From day one, our mission at OfferZen has been to help people unlock their potential. We started out by giving people access to awesome jobs, but quickly realised that providing access was not enough. In reality, people also need to feel empowered to take opportunities. Over time, we’ve started making, doing, and sharing things, like blog articles, OfferZen Foundation, and events, that are aimed at helping people do this. Now that we’ve been tackling it for a while, we want to share how everything we do fits into our mission.
We believe that there is an incredible amount of human potential in the world. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to realise their full potential. This means that across the world, a huge amount of potential remains untapped. My co-founder, Philip, and I spent a year in Silicon Valley and we saw firsthand how software development has the power to change this.
Software development is open to everyone, you don’t have to be a ‘somebody’ to develop awesome software and make an impact. Software has the potential to be an awesome equaliser and level the playing field. On top of this, it has the power to be a key driving force in many industries, driving economic growth for a long time to come.
That’s why we decided to put all of our effort into helping people build awesome software. Philip and I had some experience running several tech companies in South Africa, so we knew that the South African tech recruitment market was huge but very inefficient. We also knew that, while many people had enormous potential, they didn’t necessarily have a job that allowed them to live up to it. With this in mind, we decided to tackle the problem of helping software makers get awesome tech jobs.
We quickly realised that solving the problem of access to job opportunities is not enough if we wanted to help people unlock their potential.
Actually, people also need to be ready and able to take advantage of these opportunities as they come up.
This led to the realisation that, in order to win, we needed to achieve two distinct goals:
- Provide people with access to opportunities,
- And help empower people with the means and tools to take advantage of these opportunities.
These are pretty big and lofty goals, and as we’ve progressed, we’ve developed a lot of respect for the scale of the challenge. Even though we feel that we’re still at the very start of the journey, we wanted to share how we’re tackling the problems:
Providing access to opportunities
At its core, the OfferZen platform tries to solve the first challenge by giving software makers access to awesome job opportunities and companies the chance to hire top tech talent. But, we’ve known from day one that we need to do more. We don’t just want to give people access to permanent job opportunities, we also want to give them a say in how these opportunities look. For us, this is the future of work: having the freedom and power to choose where, how and what you work on.
With this in mind, we launched the OfferZen freelance platform in December of 2018. The goal is to give software makers and companies more freedom to choose how they work or hire. Since then, we’ve already started helping freelance developers find work, and learnt a lot about the freelance space along the way.
Creating the means to take opportunities
Providing access to a variety of opportunities is only the tip of the iceberg. While helping thousands of software makers get access to jobs and learning opportunities, we’ve seen how many people don’t get a fair shot at these same opportunities, even when they have the right software skills.
This led us to realise that the problem is not only having access to the right opportunities at the right time, but also having the means, tools and resources to be empowered enough to take them.
On the OfferZen platform, that’s where Talent Advisors and Account Managers come in. Talent Advisors reach out to makers to share profile building and job search advice so that every person can level up and get the best version of themselves and their work out there. In the same way, Account Managers share hiring insights with company members so that they can stay on top of their hiring game.
We also wanted to expand our efforts beyond the OfferZen Platform, because we don’t believe that looking for a job or trying to fill a company position should be a requirement for getting help from the tech community to level up or create awesome software.
We believe that people are more likely to fully realise their potential when they feel respected, included and able to set themselves up for a thriving career. For this reason, we launched OfferZen Foundation, our not-for-profit organisation, with the mission to help underserved South Africans thrive in their tech careers. We hope that its first report will act as a starting point for ideas, actions, and solutions that address the inclusion and diversity challenges in the tech industry.
Our mission is to help every person in the tech community unlock their potential. To do this, we believe that we need to help people make meaningful connections in a community where sharing and learning is encouraged. As a start, we’ve spent the last three years sponsoring tech meetups, and, more recently, have started running a series of our own events to deep dive into the topics and conversations that are important to the tech community.
It’s not possible (yet) to have the entire tech community at one event, which is why we set out to find people who are thriving in the South African tech community and help them share their learning with the world through our blog. Along the way, we’ve created and shared information, tools, and processes that have helped makers level up and will hopefully continue to help many others.
Ultimately, we want to help people get access to, and then feel ready to take, awesome opportunities.
And we want to keep getting better at this, so that we can continue helping people unlock their potential…one OfferZen t-shirt at a time.
We’d love to get your feedback on our mission. Please let us know what you think in the comments below!