Aya Gigs: Unleashing African Talent to the World


Aya Gigs: Unleashing African Talent to the World

Aya has a different approach to talent. Leveraging the blockchain, the 100 percent remote company connects African talent to organizations across the world through its Aya Gigs platform, unlocking incredible opportunities for Africans to truly live borderless.

Eric Annan, founder and CEO of Aya—a name that means “resourcefulness and resilience”—says, in its short iteration since 2020, that the company has already connected African talent to companies in five different countries over three continents.

“We want to unleash the resilience and resourcefulness of Africans to the world,” he says. “And we are leveraging innovative technology to build tools that will enable African talent to be connected to the global marketplace.”

The platform does this through a tailor-made process that includes A.I. and the human element to match the right talent to the right organization. Aya assesses the needs of an organization very carefully by understanding its vision and desired outcomes and discussing these with the founder and executive team. It’s not simply a tool that gets people hired, it’s a tool that helps grow companies. More than that, it opens up the possibilities of the blockchain by providing true borderless financial inclusion.

Pishikeni Tukura, the co-founder of Aya, says that the company initially wanted to make it easier for freelancers and businesses to operate, especially in light of the latest research which indicates that the “gig economy” keeps growing, but then realized it needed to go even further because what has been lost in the African landscape is trust.

“Global businesses need the talents we have access to. We have the ability to bring those talents to them. But no one has been bridging the trust required. This is why we’ve gone into the business of building trust and can now assess an organization and tell them what they need, and then provide that talent to them quickly.”

During the late 2020s, Annan was part of a failed startup in the mobile money and cryptocurrency space. The product was good and the interest was high, but it simply didn’t take off. After growing through the experience, Annan realized that the missing element was that they simply didn’t have access to the right talent.

“We wanted to solve the payments problem for Africa using the blockchain. But after it failed, I wondered how we could still use the technology, but much more effectively. As I considered the issue of talent I realized that it’s not good enough just to build a platform where people connect—what’s needed is putting the right people together at the right time.”

Many founders of companies are not technically inclined and so, while they have a brilliant idea, they don’t have the ability to make it happen.

“Only a few founders can write code, for example, but imagine how many non-technical founders there are out there with great ideas but they can’t activate them.  There’s no shortage of talent in the world to suit the need, but there is a shortage of talent with the right mindset to suit the company they are working for. At that stage you need more than just a hire, you need someone who can help develop your company. If we can find that sort of talent quickly, efficiently, and easily, and connect them to the people that need them strategically, we are doing much more than just creating a hiring platform like Upwork or a cryptocurrency wallet.”

Tukura provides an example. A founder from Haiti who is building a blockchain solution needed a business analyst. After several hires that did not work out, she contacted Aya. Within 72 hours, Aya was able to put her in touch with the right person.

“She told us how it took almost two years to find the right person, and yet within a week the entire culture in her company shifted towards success and the vision was aligned. Not only that, Aya helped her save 60 percent of her hiring costs. She just could not believe that it could actually happen.”

As founders, Annan and Tukura know what founders need. “We’re curious, we’re adventurous, and we understand founders and startups. We share the vision with them,” says Annan. “Over 50,000 startups are born globally, and what happens to them? Often it has nothing to do with passion, ideas, or even resources. It comes down to people. And that’s why we want to step in and push these startups toward success, by connecting them with the right people.”

Aya wants to show the world the immense talent the African continent has, Tukura says.

“People don’t know the value of Africans because they haven’t been exposed to the right talent. Africans have the education, experience, skill, and everything that’s needed. However, it often comes down to opportunity and accessibility. We want to create that.”

“We want to be at the forefront of a new economic movement,” says Annan. 

As a result, Aya is looking to build a training pipeline that not only addresses skills but also a mindset. 

“To function well in a startup, you need to have an open mindset and respond well to chaos. To build trust, we have to bridge that gap.”

Aya Gigs can be accessed at beta.ayagigs.com. Join the community and sign up either as a business or a freelancer.

Comment (1)

  1. William Nyirenda

    Awesome Idea and I really need to be part of Aya.

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