GoodayOn: Revolutionizing Employment in Ethiopia
This is the journey of a marketing automation company that provides data-driven work for service providers. Loline had a brief conversation with the co-founder and CEO of the GoodayOn, Al Abreha.
It is common for an average Addis Ababa dweller to see advertisements posted on electric poles, building walls, and even house doors (unpaid, of course). It can be very frustrating to see these ad posters all over your neighborhood. After comprehending the problem the people and the small businesses posting such advertisements are facing, a business idea sparked and led to the founding of GoodayOn. Al Abreha, the co-founder and CEO, agreed to spare us the time and share his journey in founding the company.
“I saw the city filled with uncontrolled advertisements,” Al Abreha says, speaking about his observation. “This problem is not just in Addis Ababa but also in regional cities, and the government can’t control it.” The biggest problem is the lack of a digital presence for businesses to advertise their work and be noticed, leaving them to post ad boards everywhere they can. And as a business grow, so does its billboard.
Another issue with businesses not having a digital presence is that people can not get the item or service they need. People can’t confidently say where or from whom they can get what they desire. For example, if you want to have something repaired in Addis, you have to call around or find someone in your vicinity. This process is a hassle. It is a rather simple problem with a simple solution. So one of the reasons behind Gooday is to create a digital presence to solve this problem.
Around Two years since its launch, Gooday has 17,000 workers with an application download of more than 30,000, and in the past 18 months alone, Gooday has connected 150,000 employers with gig workers. The GoodayOn application collects location data to match people with gig workers based on proximity. Apart from the application, Gooday also has a call center. people can call on the number 9675 and let them know what kind of worker they need, and based on their location, the on-duty call center agent screens the available workers and connects them.
The platform’s name, GoodayOn, has an interestingly clever meaning behind it. ‘GoodayOn,’ can be pronounced in Amharic as ‘ጉዳዮን,’ which is an Amharic word for ‘your errand’. The name is a creative wordplay that clearly indicates how the company will help people get things done. “It is always a good day when someone is able to do what they planned hence a ‘good day on,’” Al Abreha explains.
On GoodayOn, people can find workers willing to do gig tasks like house cleaning, cooking, running errands, and several other duties. It also contains jobs that require more specialization and government certification, such as plumbing, electrical, and installation works. The variety of skills people offer through GoodayOn makes life so much easier for any employer.
The principal purpose of Gooday is to be a marketing automation company, providing data-driven work for product or service providers and showing them how they can build a customer base for it. It is a technology that takes time to build because it needs lots of data and experts to create an understanding of every sector and industry. Therefore, they started the gig work platform as a first step to understanding the market.
The general technological trend in Ethiopia caters toward the economically capable and technologically literate, which is not the case for most gig workers, so they are left out of the grid. The mission of Gooday is to use innovation to improve the living standard of people with lower income and make sure no one is left behind.
With the lack of infrastructure, awareness, and digital literacy, tech adoption has always been challenging in Ethiopia. Gooday also faced this problem when it started. The first week they launched the GoodayOn app, their team planned to onboard around 20 gig-workers. And of the registered applicants, only one person had a phone capable of running the app. After this encounter, the company built a system where gig-workers could get their services via a call center. People not widely adopting digital payment systems has also been an issue this company has faced.
Works like house cleaning and cooking are in high demand, but there has been a mismatch with what the supplier can provide. There has been a decline in interest in the traditional live-in maid services, and instead, workers now prefer to work at various homes on their schedule. A cultural shift needs to occur to accommodate this outlook from employers.
Safety can be a concern for both employers and gig workers. Al Abreha says there are no fake accounts on the platform. If someone wants to register on the app, they need a profile picture and verified contact information. Using these details, employers can do further investigations to decide who they want to hire. Gooday also instructs workers on how they can keep themselves safe.
Every business goes through some bureaucratic issues, and Gooday is no different. Although improving, policies need to be more conducive and convenient for business practices and tech innovations. But Al Aberha has a very different outlook on this than most; he says, “I believe startups should be the guiding light for others that may follow. They should force the government to create an environment that accommodates them because of the value they bring. Then the government will learn how to regulate these kinds of situations.” His statement shows that despite the adversity, Gooday strives to become successful and be an example for other startups on how anyone can make the best of unfavorable situations.
Al Abreha told us that the business he is in is highly scalable and is uncharted territory in Ethiopia. One of the plans of Gooday is to expand its service outside of Addis Ababa into other Ethiopian cities. Soon they are focusing on providing subscription-based service for business-to-consumer transactions and offering premium memberships for gig workers. They are also working on providing telemarketing services for business-to-business deals.
The hiring process of the company highly reflects its working culture. The main requirement for hiring in the office is the candidate’s behavior and attitude. Not much emphasis is given to previous experience because the company provides training in using in-house developed working tools. They look for how the applicant would fit in the office culture and how well they communicate. The office energy is very dynamic. For example, when the company successfully connects workers with gigs, the team celebrates with claps and whistles in the office. That is the kind of energy and culture they have, Al Abreha says. This enthusiasm coupled with hard work is what Gooday relies on to make the impact it set out to achieve.
Gooday has a set of values that makes the company unique. Its huge ambition to better the lives of many Ethiopians is what is pushing it forward every day. The company’s unofficial philosophy can be described as ‘the simplest solution is the right solution.’ They came up with a simple idea and executed it when many others would only think about all the things that could make it unfeasible. The GoodayOn app is the first step in revolutionizing employment in Ethiopia.