CAPE TOWN - Aisha Pandor's difficulty in finding somebody to clean her parents home sparked her interest in the industry and led to her establishing a home cleaning service business.
Pandor co-founded SweepSouth to become one of a few black female tech startup chief executives.
The former scientist who holds a PhD in Human Genetics has changed SweepSouth to one of the fastest-growing startups in the country.
Pandor says she dumped a lucrative career in academia to start SweepSouth with her husband Alen Ribic.
"I worked in a few different industries consulting businesses on their challenges,” she says, “But I started to ask myself about impact as well and the impact I would have on my personal capacity as an employee versus an entrepreneur and decided to resign."
Pandor says she saw a number of gaps in the cleaning industry. Pandor also boasts a postgraduate degree in Business Administration.
She says she ventured into management to understand the intricacies of the business world and her stint at Accenture made an impression as she advised clients on HR management, digital strategy and supply chain management in the telecommunications and mining industries.
But after two years, she decided to establish SweepSouth as an on-demand tech platform that connected vetted unemployed and underemployed domestic workers with homeowners who need their services.
Her company launched in June 2014 and has operations in Cape Town, Durban, Joburg and Pretoria to provide work opportunities for thousands of women.
She says she saw an opportunity to address problems such as accessibility through technology.
Pandor says she built the business to tackle unemployment or underemployment among experienced domestic workers .
and in a situation where there are about a million people who are registered domestic workers in South Africa, there was an unemployment rate of about 30 percent.
"You have 300 000 people who are looking for work and that is a big group of people who are experienced, so we wanted to first address that group. An important part of our value add is the fact that we do all of the vetting. We are kind of checking and vetting throughout the whole experience, then ratings also on both the cleaner who we call SweepStars, both the cleaners side and the customers side. So just as customers are rating the service that SweepStars carry out SweepStars are also rating customers and making sure that people are behaving well in terms of inside their homes."
She says the future goal is to grow the business throughout South Africa and to expand to other African countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.
She credits her husband, a software developer, with taking SweepSouth to new heights..
Pandor says entrepreneurship involves patience and understanding of human nature.
"What we need to do is look at opportunities, look at potential opportunities, look at problems that we can solve, it is important for people to understand basic finances, basic financial literacy really well and then to put yourself out there."
- BUSINESS REPORT