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Afriwork (Freelance Ethiopia), the popular Telegram-based job portal, is expanding its services to Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The expansion aims to provide Freelance Ethiopia’s cost-effective HR solutions to a wider audience, specifically catering to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in these regions.

The startup is set to adopt a similar product and business model, tailoring it to the nation’s unique needs.

“We will initially focus on creative sector and administration services jobs to gain momentum and then expand to include other job categories. Additionally, we will utilize WhatsApp to connect contractors and workers,” said Semegn Tadesse, co-founder and CEO of Afriworks Freelance Ethiopia.

The genesis of Freelance Ethiopia dates back to 2018, when its four co-founders encountered challenges in hiring freelancers in Ethiopia. “We couldn’t easily find freelancers, and there was no platform to facilitate the process. So, we decided to create our own job posting platform,” shared Semegn. What began as a simple job posting platform has evolved into a thriving ecosystem where people consistently earn through the platform.

Freelance Ethiopia targets SMEs, filling a gap in the market. Traditional job portals in Ethiopia charge high fees, making them inaccessible to many SMEs. Freelance Ethiopia offers an affordable alternative.

Initially launched as a Telegram channel connecting businesses with freelancers, the platform expanded its services to include part-time and full-time employment as employers’ needs diversified.

Through its Telegram channel, boasting nearly 200K subscribers, and a Telegram bot, jobs are posted, and applications are submitted. Since its inception, Freelance Ethiopia has facilitated 70,000 successful matches, onboarded 300,000 users, engaged with 15,000 SMEs, and seen a daily traction of 60–90 job posts.

The platform has recently adopted a freemium model for employers, while it remains free for basic features are available for free for the first 5 job postings, and users can opt for premium services, starting at 400 birr for a single post.

“We also offer various pricing options and a subscription model for businesses,” adds Semegn. Currently, the platform is generating revenue and has achieved profitability.

Addressing payment issues faced by contractors, Freelance Ethiopia is developing an Escrow service. This neutral holding place ensures that employers put funds in escrow until the freelancer fulfills their obligations, providing security and transparency for both parties.

Furthermore, Freelance Ethiopia is gearing up to launch version 3.0 of its product. This updated version includes a web application, an Android app, and bots, all interconnected within the same product ecosystem. Providing multiple platforms enhances user accessibility and convenience.

The co-founders behind Freelance Ethiopia are also the same team behind Armada, an agritech startup providing diversified agricultural mechanization services to Ethiopia’s farming community. Armada offers machinery rental, mechanization personnel training, spare parts, and maintenance services to farmers, agricultural machinery owners, and agricultural input providers.

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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.