Find out more about the two young talents who won the Singapore Computer Society IT Youth Awards.
Incensed at being paid only $10 for an entire day’s work a sales promoter, Mr Raniel Lee decided to launch his own jobsite to help youngsters earn more equitable wages from part-time work.
“I found that quite a big amount of the money which I should have earned went to the agency that got me the job as I was paid through them. My friends and I thought this was quite unfair and there should be a better way to link job seekers directly with employers.”
With guidance from teachers at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), where he graduated with a Diploma in Business Informatics, Mr Lee and his friends launched Jobook Singapore.
It is an easy-to-use platform that matches job seekers — mainly students and part-timers — to employers.
“It’s basically a B2B model and the job seekers are paid directly by their employers, eliminating the middleman and his costs. This allows the workers to be paid faster, and they should earn more."
"Ours is also quite a low-cost model so there is a cost savings for businesses who sign up with us as well. Although we only started in June last year, we already have 57 businesses, and more than 300 registered users on both our Android and iOS platforms,” said the 24-year-old.
The company, which operates out of the Nanyang Polytechnic campus, also offers other related services to help its young members get started.
“We find that many part-timers have not put together their resumes well, or they may be too narrowly-focused in the type of jobs they are looking for. Using our site’s algorithms, we help them create professional resumes which highlight their unique strengths to employers.”
Mr Lee said his team also offers free workshops for jobseekers.
“We analyse market trends and forecast possible opportunities for both full-time and part-time work. For example if we know that there are upcoming vacancies in a sector which require specific qualifications, we advise our members where they can go to pursue certain courses and get the right certification to make them more marketable.”
Working out the Answers
Although the company has just cleared the launchpad, Mr Lee is already looking into other ways of expanding the business.
“Another sector could be retirees and stay-at-home moms who want to earn some money in their spare time. Most of this work is seasonal. During Chinese New Year for example, companies are always looking for home-based staff to prepare mailers and envelopes, and this is where we can help match these companies with part-time help on our database.”
A self-confessed tech-junkie, Mr Lee said part of his motivation to launch his business was the desire to be financially independent. “The tech world is always changing, bringing new products into the market, and I like buying many of these gadgets. However it’s not just for fun. By playing around with new technology and emerging capabilities on handphones, can we ensure that we make the most out of these new opportunities.”
But in the end, this business is also about helping people, he said. “When I see teenagers land their first job, it puts a smile on my face.”
In recognition of his entrepreneurial skills, Mr Lee was named one of two recipients for the IT Youth Award by Singapore Computer Society at its annual IT Leader Awards 2016 event.
Now in its 20th year, these awards pay tribute to outstanding individuals who have made significant achievements in Singapore’s infocomm and digital media industries.
The other winner of the IT Youth Award is Mr Girish Kumar, who developed the automatic question generator slash revision tool "RevUP", after being inspired by a mobile game called QuizUP.
RevUP is essentially a study tool that automatically generates quiz questions — for teachers and students — with relevant content, by leveraging on cutting edge artificial intelligence algorithms.
Mr Kumar developed RevUP with the help of two A*STAR scientists. A provisional patent has been filed for the technology, and he is working on commercialising RevUP.
Photos courtesy of Singapore Computer Society (SCS).