Ruud, Miranda and Martijn Schippers - Jongerenuitzendbureau JAM
JAM is turning the world of temporary employment upside down: we don’t wait for businesses to fill their vacancies, but let them select available young people directly from our online database.
Companies can use this innovative online platform to invite young people via the instant matching system, meaning they can hire extra manpower straightaway during busy periods, or get people in on a daily basis. Staff shortages are a thing of the past, and entrepreneurs can get on with what they do best.
“We are the missing link when it comes to acquiring work experience"
JAM gets young people in the region working
The road to JAM’s office - the online work platform for young people - meanders through the Brabant countryside. It is an area dominated by cornfields, but business premises often emerge unexpectedly above the rural landscape. The scenery matches JAM’s philosophy perfectly, or, in the words of co-owner Ruud Schippers: “We are the link between demand and supply in the region. Companies like to employ kids from local villages, while young people really appreciate a diverse job close to home; and their parents and the local municipalities certainly approve. JAM puts an online platform at the disposal of everybody involved.”
The JAM concept was born in 2012, when Ruud Schippers was in the first year of his Bachelor studies at Tilburg University. His brother Martijn was still at secondary school, and sister Miranda was in the second year of her applied sciences program. "At that time, we were in the exact same situation as a lot of young people who now work through JAM," says Ruud, looking back. "We all wanted to work on Saturdays to make some extra money, so we helped out in our parents’ company. However, there always seemed to be either too much or too little work, which required a lot of ad hoc decision-making.
Then we started to think about how we could organize things better, and match demand with supply. We eventually came up with a website where young people could let businesses know they were available, and where businesses looking for temporary workers could find them. JAM does the exact opposite of an employment agency, since we publicize the supply rather than the demand.”
From failure to success
A website specifically aimed at the Bladel region was built. "And it was a massive flop," laughs Martijn Schippers, "not because the idea was bad, quite the opposite! The customers we talked to thought it was a great idea. However, instead of using the website they would call us on the phone, while the whole point for us was to avoid being intermediaries. That was the role the website was supposed to fulfill: a place where young people register their availability, and companies can ‘book’ them directly."
So JAM had to design a ‘Website 2.0’, as Ruud Schippers calls it. "With a really clear message, and much easier to use." The ultimate goal was to put young people and businesses in touch with each other within 30 seconds. "The whole structure of the website had to be designed perfectly for us to do what we promised. We had to throw quite a bit of money at it, a lot in fact! The site had to work, because it was the basis of everything.
“And that’s exactly what happened," says Martijn Schippers. "The site was now well designed, and the full-service concept was particularly clear. Both companies and young people can see how it works, and what it can do for them. From that moment on the tide turned, partly because we were able to start putting all our effort into acquisition.”
The region is at the center of JAM’s approach. “There is a different attitude to work there. It is much more difficult for young people in villages to find work and gain experience at a company in an industrial area than it is for those who can just knock on the door of the local supermarket or bar. We’re making it easier.
By getting young people working in companies in or near their home village, we are giving them the opportunity to earn some money on the one hand, and to see what they actually like doing on the other. At the same time, they gain work experience. The advantage for companies is that they get motivated manpower in the workplace quickly, right when they need it."
Motivated? "Yes, because there’s more social control in a village than in a city. If you don’t care about your work, or get seen in a bar at 2 in the morning when you have to start work at 6, it soon gets around, so people tend to be more responsible. On the other hand, hard workers get noticed too."
JAM’s regional approach is filtering through to municipalities and schools, according to Ruud Schippers. "We can see this in the support they offer. They are particularly aware of the social benefits. Young people gain work experience, and it often helps keep them in their home villages. They find out that there are opportunities for them there, too. That is why we deliberately keep the ‘online job markets’ small. A regional manager usually deals with a maximum of two municipalities. Eventually, JAM should spread like ink across the whole of the Netherlands. Within two years, we want the JAM concept to be active in all the villages in North Brabant. Next we can expand to Limburg, followed by Zeeland, Gelderland, and so on."
On the rise
After the ‘false start’ with its first site, JAM is now on the rise. "It's working," says Martijn Schippers. "Young people can use an app on their cellphones to show when they are available. They can also accept work, fill out their timesheets online and see how much they have earned. For businesses, this version of Booking.com for hiring extra hands from the neighborhood when they need it is obviously ideal. Taking on new employees is much too expensive. We offer an affordable, suitable, and rapid solution. And people are really waking up to it."
“We have been working on it fulltime for more than a year now, and the team has grown from three to nine employees," Ruud adds. "The system is all ready to be the Airbnb of the labor market, because by including reviews, the best people automatically rise to the top. That is why we’re now completely focused on expanding the platform. Every week, we interview potential regional managers who want to roll out the concept in their own region.
JAM is basically Ruud, Martin and Miranda Schippers. "Yes, we’re very deliberately a family business," they say. "It's great to do this together using our shared experiences and knowledge. We figure everything out, encounter all kinds of problems and solve them ourselves, together. We’re enjoying success together!" Even so, they got in touch with Starterslift*. "Actually, we found out about it through our network. After the first start, we decided that a business plan wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Starterslift showed us the way, and they also review our new plans very critically."
"That is what we need," says Ruud Schippers. "Of course we made mistakes at first, but that’s part of the process. Anyone who wants to start up something by themselves should just get on with it, in my opinion. You do need to be bold, but don’t be put off by the market.
Our advantage is that we are young, so we can get away with the odd mistake, but you mustn’t make a habit of it. We are developing very quickly, both in terms of the business and personal growth, and we keep pushing the bar higher. Deliberately! That keeps us on our toes and motivated, especially when it leads to success. In that respect, we are confident about the future."
*Starterslift has continued under the name Braventure
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