Ethiopian talent marketplace Afriwork hits 300k user mark, supports 50k SMEs

Ethiopian talent marketplace Afriwork has onboarded 300,000 users, is helping 50,000 SMEs find and hire talent, and is setting its sights on East African expansion.

Founded in 2018, Afriwork provides small businesses with an innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution designed to streamline their HR activities. its primary focus is to assist these businesses by connecting them with a diverse range of talent. 

“Additionally, we have developed a dynamic two-sided marketplace that operates in conjunction with our SaaS platform. This marketplace serves as a robust ecosystem, not only providing skilled individuals with local job prospects, but also opening doors to international opportunities,” CEO and co-founder Semegn Tadesse told Disrupt Africa.

“Through this integrated approach, we empower businesses to efficiently manage their human resources while offering talented individuals a diverse range of career paths, both locally and globally.”

The startup has seen rapid growth, onboarding more than 300,000 jobseekers and facilitating over 70,000 job matches so far.

“From our inception, we have been amazed by the demand for our product. with 90 per cent word of mouth virality,” Tadesse said.

Afriwork is clearly serving an important market need. In East Africa, a staggering 50 per cent of graduates face the challenge of unemployment annually, despite the presence of 30 million SMEs that form the backbone of employment. 

“These SMEs are in a perpetual quest for talented individuals to propel their ventures forward. Simultaneously, the region witnesses the seamless integration of technology into the lives of 30 million social media users. This scenario sparked our innovation,” Tadesse said.

“By leveraging this technological landscape, we devised a product that connects young graduates with this vast SME market.”

Afriwork is self-funded, and now at break-even, monetising via subscriptions and an escrow-based two-sided marketplace for outsourcing services. Thus far only active in Ethiopia, it is now planning growth.

“We are actively pursuing expansion plans to cover East Africa in the near future,” Tadesse said.