Entreprenuer Whitney Jacobs helps jobseekers

Jacobs (29) is a social innovator who is no stranger to business. She founded her first enterprise, Fusion Agency, which specialised in events and promotions, when she was only 18 years old.

With her background in Human Resources, Jacobs now shares her insights with the unemployed youth during roadshows she takes around the country to provide young people with vital insight on how to become employable – and find their first job.

“I started Employ Me SA when I realised that most young people do not have access to the labour market. Many of those that do just don’t have the funds to apply for the jobs that are available nor to attend interviews, because they are based outside of the economic hubs of South Africa. Geographical, social and financial status influences the frequency of interaction and opportunity between job seekers and employers,” she says.

Her platform has grown to create just over a thousand employment opportunities for young people with more than 100 000 job seekers registered on this platform.

She has formed valuable partnerships within the ICT and manufacturing space. She says they don’t only believe these industries provide the largest employment opportunities, but they do provide their job seekers with opportunities that will enable them to become more competitive in the market and avail longer lasting employment.

“We are providing ordinary South Africans with vital access to the labour market, and employers with quality candidates. We also assist with the advancement of quality candidates through our own training and development programs. We are constantly innovating, ensuring that we develop the candidates for the jobs of the future,” she says.

Jacobs is currently in a fundraising phase to attract capital to allow for scaling up faster. She will then focus on the development phase including the incorporation of an E-learning component targeting the digital and forth industrial revolution market. She says it will allow job seekers to learn competitive skills through their portal.

With eight employees, her platform was created to specifically target youth between the age of 18 – 35 as she understands the difficulties young people face trying to get into the labour market. “The platform addresses those difficulties, not only through our video integrated innovation but also through the advocacy programs that we develop for youth through training and entrepreneurship,” she says.

She says her journey has been extremely colourful and sometimes difficult, and she believes that a lot can be done to nurture and broaden participation in entrepreneurship, innovation and social change in this country.

“This, in turn, promotes social inclusiveness and cohesion, which should be the core values of South African society. Social Entrepreneurship programmes are a great example of how social entrepreneurs can achieve success when supported – especially those like the Red Bull Amaphiko programme. Since attending the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, I have increased our user base on the platform, we have hosted job seeker roadshows and have signed up many more employers to the platform.”

Trying to convince stakeholders of the viability of the innovation was a challenge in the beginning but resilience and belief that this initiative would change the lives of young people helped Jacobs to persevere.

“That resilience and hard work have paid off. I am now aligned with strategic partners that have made it their responsibility to ensure that Employ Me SA is a success. MultiChoice assisted with funding for the development of the platform, and also understood the importance of self-development.  They enabled me to study at GIBS Business School and also supported me financially, enabling me to concentrate on the development of the platform,” she says.

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