One million jobs up for grabs for African Youth as Kenyan startup expands to other markets

From right to left, CEO WOWZI, Brian Mogeni, Chairman WOWZI, Dr. Bashir Hassan and CO-Founder WOWZI, Mike Otieno sharing the WOWZI journey in a panel discussion during the WOWZI launch at Movenpick Hotel.

– Kenyan tech startup Wowzi has announced plans to create one million gig jobs for African youth in 2022 through its online marketplace, after successfully delivering over 150,000 paid jobs in 2021.

The firm that makes scalable influencer campaigns accessible to brands and companies of any size or industry, says it plans to expand partnerships with local, regional, and multinational FMCG companies, Telcos, Banks, Creative Agencies, and Development Institutions to create job opportunities for youth.

 Wowzi will create massive, distributed messaging campaigns for clients utilizing thousands upon thousands of real, everyday customers and fans who get paid to offer authentic endorsements online for the products they already love. 

The company pays out Sh5 million every week to influencers amounting to Sh260 million every year.

Speaking on Thursday during the company’s official launch in the East African market, Wowzi Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Brian Mogeni said companies are increasingly aligning their marketing strategies to tap into micro and nano content creators looking to monetize their social media accounts and develop sustainable income streams outside of traditional or formal  employment.

“Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Youths only require lightweight remote training to master the key principles of sharing brand messages, so suddenly anyone with a phone can influence their peers through social media. Now that Wowzi has created the technology platform to efficiently distribute and manage job offers to thousands of youth at a time, brands have an opportunity to engage directly with youth and offer meaningful gig work. Wowzi offers a new layer of advertising for brands that can help target niche communities.” he said.

East Africa has 20 million social media users according to Hootsuite Digital 2021 Data Report.

Kenya leads the pack with  11 million social media users, 20.2 percent of the population followed by Tanzania at  5.4 million users representing 8.9 percent of the population while  Uganda has about 3.4 million social media users representing 7.3 percent of the population.

“Emerging markets are low trust environments, and so the messenger really matters. An endorsement online from someone you really know goes a lot farther than a celebrity endorsement, for example. As a result, nano and micro influencers with smaller, more intimate and engaged followers deliver better qualified sales leads. And everyone has influence” he added.

Nano influencers are social media users with 250 to 5000 followers. Engagement on posts by nano-influencers is nearly 3 times  higher than celebrity personalities” he explained.

The firm has signed up 60, 000 influencers in the East African Region primarily by word of mouth so far and has carried out 10,000 campaigns for over 150 clients.

“In September 2021, Safaricom engaged a small “army” of influencers to create TikTok videos about a new product. Within seven hours of going live, the challenge generated 3 million views for the hashtag with thousands of user-generated posts. Within 1 week, the hashtag garnered 8million views,” he explained. “Those are campaign results that would not have been possible previously had Safaricom only been able to manually engage a dozen influencers directly for the same campaign.”

Mogeni announced the firm plans to enter three new markets including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa over the next month.

Bank Kenya Chief Executive Jeremy Awori served as the Chief Guest at Thursday’s launch said “‘Often, when we speak about influencers, we think about the big celebrity names and forget the local micro-influencers who connect with our audience especially those outside the cities. These micro-influencers live among them, speak their language and share in their beliefs, therefore increasing chances of conversion.  We also need to pursue strategic partnerships between the private and public sector in order to achieve the growth that we seek through this channel,’ Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Absa Bank Kenya.

 He further noted the need to achieve a balance between legacy and new media to reach a diverse audience through the media they consume.