SkillPatron is a business community which aims to break the backlog of mistrust in Africa’s online outsourcing space. The platform connects skilled freelancers with prospective clients in a secure and seamless manner, with the primary aim of reducing the unemployment rate on the continent.
Launched in 2016 by founders Jake Adebayo and Daisy Erhunse Aibangbee, SkillPatron is making it easier for African Millennials and internet enthusiasts to take advantage of the rapidly growing gig economy.
Business Elites Africa sat with Jake to discuss SkillPatron’s exploits so far and how its tackling unemployment in Africa.
How did SkillPatron launch?
I was once an avid freelancer and I loved it. I had been freelancing on several online platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer and Guru. I have always loved the concept of working from the comfort of my own personal space, as it gives me the freedom to choose my projects and make money at the same time. Of all the platforms, Fiverr’s model appealed to me the most, as it conveniently solves the problem of micro-projects at very good prices.
Within two months of freelancing, I realized it was way much easier to convince clients, to hire me to do the work I love, which basically involved practical web development and search engine experience to solve common everyday problems for them.
Well into 6 months of freelancing, I had grown my clientele to a number I couldn’t properly satisfy to my initial set standards, given that we have only 20 working days in any month, leaving out bank holidays and there’s only so much a single person could do.
From that point, I launched SkillPatron and began to devise ways of recruiting, training and retaining skilled talented people who were just not comfortable with the uncertainty and headaches that come with sourcing and acquiring clients all by themselves on a consistent basis.
Over time I was able to build a solid cross-functional team that has good working chemistry and could build products, deliver amazing services, create great user experiences, and acquire customers at lightning speed.
What was the most difficult part of getting the startup off the ground?
I would say the most difficult part of getting SkillPatron off the ground was vetting the accountability of service providers during our onboarding process. Anyone who has outsourced in Africa will not be surprised when we say outsourcing to local service providers in Nigeria and much of Africa is broken!
It’s risky, painfully time consuming, and most projects fail. If you’ve ever tried scouting online for local service providers in Nigeria, you would know it’s broken. This is because you don’t know the level of experience of the people you’re considering for the job. You have no barometer to measure quality, and you face the risk of the contractor disappearing entirely. It’s a nightmare.
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