CAPE TOWN – While 2017 was an incredible year for Fix Forward and our tradesmen, we’re looking ever forward and preparing for an even bigger 2018. With several key milestones on the horizon, the Fix Forward team are working hard to ensure that they continue to provide increasing opportunities for tradesmen to work, learn and grow.
We recently sat down with Fix Forward founder, Joshua Cox, to discuss the key focus areas for the year ahead. Josh identified four milestone projects which are first outlined and then discussed in further detail below:
1. To better understand Fix Forward’s impact using the Poverty Stoplight measurement tool. Fix Forward are conducting a baseline assessment with 25 tradesmen at the beginning and end of the year to measure the impact we’ve made on their businesses and their lives.
2. Launch our Web Application that will make it much easier for client to log a job, receive quotes and invoices and track the progress.
3. On-boarding 50 new tradesmen funded by Nedbank.
4. Preparing to launch Gauteng operations towards the end of the year.
Is this a Fix Forward initiative?
It’s not actually. It was developed by Fundacion Paraguaya in Paraguay and is now being used by non-profits and governments around the world. We created an alternate version of it together with the people from the Poverty Stoplight office in SA. This additional version is designed for people who are not living in dire poverty but there is still a big need for improvements of their quality of life.
Could you explain what the baseline assessment comprises of?
The original version consists of 50 indicators relating to health, infrastructure, services, income and a number of other categories. People do a self-assessment as to whether their situation matches the scenario for Red (dire poverty) Orange (poor) and Green (out of poverty). You can check out more at www.povertystoplight.org.za.
Is this purely for research purposes? What will come of the results?
We are using it as a tool to understand the real impact that our work is having on the tradesmen as well as to see what are some other areas where we can provide support. There is a baseline assessment done now and then a follow up assessment in a year from now.
When is this scheduled to go live?
We plan to launch in early February. The web app will be mobile-friendly too.
What are the key functionalities?
1. Log a Job; 2. Receive Quotes; 3. Track Progress and 4. Receive Invoices. 5. Provide Feedback. We have also developed an algorithm that matches clients to the most suitable tradesman for the job.
Can you elaborate on this partnership? How did it come about?
We approached them in 2016 and have been engaging with them ever since. Towards the end of 2017 they generously offered to fund the training of 50 new tradesmen in Cape Town and 50 tradesmen up in Gauteng, as part of their enterprise development spend. We are extremely grateful for this partnership. It’s a very exciting time!
How will the 50 tradesmen be selected?
We are using our usual vetting process, checking that the tradesmen are reliable, do quality work and are excited and committed to improving their business.
When are you launching?
We are aiming to launch in Gauteng towards the end of 2018, somewhere in the north of Johannesburg like Fourways or Bryanston.
There is a huge social need and a great business opportunity. Thousands of tradesmen need more business and the skills to become successful entrepreneurs. There is also a great deal of property development under way which presents us with a compelling commercial opportunity.
How will you ensure quality and consistency through the expansion process?
We are very focused on using the first 6-9 months of 2018 to develop strong business systems that can easily be duplicated to get consistency across Cape Town and Gauteng. Our app will also play a big role in ensuring that we deliver a great customer experience on each job. Lastly, we will be launching the Gauteng branch with a further 50 Nedbank-funded tradesmen who have all met our strict quality control standards.