Chigozie Okwara: Connecting freelancers to business opportunities
Chigozie Okwara is the founder and chief executive officer of Softwork.xyz, a freelancing platform that connects freelance professionals across Africa to businesses that require their services.
Chigozie is a serial entrepreneur as he manages two other businesses in the agricultural and real estate sectors.
He was inspired to set up Softwork.xyz after he could not find a freelancing job when he needed one.
As a result, Chigozie thought of having a platform to address this challenge and help others facing a similar problem.
He saw it as an opportunity to make a change rather than a perennial problem without a solution and, in 2018, he established Softwork.xyz.
“It was hard sourcing for freelance jobs when I needed one because I also had school work to handle,” the young entrepreneur says.
“So, I went online and signed up for some international freelancing platforms to enable me to get to know the freelance jobs available online,” he further says.
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Chigozie says that the process of getting a freelance job online saves time and stress, revealing that he was easily connected to jobs when he went online.
“I kept on getting freelancing jobs on international platforms for about six years until last year-2017- when I decided to establish a freelancing platform where Nigerians and Africans can handle freelance jobs done and shared by us,” he explains.
The young entrepreneur started the business small and was able to build his own website.
“I build websites, so I didn’t have to hire anyone to build the platform for me, I only requested assistance from fellow tech friends when I needed help,” he says.
“Most of the money spent on the business was used for branding, marketing, logistics and in acquiring an office space,” he explains.
Since starting in 2018, his business has grown tremendously and has connected over 5,000 freelancers across various skill-sets with clients.
He currently makes his money by charging 15 percent commission on all jobs got by the freelancers through his platform.
He explains that the business works by connecting freelancers that have signed up on its platform and share their portfolios with clients in need of their services.
He says the business plans to sign up over 100,000 freelancers across the continent by the end of 2021.
He adds that the business plans to have a strong presence across cities in Africa in the long term.
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Highlighting some of the major challenges faced by the business, he says poor power supply has impacted negatively on his business.
Also, inadequate access to cheap funds has also limited his business. He urges the government to pay more attention to tech entrepreneurs and create more access to funds.
Similarly, he calls for investment in critical infrastructures to aid industrialisation and growth of the Nigerian economy.
Chigozie says that the Nigerian tech industry is evolving and has contributed largely to the growth of the economy.
“The tech industry is very broad and there’s enough space for everyone to fit in,” he says.
“The biggest thing I and my team have done is to be unique in our approach to solving the problem at hand and, automatically, that stands us out,” he adds.
On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says, “Start from whatever level you are with whatever resource you have and just keep being consistent. Other Levels will surely be unlocked as we grow.”