Hey guys, its Mercy Omoregie on BeInspired Show. So today on the show we have a wonder woman. She is the Co-founder and CEO of Ibez as well as the founder of Handy-jacks. Handy jacks is a platform that helps connect Artisans with clients and customers. It’s a platform, I believe you should know. Meet Ommo Clark on BeInspired Show.
Tell us more about you and what you do exactly?
My name is Ommo Clark, I’m a software developer, I built software solutions. I’m a technology entrepreneur which means I run technology businesses. My business is called Ibez. At Ibez, what we do is build software solutions and we also train people to build software solutions. At the moment we have two products, one of them is called ‘Handy-jacks‘, which is a platform for people to find trade people, artisans around them. And we are also launching ‘Let’s Share’ very soon which is another product, online product that helps people find spare bedrooms to rent in a flat or house share.
How did you Startup Handy-jacks and why?
I started Handy-jacks because of the personal problems that I faced. About ten years ago, I moved back from the UK to live in Nigeria. And I rented a really fabulous place but it wasn’t that great and we wanted people to do work. I just couldn’t find anybody. We needed to get electricians, plumbers, carpenters, all manners of people, we couldn’t get nice people. And then eventually I meant a plumber. He was so good. And I asked him; “where did you learn? Your Oga must be very good.” He said he didn’t have any Oga. Then I asked where he learnt how to do the job. He said oh, that he went to technical college, I’m like where? In this Nigeria? He said yes. So I said you mean there are more people like you, he said yes. Then I asked “But why can’t we find you?” He said because advertising is very expensive, to take out a small space on the news papers, it will cost you so much… Then I said to him, what if I built an online platform where we can register you? And he goes; Ok, that would be fine. And I said but you will pay small money to register, and he said yes. And asked how much? And I said like 50k a year. And he said that’s not bad. But today we don’t charge anybody 50k a year. We charge people a lot less.
We started off in Lagos and now we’ve moved into Edo State as well. We are here in Edo State for two three reasons. First of all, We work with an International Development Organization and the Edo State Government as well. Apparently, Edo State have a problem like every other state in Nigeria. Which is unemployment, and there is poverty, and there is also the issue of irregular migration. But there are people that have hand-work but they can’t get work, So they asked us to come in because our platform can be a tool where they can find work.
When you register on Handy-jacks people who need your services can find you and you get work. You are independent, you don’t work for us, you work for yourself. At the moment, in Edo State, we’ve registered about 700 people. But then, we need some more people to come on board. And so, with Handy-jacks, and some similar platforms and with technology in general, there is no reason to be unemployed, there is no reason to say ‘I don’t have anything to do.’ Technology has made life so much easier for everybody in every way. So you register on Handy-jacks so you can get jobs.
I will tell you another story, in Lagos, we registered a carpenter, this guy registered using the basic package that we have. And his first job, he made eighteen thousand which is over a hundred percent increase. The guy couldn’t believe it, he came back and said: “I want to register again” and we said, ohh, but you’ve registered already, he thought it was a weekly thing. He couldn’t believe the money. And that’s what Handy-jacks is about. We help people get work, improve their lives and improve the community.
Considering the fact that some Artisans are not necessarily literate, How involve are these Artisans on the online platform?
In Handy-jacks, if you are a service provider, you can provide professional specialist services, you go on the platform and register yourself, but for the people who are not that tech inclusive, because this is what we stand for, contributing to digital inclusion, getting people included in the digital world. But if you are not there, you don’t really have to know much, Because basically, what you do is, you register online, then it’s the person that sits at home and need your services that comes to find you online. So if you don’t know much about Technology, you don’t know how to use it, you can come to us, come to our office, we will register you, do everything and people will still be able to find you. All they do is they call you and wherever you are, you get your calls.
You don’t have to be online, you don’t have to have data on your phone, and that’s another reason you could also come to our office, because people complain ohh, they don’t have money for data.. Ok, that’s fine. Come, we will register you.
