Māori tech business Jobloads pivoted its original business during lockdown and has just developed a digital solution that connects pre-verified workers with horticulture industry jobs.
At its helm is Candice Pardy (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Ngāti Porou) whose busines idea came from the challenges she faced trying to find a reliable labour supply for her Gisborne persimmon orchard.
“We believe that there is dignity in every job and people can find mana at work. But it can be difficult to balance and uphold the mana of people in the workplace when the temporary labour supply system hasn’t been working right or tika for a long time.”
“This imbalance led to our team developing a digital solution that removes the friction workers and businesses experience when they work on seasonal jobs together,” she says.
Supported by a $150,000 Te Puni Kōkiri investment, the Jobloads app gives prospecting workers a free platform to choose when, where, and how they work. For small businesses it takes the hassle out of hiring as they upload their jobs and get matched to the right workers without the worry of contracts and CV checking. It also tracks job information to pay workers and invoice customers.
Candice says her original business Carloads connected workers with transport to be able to carpool to work - but then Covid hit and it was challenging to share a ride with those outside of your bubble.
“Now we have an oversupply of people who need jobs plus displaced people from tourism and hospitality. I am looking at partnering with iwi as we have shared interests in supporting the employment, training, and development of Māori, particularly members impacted by Covid,” she says.
Te Puni Kōkiri Māori Growth lead Chris Barker says they wanted to invest in Jobloads to help it scale-up after being introduced to the business by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
“It’s a really innovative Māori tech business that could be a real game changer within their sector. They have a strong Māori kaupapa to how they run the business, but also the whānau centred approach to the tech service they developed,” he says.
Candice says while she’s a force for business it’s her passion to do something good, especially for Māori employees.
“I was one of eight with a solo Mum and most of my whānau didn’t have a great start. I think that builds resilience, but lacking clear role models was the thing. I know we can create role models through the platform,” she says.
“We want to help people improve their career opportunities. Wahine Māori and Mums are the hardest working, so we are looking at life-friendly work options for them. We also log the employment history to try to improve the base pay rates of workers. A lot of the seasonal workforce are stuck on adult minimum wage but as an employer, I would pay more for quality and reliability,” she says.
Candice says that although the platform is about seasonal, temporary labour she ultimately wants opportunities through Jobloads to inspire people to transition to permanent employment too.
“I’ve stood in the shoes of the worker and the business owner, so I deeply understand both sides of the frustration. I believe that we can create optimum conditions where all parties can thrive,” she says.