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Profile of Aisha Pandor – SweepSouth founder

Aisha Pandor’s entrepreneurial story began, as so many do, with a bad service experience and the thought that she could get the job done and much better. While looking for a short-term domestic cleaner to assist during a family holiday, Pandor was directly confronted with the inefficiency, disempowerment and inadequate pay of domestic workers. She and her husband and now business partner, Alen Ribic, began to brainstorm ways to disrupt the industry, using technology to do so.

After just a few short weeks of planning, Pandor and Ribic quit their corporate jobs and plunged into the creation of SweepSouth – an online platform that allows homeowners to book cleans at a time and regularity that suits them. Inspired by on-demand services like Uber, SweepSouth allows cleaners to sign in and out of the platform according to their schedules and location. Once a clean is completed, both parties rate the other – ensuring that any problems on either side of the transaction are highlighted and tracked.

Two years on, SweepSouth has initiated over 50 000 cleaning jobs in three cities – Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. The majority of the cleaners on the platform are women, either previously unemployed (71%) or under-employed (29%). The company itself is run mostly by women (90% of the current staff), and headed up by a remarkably empowered and invested CEO. The problem of economic disempowerment amongst women in South Africa has likely never had such a promising team on the job.

The popularity of the platform – at times a challenge to keep up with – is not the first taste of success for Pandor. She has previously blazed trails for women through male-dominated scenes; her formal education was spent in a lab, where she completed a PhD in human genetics before turning her attention to Business Management. In 2012 she was awarded the South African Women in Science Award for her research on hereditary diseases and was placed on the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Young South Africans.

SweepSouth kick started Pandor’s career into the tech scene. The online service requires an enormous amount of co-ordination and intelligent design – not only balancing supply and demand, but also in making the correct connections between employers and employees. For example, SweepSouth takes cleaners’ locations and access to public transport into account when setting up jobs, cutting down the cost of transport and improving efficiency.

The platform’s tech design has attracted attention on a global scale; earning recognition and honours from industry giants TechCrunch and the international 500 Startups programme. The latter saw Pandor and Ribic selected to spend four months in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, learning from and sharing ideas with veterans in the tech business field.

The initial goal – to disrupt an outdated industry and empower the women who work within it – remains the guiding pillar of SweepSouth. Signs that the business is addressing very real needs and a serious shortage of employment are seen in the sheer growth of the platform. Since launching, the company has seen month-on-month growth in the double digits and that’s set to reach even greater heights when it launches in Durban later this year.

 ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Beverley Houston

beverley@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617

On behalf of SweepSouth:

Founders: Aisha Pandor

2 Comments

  • I Was Stunned By Aisha’s presentation today.. What a phenomenon young woman.. Really inspired.

    • Thanks Shaun, Aisha is very inspiring indeed! Regards, the Be-cause team.

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