Hello Mr. Mambe, you are one of the founders of Njorku, which is « one of the largest employment search platforms in Africa », according to Trace TV. What made you want to go into entrepreneurship and especially in the field of job search?
I stumbled upon entrepreneurship out of curiosity. when I was 18, I wanted to know how websites work so I began learning to code from forums and yahoo groups. People around Buea realised I could code and they came to me to build their websites or code their apps and that’s how I got into entrepreneurship. Few years later, I founded a consulting business and with higher demand from clients I need to employ people. My employment needs led me to build njorku.com for myself and other employers like me.
In your opinion, why the field of employment remains problematic in Cameroon, despite the fact that this country is mainly young, therefore a strong workforce and that there are many solutions like recruitment firms and applications like Njorku?
Our educational system is not training the youth on practical industry applicable skills. So there are jobs in companies that cannot be filled by our youth due to lack of the right skills and competencies. That in my opinion is the center of the issue.
We rapidly scaled to other countries because our product and business model is based on scale and numbers.
Overall, do you think that Cameroon really wants young people to embark on entrepreneurship?
I think that Cameroon has no choice right now, it’s the only way out of the high underemployment and unemployment rates in Cameroon.
In your opinion, could technology solutions such as Njorku solve the problem of unemployment in Cameroon? Are there other factors that must be included ?
Technology solutions like Njorku will help to solve the problem for sure but it will take a lot of iteration and continuous innovation online and offline.
Was it easy for you to deploy Njorku to other African countries than Cameroon? Besides, why this opening towards abroad ?
Njorku was easily adopted in Nigeria and Kenya than in Cameroon in the early days but overtime Cameroon is the active country given that its also our location. We rapidly scaled to other countries because our product and business model is based on scale and numbers.
Among users who posted a notice on your Facebook page of Njorku, one questioned the authenticity of the job offers present on the platform. How do you ensure that offers are true and not scams?
Right now, we do our best to take down any job that is reported to be scam or fraud. We cant stop this at 100% yet because Njorku uses machines to aggregate the jobs from other sources and the machine has to be trained to detect fraudulent or scam jobs. That will come with time and for now we advice our users NEVER TO PAY any money for a job application and consider any job or recruiter asking for money to be a scammer.
For several months now, the North-west and The South-west of Cameroon have been suffering from a disconnection from the Internet. Njorku is one of the companies affected by this sanction. Have you come up with a solution to remedy it, while waiting for the Internet be restored one day?
Yes, we have setup a temporal office on the highway 35 mins from Buea towards Douala. In a small village called New Bonako where there is 3G internet coverage. We drive here with the team and other engineers from Buea daily and work in this new office and go back to Buea in the evening. So this office has solved the problem for us and it’s more like living in Bonamoussadi and working in Akwa so it’s ok.
Besides, do you have any message to pass on, following this situation which does not seem to see any way out?
All I can say is, there is always a way forward.
Have you tried, with the other start-ups of the Silicon Mountain or individually, to raise awareness towards the Authorities about the impact of this situation on your business and the economy of the affected regions ? In addition, do you think you have a role to play in this situation ?
We have tried severally via the media and other people but so far it has all landed on deaf ears.
To conclude, would you have any message to pass on to the young Cameroonians who read us?
Hardwork and persistence will always pay.