WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
Rapid rural to urban migration has led to one in two people living in South Africa now residing in townships (informal settlements), where poverty is widespread,and unemployment is as high as 60%. Township residents are often unable to find work in formal labour markets, which are concentrated far away in urban centres, and even when they do, due to the distance they spend 40% of their income travelling to work. Many then end up in casual informal roles or setting-up small informal businesses that struggle to survive and reach their potential. This is because they lack access to: market, finance, and have low levels of business acumen.
Word of Mouth's (WOM) digital marketplace, available on mobile phones, connects informal tradesmen with local customers living in informal settlements, looking for their services. Whether a resident of the township needs to install a toilet or paint a church, WOM connects them with a local tradesmen they can afford and trust.
Previous approaches to solving the challenges presented by the informal economy have focused on formalising it or connecting it with the formal economy. WOM is different because we create economic opportunity in the informal economy by building local capacity, and creating new ways for township residents and businesses to connect, trust, and trade with each other.
Our digital platform, and decentralised recruitment, service provision, and user-based quality assurance (post job reviews) makes WOM perfect for scale.
Our marketplace collects valuable data ad insights on the cash economy, that is currently limited, and can
help inform policy.