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Aisha Pandor: Reinventing the Domestic Cleaning Industry

Aisha Pandor

Aisha Pandor, the chief executive officer at SweepSouth, a company some have referred to as the Uber of cleaning, is a woman who seems to have it all. Apart from holding a PhD in Human Genetics, she is the daughter of Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology. However, she left her corporate job and started SweepSouth, a company that has revolutionised the way South Africans hire domestic workers; using an app.

In an Interview with one of South Africa’s community television stations, Soweto TV, Aisha starts off by saying that she believes that, “It is new businesses that will generate the much needed new jobs in South Africa.” However, she hastens to add “While anyone can start a company, to run a company takes a lot of grit, where you can expect to fail again and again every day.”

The question still remains, why would a woman who is so successful want to take up a journey that she admits herself is full of grit and stories of failure. Her answer is simple, “I got frustrated with bad service” because every time she looked for someone to clean her house she was never happy with the job. Aisha Pandor explains that this is when the idea to start a company where domestic help could be accessed on an app, just like Uber, came into her mind.

For Aisha Pandor starting this company is what she refers to as “turning a frustration into an opportunity”. She also explains that it gave her a chance to get out of a corporate job that she “didn’t like.” So she and her husband, Alen, reasoned that the answer to the problem of many South Africans who find it a challenge to get domestic workers was to turn to technology. They created the app and SweepSouth was born.

How is SweepSouth different from traditional companies from which people can hire domestic servants? “It’s the use of technology,” says Aisha. SweepSouth created an online platform where customers book cleaning services when they need them without the need to have a contract with the cleaner. Hours are logged onto the app just like one would do when riding on Uber and the money is deducted from the customer’s credit card.

This system is a first of its kind and makes booking, managing, and paying for cleaning services something that can be done from any device with an internet connection. This concept is attracting the attention of funders. In 2017, SweepSouth reported they had received funding from the Silicon Valley venture capital fund for Africa: the Draper Dark Flow. Other investors lining up to provide funding include Smollan, a company involved in international retail solutions, a wealthy South African DJ, Black Coffee, Africa Angels Network, and Identity Development Fund Managers.

According to Aisha Pandor, “Since its establishment, SweepSouth has created over 1000 jobs and in 2017 alone paid over R20 million Rand (US$1.7 million) to cleaners.”

“SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT, SWEEPSOUTH HAS CREATED OVER 1000 JOBS AND IN 2017 ALONE PAID OVER R20 MILLION RAND (US$1.7 MILLION) TO CLEANERS.”

Pandor reports that at SweepSouth, they don’t think in terms of “domestic workers; we work with SweepStars.” She believes that the people who work on the platform are willing to provide the best service they can because they understand that they are part of the business and they know they can only get more work if they do a good job.

Aisha Pandor reports that at SweepSouth, they don’t think in terms of “domestic workers; we work with SweepStars.” She believes that the people who work on the platform are willing to provide the best service they can because they understand that they are part of the business and they know they can only get more work if they do a good job.

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