Tourism Update is profiling the top-three 2023 finalists announced for the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Challenge (AYTIC) held in Swakopmund, Namibia, in May this year.
The winner will be announced at the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum and Awards in Botswana in October. This is the third finalist profile.
m-Temp, based in South Africa, is a talent and opportunity matching platform that allows small businesses in the tourism industry to find skilled workers in their local communities for any short-term shifts.
“For instance, if someone needed two waiters for a busy weekend at their restaurant, they can advertise the opportunity on m-Temp and find the talent they need,” said MD, Ntshabo Lehong.
How it started
m-Temp started in 2021 when Lehong applied for the Department of Tourism and the Technology Innovation Agency’s Tourism Technology Grassroots Innovation and Incubation Programme (TTGIIP) and was accepted to be part of the 2022 cohort.
“The idea came from my previous experience at a temporary employment services company in the hospitality industry after I noticed an issue with job seekers having to travel great distances and spend large sums of money just to drop off their CVs. The other problem I identified was recruiters having a challenge reaching talented workers effectively and in the right areas,” said Lehong.
How it differs from other products
m-Temp is different in that, unlike other job board/job listing platforms, it has a social first approach from the job seeker side.
“Job seekers are able to register their account, and access opportunities through our WhatsApp Chatbot, which is data friendly and readily available on mobile. Access to work opportunities in the tourism industry is difficult to find unless you are a white-collar worker.
“Another big challenge is that access to infrastructure and high data costs limit the amount of opportunities that skilled workers in marginalised communities can access. With m-Temp we aim to fill this gap and create greater accessibility,” said Lehong.
The vision for m-Temp is for it to one day be an on-demand talent-sourcing tool.
“Should anyone need a tour guide in two hours they would be able to find readily available pre-screened, skilled talent – effectively the Uber of talent recruitment,” explained Lehong.
Being part of the TTGIIP allowed Lehong to solve the first big hurdle – access to finance.
“One of the challenges we faced was articulating what m-Temp is, how we see it working and how we see it impacting the tourism industry. Having a completed product and being able to demonstrate it has allowed us to clearly articulate the offering to our audience,” she added.
She concluded that being in the top three for the challenge had validated what she had built, and enabled her to garner deeper relationships with the industry.
“We have had access to various opportunities which we will pursue both within the tourism industry and other sectors. We will be marketing m-Temp to a database of skilled labour through our relationship with the Department of Tourism, which will help us attract paying clients to make use of the m-Temp tool. We are also currently engaging with local partners on accessing various channels of financing and the Namibia Challenge has really been helpful in starting the conversations.”