Here is an overview of the construction industry in Kenya; the sector to a large extent is an informal sector. For most workers, there is no such a thing as a stable job, they move from one construction work to another, sometimes these jobs are far apart meaning some months possibly even a year, they have to seek alternative ways to put food on the table and pay their rent.
Ironically, there could be a construction worker in one part of the town trying to make end meets because there has not been any news of a construction site hiring. While at the opposite end of the town, contractors are short of construction men.
There is obviously a lack of a reliable information flow between contractors that have secured a construction job, with the construction workers. The two parties rely on a sort of word-of-mouth from friends and colleagues to find one another. Sometimes this system of information flow is not efficient and somewhat slow.
To address this shortcoming, two Kenyans, Flavian Bwire Ojiambo, and Irvin Karungu came up with the Mjengo254. Through this platform, these devs want to bring the professionals in construction business into one platform where they can easily find each other; architects, contractors, engineers, land surveyors, construction workers, and any other stakeholders.
The devs in a statement said, “We also want to help these professionals come close to their clients by their portfolios visible. It is quite evident that construction industry is taking Kenya by storm. In 2015, construction grew sharply by 14.1%.
However, a quick survey shows that most individuals seeking to take up construction projects such as homes, which has become a growing trend, do not know where to start from.”
With Mjengo254, builders, engineers, contractors, construction workers can browse through a huge database of those looking to hire and those looking for work.
“People tend to rely on referrals for professionals as well as service providers in this industry. They will ask for help from family members and friends on who is the best candidate to help them build their projects.”
One of the biggest challenge ahead of Mjengo254, and could make or break the startup is just how many workers will sign up and register to be in their database. The startup must embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to get the relevant stakeholders to sign up and support the platform. Otherwise, the platform will never take off as we imagine these devs wants it to take off.
Other than that, it is not exactly, a novel product nor the pioneer solution for that market niche. Other like Lynk.co.ke and Juakali.co.ke more or less serve the same purpose. So Mjengo254 have to roll up their sleeves for their product to get some traction.