From 1,000 to 45,000 Registered Workers across Mozambique

Frederico Peres da Silva’s Uncharted business prototype, Biscate, won $50,000 in the 2016 African Entrepreneurship Award. Biscate provides employment opportunities for thousands of informal workers throughout Mozambique. Since applying to the Award in 2016, Biscate, or “odd-job” in Portuguese, has grown from 1,000 to 44,588 registered workers, spanning 100% of Mozambique’s provinces. And, as of June 2017, the platform included 26,597 customers, with nearly 80,000 contacts between workers and customers.

 

Driven by Market Demand

 

The informal sector drives the majority of Mozambique’s economy. Biscate unleashes the economic power of the informal sector because Frederico says it “allows handymen to register on an online platform through their mobile phones and advertise their services to potential customers – the UBER for informal workers.” Biscate offers an opportunity for laborers to competitively market their skills and it positively impacts Mozambique’s “widespread challenge of low employment and income opportunities.”

Biscate’s women’s outreach creates more job opportunities for women throughout Mozambique.
Biscate’s women’s outreach creates more job opportunities for women throughout Mozambique.

Unlocking the Potential of Women in the Labor Force

Frederico says that Biscate “increases job opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid, fosters competition, and accredits uncertified but skilled workers.” Many of these uncertified workers at the bottom of the pyramid are women. A large portion of Frederico’s Award funding went towards market research and initiatives for more gender inclusion. Frederico says his team conducted research to “understand the supply and demand of temporary and recurrent services provided mostly by women in urban areas in Mozambique.” Based on this research, Biscate added five new services to its platform: hairdresser, beautician, manicurist, cook, and tailor. Biscate continues to track the progress of this initiative in their efforts for more gender inclusion. In just one month of the initiative, an additional 1,100 women had registered on the platform.

A big challenge facing Biscate is bridging the trust gap between workers and customers, and also engaging the community to enroll on the platform. In the spring of 2017, the Biscate team employed a team to promote the business, in particular, the new women-oriented services. In three days of work, Frederico says nearly 600 new workers registered, of which 475 were women. The platform also includes a customer rating feature and a reliable database of trusted workers.

Direct Impact on Workers

Frederico and his team diligently collect feedback and testimonials from workers. Leandra a 20-year-old cook says that “I registered on biscate as a way to help myself. At first I did not give much importance; but then I understood it; my dream is to open a place where I can serve my food.” In the case of Leandra, the simple opportunity to find work as a cook opened up a desire for her to launch her own business. For another registered technician on Biscate, work through the platform enabled him to pay it forward. He says “There are times where people call me and I am busy. At those times, I contact other colleagues in the same trade as me to follow-up on the work.” Another technician was an intern and he said, “a client actually told me about Biscate and when I registered, clients started pouring in.”

With Award funding, Frederico and his Biscate team reach out to more workers, increasing the impact of the platform.
With Award funding, Frederico and his Biscate team reach out to more workers, increasing the impact of the platform.

Improving Technology to Improve Services

Keeping up with thousands of customers and workers requires Frederico’s team to refine their tech. With their Award funding, Frederico says, “technological improvements will be focused on making the service more dynamic for workers: not only allowing them to rate but also enabling them to showcase their work and better define their services.” With these improvements, and others, Frederico hopes to take strengthen Biscate’s presence in Mozambique and create further impact.