Forasna, a Cairo-based platform for blue-collar jobs and Taskty, an Egyptian online marketplace for home services have been selected as regional finalists for the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC). The finalists were announced by MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy yesterday.
The two Egyptian startups are the only organizations from MENA to have made it to the final sixty for MIT’s 2019 global future of work prize.
“Over 500 judges from across the globe selected 60 exemplary inclusive innovation organizations representing the best future of work solutions on the planet from a field of nearly 1,900 registrations from 116 countries,” said MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy a statement.
The 60 Regional Finalists now proceed to regional events in five regions – US & Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia – where they will pitch their solutions live to a Selection Panel of regional innovation experts. Twenty Regional Winners, four from each region, will then proceed to the Global Grand Prize Gala at MIT on November 21 where $250,000 will be awarded to each of four Grand Prize Winners.
Both Forasna and Taskty have been selected as Finalists in the IIC Skills Development & Opportunity Matching category in the Africa region so there’s a very good chance that we’ll see a regional startup amongst the twenty regional winners as the Selection Panel will select one winner from each of the four categories from all the regions. The other three categories include Financial Inclusion, Income Growth & Job Creation, and Technology Access.
Forasna, which is a BasharSoft (the company that also runs Wuzzuf) platform, is focused on helping people find blue-collar employment opportunities in Egypt and along with Wuzzuf (which is for white-collar professionals) has helped over half a million people find jobs.
Ameer Sherif, the co-founder and CEO of Basharsoft, speaking to MENAbytes, said, “Forasna’s vision is to empower and serve the less privileged youth population of the Middle East and Africa to efficiently find better work. We use advanced matching algorithms to make the job matching process more efficient, and provide access to job seekers through web, mobile, and even a hotline for job seekers with no internet access, which make our service accessible for all people.”
“We believe that our technologies and solution for youth employment matchmaking can do huge impact well beyond Egypt’s borders. Being selected as a finalist in the MIT IIC is only further proof of the impact of our technology solutions for employment,” he added.
Taskty is a home services marketplace that offers 20 different services including cleaning, painting and plumbing in Cairo and Tanta. The startup has over 500 active suppliers which includes both freelancers and small service agencies. Over 75% of Taskty customers make repeat orders on their platform.
Ahmed Galal, co-founder and CEO of Taskty, speaking to MENAbytes, said, “We are really happy to be qualified. MIT is doing great efforts to support the entrepreneurs in the emerging markets. With the top quality feedback we got from the judges we can say that a huge effort has been made to select the finalists. We are looking forward to attending the finals in Addis Ababa to win and expand our network deeper into Africa.”
NaTakallam, a New York-headquartered, founded by a MENA founder, is also among the finalists. It connects individuals and businesses with talented refugees who provide language (and translation) services and was one of the winners of MITEF Pan Arab Startup Competition 2016.