The informal sector accounts for 80% of Africa's labor force, from plumbers to housekeepers, yet the vast majority of work is granted through ad hoc connections; leading to low wages (as employers don’t know what they’re getting), irregular work, and few opportunities to ‘build a career’.
Lynk’s seeks to leverage technology to provide the ‘entrepreneurship infrastructure’ which informal workers are commonly lacking - from access to market to customer service and payment management. With the foundation of a digital career identify, we offer a suite of services to Pros to enable them to thrive.
Lynk’s beneficiaries are informal workers operating in the gig economy, including plumbers, nannies, and manicurists. 68% of Lynk’s current 1000+ Pros in Kenya are youth, and 42% are female. Some Pros - for example housekeepers - are typically unemployed when they join Lynk (with no other income sources), while others - such as plumbers - are typically underemployed, and Lynk provides jobs when they are otherwise not being utilized.
Mission and Vision
Lynk’s mission statement is “To create fulfilling careers for fundis (informal workers) and artisans by connecting them with consistent work opportunities and ensuring positive outcomes.” We aim to become the defacto platform for blue collar professionals in Africa - we call them Pros - to tie various gigs together into a cohesive career, through a digital career identity, access to jobs, training, network building, loans, and more.
The foundations of Lynk come from vetting/credentialing of informal workers, and the provision of digital career profiles. These profiles provide credibility and transparency in an untrusted market, and include verified experience, photos, references, and grow over time through jobs completed on the platform.
With these foundations in place, Lynk has a series of customer-facing products to connect workers - we call them Pros - to jobs. We have a customer website and App, from which customers can make a unique Request, browse previously delivered services on Lynk Shop, or interact with our new standardized service offerings.
We play a significant operational role in ensuring that Pros succeed and that jobs go well. We have developed methodologies and materials around vetting and training for all of our categories, and play a significant customer service role in ensuring that jobs go smoothly; from proactive quality control and coaching, to customer service if something goes wrong, our ops systems ensure that Pros have all the ‘entrepreneurship infrastructure’ they need to succeed.
Most employment technology solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa target highly technical sectors, or entry- and mid-level hires in office environments. Lynk targets informal workers who currently have little or no engagement with the digital economy. We believe that the digital innovations taking place in the employment sector are even more powerful and important for informal sector workers who are constantly looking for jobs or ‘gigs’ and lack government and social protections.
Of those actually seeking to work in the informal jobmatching space - we currently count 11 with some overlap - we see low levels of success. These actors face three big challenges: 1) scale and scalability. 2) Functionality. 3) Value/support to workers. What makes Lynk stand out so much, is that most of these apps do not create value for workers on their platforms, but just seek to reduce costs through a shared economy. Lynk provides a wealth of supports to ensure that jobs go well and to enable Pros to thrive.
Planned Goals and Milestones
Lynk intends to scale within both the Kenyan market and abroad. To-date, we have very much focused on creating an effective and scalable product for both service buyers and service providers. With the validation that we have achieved, we’re now excited to grow Lynk into a household name in Kenya and beyond. Within Nairobi, we are scaling through a greater focus on marketing and commercialization. Towards the end of 2019, and into 2020, we expect to expand into other countries.