SweepSouth CEO sweeps award at WEF Africa

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, which took place in Durban the first week of May, has recognised six entrepreneurs who demonstrate the positive role women are playing in creating opportunities and preparing the region for the fourth industrial revolution, naming them Africa’s Breakthrough Female Tech Entrepreneurs of 2017.

Aisha Pandor, co-founder and chief executive officer of SweepSouth, was amongst these winners and invited to contribute her ideas on boosting entrepreneurialism across Africa.

SweepSouth is a technology-based cleaning business that has created employment for more than 3 000 domestic cleaners that were previously unemployed and underemployed since it was funded in June 2014. Clients can use any device to book a home cleaning service online. The clients specify their needs and the app uses algorithms to estimate the hours, cost and match clients to cleaners in a matter of minutes.

The company charges R38 per hour, well above the minimum wage, and the cleaners keep most of it. All the cleaners go through a rigorous screening process and all SweepSouth cleans are insured. The Department of Labour adjusted the minimum wage for domestics, effective 1 December 2016 - 30 November 2017. Depending on the area they work in, domestic workers that work for more than 27 hours a week are to be paid a minimum hourly rate of R11.31 or R12.42. The department said this was in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

According to the International Labour Organisation about one million women in the South African workforce are employed as domestic workers, and they are amongst the least protected around the world.

When Vumela 2.0 launched in 2015, the fund was capitalised with R227 000 000. The Vumela Enterprise Development Fund was awarded a R127 085 774 grant by the Jobs Fund in 2013, which it matched with R100 million cash and R27 085 in kind, to provide capital to SMMEs as well as to provide the post-investment support required to reduce performance risk. SweepSouth received an investment of R10 million from Vumela.

Vumela seeks to leverage Jobs Fund money to create greater sustainability in the SME segment by building robust businesses that will “graduate” to traditional forms of financing post its involvement, resulting in the emergence of a mid-corporate sector. As they grow these businesses will in turn able to foster developing SMEs within their own supply chains.

SweepSouth was the first South African startup to participate in the 500 startups accelerator in Silicon Valley last year. The company has grown its footprint to three provinces and exceeded the one million hours of cleaning milestone.

The Jobs Fund would like to congratulate SweepSouth on its achievements and wishes them the very best with their plans to continue modernising the cleaning industry, create work for 10 000 cleaners, and expand its services.