Winner of the Innovation Concept award for 2018, category for emerging enterprises

Maybee what SA needs are more ideas like MobeeWash

Talk about an incredible business and job creation opportunity, and little or no competition to worry about. There are 14 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in South Africa’s 10 major cities, a serious shortage of professional car-cleaning garages and an abundance of unemployed or unemployable people who could be trained in “detailing” (the proper term to describe top-notch car cleaners).

It’s a market just begging to be disrupted and that’s what MobeeWash has in mind.

“Instead of queueing to have your car washed, you book a time via the MobeeWash app and either arrive and find us waiting for you, or we come to you. I’m still tickled pink when my doorbell rings and its MobeeWash,” says Sean O’Connell, founder of MobeeWash and group CEO of its parent company, Bumblebee Consulting.

Other vehicle owners like to drop off their cars while they go to the gym or a quick meeting, knowing that their pride and joy will be gleaming and spotless within an hour. (Note that only waterless, eco-friendly products and steam are used, so there’s no water wasted or messy runoff.)

It has taken MobeeWash less than two years to attract 5 000 users in Cape Town, and now to enter the Gauteng market, Roodepoort having recently become the first city in the province to have a MobeeWash operator.

The part that probably makes Sean and his business partners proudest is that so far, MobeeWash has created jobs for 60 people who were unemployed and in some cases unemployable, whether through lack of skills, illiteracy or age.

“MobeeWash was born out of a dream to get South Africa working by embracing the concepts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and disruptive business philosophies,” he says, explaining that it uses NGOs and youth programmes to find the most suitable candidates – all unemployed or unemployable. 

“We provide full training and mentoring and an initial three-month contract. If a person performs, they become permanent.” Background checks are done on all candidates before joining the MobeeWash family.

As for the MobeeWash app, which is downloadable from the Google and Apple stores, Sean says: “I can’t claim to be completely unique because Uber and AirBnB thought of it first. But we believe there are massive opportunities in car wash markets locally and internationally. It would take 58 000 teams 30 days to wash every car in South Africa. Were we to seek to address just 3% of this market initially, we would create employment for 10 500 people.”

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