It’s a beautiful platform. I must say. Congratulations ma.
Thank you. And I built it myself. So, people that says women can’t code, this is just to show you that women can code. Coding is gender neutral. Coding doesn’t know whether you are a man or a woman. For Handy-jacks, nobody gave me the idea, I came up with the idea myself. I did everything that I did there myself. We have functionality in the system that no other platform that I know of in the world actually does. We do competent grading.
When you register on our platform, we do a skill assessment test to find out what your skill level is, and the system puts you based on the algorithm that we’ve coded into the system, into 1-5 competence levels. And the reason for that is not to shame anybody. It’s just to know, ok, where are you at, we do not want you to remain in the low level. We want people to keep improving. I don’t know any other platform in the world that does that.
That’s great! As a Software developer, how would you describe software development, website design in Nigeria?
Website design is a sub-set of software development. Software development is not matured in our country. We have a long way to go. There are so many gaps in the process and my main business IBEZ, that’s why we actually came about. Because when we came in here, we discovered there are gaps. People do not build what we called Robot software, good quality software, functional software, people are still going abroad to buy software. And even when they buy softwares from abroad and brings it into Nigeria, there still need to be many modifications.
In the last few years, from what I noticed, there is a lot of focus on coding which is good, but that’s not the full picture. Software development is not just coding. Coding is a part of it. Software development is a process. Yeah.. There are so many things you go through before a software can be built. Analysis, design, then coding, then testing, before you implement it, then you have to continue the support and maintenance. In our country, we do not do analysis, a pocket of people are doing design but not nearly enough. A lot of persons are learning coding, but what you discover is they are learning the front end web development type codes and not really strong solid package codes that you can use to build the business application. And then, people do not test.
Software development project do not fail because of incorrect code, they fail because of inadequate requirement and not enough testing. So, we have quite a long way to go.
What has being the challenge so far, first as a software developer and as an entrepreneur?
As a software developer, it is finding people with the right skills, with the right technical abilities. It’s being a challenge. We have a lot of people that learn how to code, but they don’t necessarily know how to build software. And then, as a small business, Founders always talk about this, funding. When I started my business, I knew I had the technical skills, but I did not plan. Went to start business, for five months, not even ten kobo. So I had to go back to the drawing board. I’m a software developer, so marketing is not my niche. But then I had to learn how to manage, how to plan money, what are my payment circles, you know, really building a well structured business. As an entrepreneur that was my key challenge, not planning before I started. It’s still tough, but we are learning.
Can you mention for us, one or two persons that inspires you in the tech Industry?
Okay, I like Bill Gate. I like to be like him. Mark Zuckerberg has done well too.
What’s your vision for the platform in the next five years?
In the next five years, we want to be in all Nigeria states. We want to have a minimum of at least 2000 Artisans registered in the platform in every Nigeria state. All of them getting regular work! The platform is for poverty alleviation. It’s for people to improve their lives, it’s for people to get work. It’s not necessarily for me to make money, although, obviously I have to eat. But it really is to improve our economy, it’s to improve the lives of people. So, we want to be everywhere. We want people, Artisans, service providers, trades people, technicians to be getting regular work via the platform. We want to see their lives improved, we want to see their lives getting better. That’s the vision.
What would be your advice as a tech person and as an entrepreneur to young and promising entrepreneurs out there?
I will say, if you have a dream, go for it! But it’s not all about the dream, not all good ideas make good businesses. Like I said before, you have to plan. You have to think about it. Sit down, what do you actually want to do? How would you go about it. Plan very well and be patient.
It’s not yahoo, it will not come overnight, you have to keep doing the work, put in the effort and eventually it will pay off.
Alright guys.. It’s been an inspiring session with Ommo Clark, Founder and CEO of Handy-jacks as well as Ibez. So now, are you an Artisan or you know one? Here is an opportunity for you to get visibility online and get more customers.
Visit the website today and be registered!
It’s Mercy Omoregie onBeInspired Show, see you next week Monday.