As unemployment took a hard knock in South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the pressure became worse for unemployed graduates as only approximately 30% of graduates¹ find employment. This led to the birth of Gradlinc, a bespoke career development platform, and national database that was built with the aim to connect graduates and employers.
Founded less than three years ago, Gradlinc is more than a job portal. It is a one-stop shop for graduates seeking employment, employers having these opportunities available, and universities wanting to offer their graduates a strong foothold to kick-off their careers.
According to entrepreneur and project lead, Lizane Füzy, the idea behind Gradlinc was born out of the need for a more comprehensive career development tool, that was identified at Stellenbosch University which also funded the project through the Innovus division. Having closely worked with academic institutions in the past, the team saw an opportunity to collaborate with universities in helping their students find employment.
“This is a locally developed solution that offers a variety of opportunities for students ranging from full-time employment for graduates, internships, part-time employment and holiday work for students. What’s different about us is that we remove all the noise that other recruitment platforms have by creating a career development pathway exclusively for students to sign up while they are studying or once they graduate, even as postgrads,” she says.
“Most graduates don’t know where to search for opportunities once they have completed their studies, and employers don’t have the time to select the ideal candidate, as they receive thousands of applications, costing them time and money to shortlist. Hence, we created this one-stop-shop that enables university graduates to connect to existing opportunities by bringing employers and graduates together on one national platform, and at the same time offer a sustainable solution for universities’ career offices.”
However, like any other road to success, Gradlinc’s entrepreneurial journey has been ‘an exciting roller coaster ride’. While building the tech platform, the team had to overcome many hurdles such as funding, which has taught them that success is not achieved overnight and requires a lot of hard work and resilience.
Lizane adds, “Youth unemployment is one of South Africa’s biggest challenges, and while we can’t solve the world’s problems with one platform, we can start small. The graduation space made a lot of sense because we have close relationships with the universities, we thus began with graduate unemployment. We saw the need to make an impact in these young people’s lives because many graduates lack mentorship or career guidance, don’t have a lot of opportunities or come from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
Youth unemployment is one of South Africa’s biggest challenges, and while we can’t solve the world’s problems with one platform, we can start small.
The team maintains that technology has also played a vital role in their business as it is difficult to navigate the landscape of universities. The use of technology has therefore helped them to build a database and develop and connect with the universities’ IT systems.
Advising other entrepreneurs, Lizane says: “You must learn to block out the noise from naysayers and keep believing in yourself even though others may not believe in your idea (yet). But also remember that not all ideas are great ideas! The most important people to listen to, is your customers and what they need.”
Stellenbosch University agreed to pilot the Gradlinc platform to test the functionalities, but the platform will soon be available to the rest of the country when it officially launches towards the end of this year.
For more info, visit Gradlinc: https://gradlinc.co.za/
Contact the team: firstname.lastname@example.org
+27 021 137 1744
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