Lynk, a Kenyan start-up transforming the informal sector

Bureaux Lynk à Nairobi
Nairobi, Kenya
a Kenyan start-up transforming the informal sector
of the working population is employed in the informal sector in Kenya
active workers from the LYNK platform
In Kenya, as in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, the informal sector is omnipresent and very dynamic. 80% of the working population is employed in the informal sector.

It is seeing this potential of non-referenced jobs which gave the start-up LYNK the idea of making this nursery of professionals, artisans or specialists available to clients seeking high-quality services. The objective: connect supply and demand to help these skilled workers develop their activity.

A major challenge for me was to gain my clients’ trust and be paid

Julius Okoth, menuisier et membre de la plateforme LYNK
Julius Okoth, a carpenter and member of the LYNK platform
Lynk - ouverture de session
Confirmation de connexion à la plateforme Lynk
Travailleur informel à Kibera
Kenya’s economy is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, but its informal sector still accounts for 45% of total economic activity and over 80% of the working population is still mainly involved in the informal economy.

A new wave of entrepreneurs is taking advantage of technology and deploying new economic models that provide a response to the challenges experienced by these informal workers. Their aim is to give them a real status in the economy.

The young start-up Lynk Job limited was launched in 2016. It has developed a platform of online services which puts skilled workers from the informal economy in touch with individuals or businesses. The principle is simple: individuals or businesses which want to have works done or need a service go through the platform to find the right professional for them. Each professional proposed, whose skills have been pre-checked, then gets in touch with the client. LYNK currently has 1,000 active professionals and 3,000 clients have already called on its services.
Ouverture de session LYNK
LYNK has opted to present skilled and referenced workers on its employment platform on which each user can rate the service provided. There are currently 72 different categories.

The worker is selected on the website among the candidates able to perform the requested task. The choice is made by consulting the profile, but also depending on the price (set by the worker himself) and his experience. Lynk adds a commission to the price for its services. At the end of the mission, the worker is rated on a scale of 5 stars by his clients.

To reference its workers, LYNK organizes tests several times a week, to test their skills and talents. About 40% of candidates are selected. Some 1,000 candidates have been active on the platform since the website was launched. Over 17,000 jobs have been done for over 3,000 clients, who subsequently call on the LYNK workers again.
Julius Okoth, menuisier et membre de la plateforme LYNK
The risk in the informal sector is that any job can be entrusted to anyone at any price, even if they have no skills.

Yet there is a real demand to find artisans whose skills are recognized. Employers have no confidence and rely on recommendations from their family and friends, who do their best to guarantee the artisan’s skills, a competitive price and, especially, that the job will be done.

The artisan, for his part, is sometimes faced with unscrupulous employers who do not pay him, whereas he has done the job. Today, a professional who wants to offer his services no longer needs to write his mobile phone number on the wall of a building, or go by word of mouth... A qualified carpenter or plumber can now offer his services via the LYNK job platform.

He can get out of the informal sector thanks to new technology.

Julius Okoth, a carpenter by trade. “A major challenge for me was to gain my clients’ trust and be paid. Sometimes I used to do a job and when I delivered to the client they rejected it and didn’t pay me. When I tried to ask for an advance, they didn’t do it because they didn’t trust me and they used to ask: ‘Why should I believe you? I don’t know where you work.’”

Julius ended up rapidly developing his activity. He believes that it was not word of mouth which triggered this change. It was LYNK. He has conducted some 90 missions thanks to the platform.

LYNK provides a real solution to guarantee fair wages, job security and a safe working environment. The client can be reassured via the application. He can compare, book, pay, then rate the professional.

A relationship of trust is built and develops over time.
Lynk - ouverture de session
in which PROPARCO has invested USD 5.5m since 2017.

Novastar East Africa Fund is an impact fund which backs entrepreneurs in the region who develop basic services for the poorest in the education, health, food and water sectors.
Novastar East Africa Fund is a pioneering impact investor in Africa based in Kenya. This initiative came about through the meeting between three partners, Steve Beck, Andrew Carruthers and Kim Tan, who decided to pool their skills to back social entrepreneurship in East Africa.

The Novastar East Africa Fund aims to identify and back a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs, whose objective is to make essential goods and services accessible in East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda). It meets the needs of start-ups by offering minority equity investments right from the first development phases. The investment is made in several stages, which makes it possible to gradually support the development of companies. Furthermore, the Novastar team advises companies in the various stages of their development by being present in their governance bodies and participating in their main strategic decisions.

This project will ultimately improve access to essential goods and services for two million people living on less than USD 2 a day by financing twenty companies. The priority targets for goods and services will be education, healthcare, energy, food security, water and sanitation. More generally, it will contribute to developing social and innovative entrepreneurship in East Africa.


A report from Kenya, where the LYNK platform puts skilled workers from the informal sector in touch with individuals or companies seeking qualified services.