Tiago Borges Coelho
Who can benefit from this study?
Civic Tech initiatives
Organisation responsible for case study:
Org. type: For-Profit/business
Biscate: Connecting workers with opportunities in Mozambique’s informal sector
Main Project Location: Maputo
Project country/countries: Mozambique
Project dates: –
Last updated: 23 March 2022
Brief overview of the Case Study
Biscate (meaning odd jobs in Portuguese) is a platform using inclusive technologies such as SMS, USSD and web to connect skilled workers from the informal sector with customers. The platform allows informal and often uncertified skilled workers located throughout Mozambique to register and advertise their services with a basic phone using USSD technology. Biscate offers potential customers access to a register of workers arranged by trade, location, and experience.
The challenge or problem
There are limited employment and income opportunities in Mozambique. On the other hand, informal sector is well supplied with skilled handymen in need of better work opportunities while the middle and upper-middle-class citizens need affordable and credible handymen services.
UX Information Technologies Co-Founder Frederico da Silva also reckons that alternative conventional methods to access information on job opportunities were either on “word of mouth, or boards on trees or walls, both are free, however, the former is limited in terms of options while the latter is not always trustworthy due to the lack of a referral system.” (extracted from Disrupt-Africa).
The solution that was implemented
The Biscate platform enables informal and often uncertified skilled workers throughout Mozambique to register and advertise their services with a basic phone using USSD technology. Handymen services such as plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, hairdressers etc. are able to register on the platform for their services. Once a job has been completed, customers can rate workers, further enriching Biscate’s database.
Biscate charges a small fee for worker registration, and a premium price for contact requests from customers. The platform also offers a series of B2B solutions, such as online advertising space, access to worker database subscriptions, and a bulk SMS advertising system.
How does Biscate work?
Workers register through their mobile phones by dialling USSD code *777#. Workers input the following information: name, gender, trade, location, level of education and experience, which is captured using a series of menus, most of which use numerical inputs, which are easier to manage for this low-literacy group.
Customers download the native iOS or Android app or visit the website and search by trade, location, and ratings to select the worker that they need.
The customer receives the selected worker’s contact details by SMS and connects with them.
The worker performs the requested job and gets paid directly by the customer.
The customer rates the service provided by the worker in terms of quality, price, and time.
What results were achieved?
As of July 2017, the 14 team members at Biscate have attracted more than 46K workers to the platform, connecting them to more than 28K customers through a total of 83K contact requests across Mozambique’s 10 provinces. Eighteen different trades are available on the platform with the 46K workers. (extracted from gmsa)
At the launch of the platform, UX co-founder Frederico Silva said the app will play a transformative role in Mozambique, tackling the difficulties faced by professionals in finding opportunities. (extracted from Disrupt-Africa).
Since its launch, Biscate has been leveraging the power of mobile technology by offering workers and customers access to the service through three different mobile channels: a mobile-responsive website, a native mobile app (both on Android and iOS) and a USSD service. The latter is by far the most popular among workers with an average of 3,000 daily USSD sessions being recorded on the platform. (extracted from gmsa)
Through the platform excluded segments will increase their job opportunities and income. Bistate is considered a social inclusion app that provides unlimited opportunities to people on informal sector regardless the status and location.
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