Apprentice star invests in student job-search app

01 February 2017

Zane Powell, left, and Lewis Pour have developed a job-search app for graduates.

Zane Powell, left, and Lewis Pour have developed a job-search app for graduates.

Entrepreneur and former Apprentice contestant Raj Dhonota has provided investment to support the launch of a new easy-swipe job-search app established by students from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Dundee. 

UniJobApp is an application and website dedicated to helping students and graduates find relevant internships, work placements and full-time jobs.

Childhood friends Lewis Pour, an Advanced Internetwork Engineering Masters student at GCU, and Zane Powell, a second-year Law student at the University of Dundee, were inspired by personal experience to design an easy-swipe app that allows students and graduates in Scotland to effortlessly match with employers.

The pair, who will launch their app in April, used the expertise of GCU’s UHatch business accelerator, an entrepreneurial hub initiative designed to support students, staff and alumni to develop their business skills and start up their own organisations.

“We wanted to reflect on typical challenges faced by students and local businesses in Scotland,” explained Zane. “Our research has shown that fewer and fewer students and graduates use standard recruitment sites.

“Current social media and recruitment pages are often unappealing to them too, as there is a lot of England-centric focus when it comes to employment in the UK. We wanted to develop an app that isn’t just beautiful and effective to use, but also one that focuses on the talent we have right here in Scotland.”

Lewis added: “Rather than just ticking boxes, our app allows students to filter the industries they want to work in, using the key skills they actually have. Likewise, it gives businesses the opportunity to find the talent that often has to look down south for employment.

“Small businesses sometimes lack the wherewithal to effectively market themselves and this app will allow a more genuine interaction between those in business and those wanting to get a foot in the door.”

The app will be made available for download via the App Store with the addition of a supporting website. A Facebook page has already been established to promote the app and has attracted 1,200 followers.

“Our service is completely free for students and graduates. It will also be free at the beginning for employers. However, after a certain amount of time, they will need to pay a very small subscription fee to have the ability to create and advertise bespoke job adverts, and to headhunt users.”

UniJobApp is the first app of its kind to solely target the burgeoning Scottish graduate market and has already attracted attention from investors, including first-series Apprentice hopeful-turned-successful entrepreneur, Raj Dhonota who has invested £87,000 into the app so far.

He said: “I decided to invest in UniJobApp for two main reasons. Firstly, I felt that it was an exciting proposition that has the ability to transform the way graduates are recruited and positions are filled. Secondly, I felt that Zane and Lewis had the right level of motivation and maturity to realise the venture's fullest potential. They are making great progress already and will have a great foundation to launch early this year.”

Professor Bruce Wood, academic lead for UHatch, said: “We were able to offer early stage support for this company, which has allowed them to develop and progress their business ideas quicker and more effectively. It is really amazing to see this company develop so quickly.”

One silent investor has also financed the app, while £1,000 has been awarded from the Santander Universities Entrepreneurial Fund to help grow the business.