Making a Marked Difference in The Lives of Unemployed Youth

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Leànne Viviers explains that Mintor is a first-of-its-kind chat-based youth development and employment platform. In essence, they develop chatbot tools that radically enhance HR performance and community impact. Their chatbots integrate with the most popular chat apps (e.g. Whatsapp, Telegram) and they therefore especially empower people who lack access to computers or data to apply for jobs, receive training, and benefit from other HR services.

Mintor provides businesses, government, and NPOs with chatbot tools that plug into their existing systems and then serve as an extension to efficiently communicate with and serve the jobseekers and staff that they engage with. Their chatbot tools include a CV builder, skills assessment, job application, applicant shortlisting, interview scheduler, time-and-attendance, leave request, and payslip issuing.

They also help companies to convert their existing training material into a chat-learning format and automate the learning process through a chatbot. For example, for staff onboarding, H&S, and policy training or work readiness training for jobseekers.

Leànne started her business because from a young age she had a passion for supporting youth bound by their circumstances. After 12 years of corporate and international development work in several countries, she decided it was time to leverage her skills to devise a solution that would make a marked difference in the lives of millions of unemployed youth globally. Six years ago she left her well-paid job and drew on her MBA knowledge to start a social enterprise to help neglected young talent realise their potential in a scalable and self-sustainable way.

What Leànne loves most about running her business is the privilege to be working full time on something that she is personally passionate about. She leverages that to direct the business strategy and priorities such that they make a difference where it is needed most.

One of the biggest lessons she has learnt on her journey is that simplicity is the new complexity.  She believes that it is more intelligent to synthesize your product or service to what matters most, than to try and do it all. She also thinks that relationships are gold and that it is therefore important to maintain proper and sincere relationships with customers /suppliers /partners /everyone, no matter what.

Leànne does what she does because she thrives on being challenged by a hard-core social issue and devising innovative processes, products or business models to address it. With youth unemployment being a detrimental crisis (700 million globally), she couldn’t think of a more exciting challenge to work on. She says that it isn’t always easy, especially if you have huge ambitions. However, what she has found keeps her going is surrounding herself with people that also care about the matter and celebrating every small win along the journey. She says that its incredible how much it means when you receive a thank-you note from a young person who got a decent job and is finally able to provide not only for him/herself, but also their family.

She believes that small businesses are the growth engines of a developing economy and therefore have the potential to create large volumes of jobs cumulatively. She says that unemployment in South Africa is, unfortunately, more of a crisis now than ever before and to add to the problem, small businesses are very volatile and can’t weather economic downturns as well as large entities.

If small businesses can’t count on their customers’ loyalty, they are at risk of closing down and that will only add to the unemployment stats. However, what makes small businesses special to Leànne, and why she supports them, in a personal and business capacity, is because they are most often integrated within local communities and provide jobs for locals who struggle to get corporate jobs due to lack of transport or qualifications. We all have many opportunities to keep small businesses going and growing – corporates, government, each of us as consumers – so let’s play our part! 

Mintor was selected as one of the Top 20 Winners at the 2020 South African Small Business Awards – brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

When asked about his experience as a Member of the NSBC, Leànne states: “The NSBC had been incredibly helpful to Mintor to gain recognition in the market nationally, which is especially valuable to a small business. The NSBC team has also been very helpful and responsive whenever the need arises. Thanks so much for everything you do to help elevate small businesses to the next level!”

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