venture capital actors; all focused on early stage SME investing in Africa.VC4Africa’s CEO and Founder Ben White explains: “We see angel networks emerging across the continent. Now is the time to bring them together in a shared conversation about how best to move forward.”

The interest around the business-technology scene In Africa is on the rise. Notable influencers including Baybars Altuntas, Vice President of the European Business Angel Network (EBAN), was present at the DEMO Africa forum representing the interest and views of over 20,000 angel investors across Europe. Baybars confirmed that indeed, the majority of EBAN members want to learn more about African startups and the ecosystem, this being their new source of investment pipeline. “To fully engage European angel investors we seek our counterparts across Africa. This is key for co-investing into opportunities on the ground. The European Business Angel Network could support an African Business Angel Network with incubation.”

In line with this new found interest of the international community, VC4Africa Ben White confirmed that VC4Africa will rally a delegation of angel investors from African countries to participate in the European Business Angel Network will be held in Helsinki, Finland in November which will see among other things a roadmap developed for the way forward for Africa.

Microsoft, another key player announced a new Collaboration Challenge with AfriLabs to increase knowledge sharing across the hub network in Africa and spur innovation. The challenge, officially launched at this year’s DEMO Africa event, is tasking hub members with proposing and delivering an activity, process or tool that fosters collaboration within the AfriLabs network.

AfriLabs’ core function is to facilitate collaboration, which requires the right platforms, mechanisms and incentives for hubs and their teams to share information and dialogue. The winning solution will receive $15,000 from Microsoft and technical support to develop it. The hubs within the AfriLabs network will be provided with a more efficient way to learn from each other’s best practices and build more sustainable models.

This year’s event had been organized in collaboration with the LIONS@FRICA partners (Microsoft, Nokia, US State Department, DEMO, USAID, African Development Bank, VC4Africa among others) and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies.

The DEMO Africa 2014 event was sponsored by Nigeria Information and Technology Development Agency (NIITDA), Microsoft, USADF, Department of State, Evernote, SWELL, Airtel, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Accenture, MTN, Oasis Management Company, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Main One.