It is often the case that entrepreneur experts advise those in their field not to think of regional expansion before their project has reached a certain stage of maturity, such as saturating the local market. But what if this maturity and regional expansion were linked?
This is where Egypt’s answer to LinkedIn comes in. Jobzella was launched a year ago and already its founders have decided to expand to the Gulf by opening offices and directing marketing campaigns in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Given Egypt’s political situation after January 2011, the closure of many companies and soaring rate of unemployment, the local maturity partnered with regional expansion was different to what might have occurred before. Their now large export of labor is feeding into the labor imports needed in the Gulf countries into which Jobzella wishes to expand. Add into that the UAE’s preparations to host the Expo 2020 and Qatar’s expected hosting of the 2022 World Cup, two events for which much labor is needed.
Check out how Jobzella works.
Established by former bayt.com country manager Nader El-Batrawi and bayt.com regional general manager Jamal Suboh, the Jobzella guys hired Khaled Elaimy as a CTO and later Khalid Ismail as an investor and member of the board of directors. With KI Angel as one of the leading VC companies in Egypt it’s owner Ismail acquired 15% of Jobzella in November 2013. Jobzella now also has 20 employees.
Job sites in the Arab world
The momentum of employment websites in the Arab region – the most notable of which are bayt.com, Akhtaboot, Laimoon, and Wuzzuf – did not stand in the way of Jobzella’s founders. On the contrary, the success of other sites motivated them to provide a platform that saves users time and effort when searching for a job.
How? For Jobzella they credit their development algorithm which relies on a search engine that searches major recruitment websites and the vacancy sections of international companies’ websites. This global trawl for information therefore is exposing job seekers to millions of jobs.
They don’t stop at jobs though, Al-Batrawi and his partners also link users up with education and training insitutions, in various fields, that are available online from the largest universities, both from around the world and based in Arab countries.
"In one year, Jobzella was able to attract 30,000 visits daily from all over the region,” El-Batrawi told Wamda. “Visitors browse 2.5 million jobs and more than 15,000 free training courses, while the total number of registered users has reached 85,000 members.”
The marketing challenge
When it comes to the challenges faced by Jobzella El-Batrawi identifies digital marketing as one of the biggest. The open budget forced the to look to their social network pages, in particular Facebook, which has now over 158,000 fans, as well as the publishing of advertisements in newspapers.
Their blog has also served as a source of awareness for users, employers and potential employees alike, regularly publishing tips on how to apply, how to hire, and other mechanisms to succeed in the job search.
How it works
Wamda had a go and signing up is really easy. It can be done through LinkedIn or manually. Searching for a job can be done by country, company, job title, or specialization. When it comes to a job one might like you can either use an “appreciate” icon on it or share the job through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus account.
Wamda also found that, despite its similarities to LinkedIn it was certainly easier looking for a job or educational course as the network is available in Arabic. Being able to communicate directly with companies, unlike LinkedIn, is also a plus.
While no one disputes the fact that LinkedIn is a professional networking giant, with all these extra features on Jobzella, we should expect to see
No one disagrees that LinkedIn is a global professional networking giant, but with all these additional features, shouldn’t we expect Arabs both in Egypt and the Gulf to rely on this version as an alternative?