KUALA LUMPUR: Three companies - Pay:Watch, Versa, GetHyred – showcased their solutions to improve employability and financial health among gig workers at the Apec Virtual Finance Ministers’ Meeting (AVFMM) on Sept 25.
Their solutions focused on innovative means such as app-based training modules, income smoothing solutions and accessible savings instruments.
The Financial Innovation Gig Economy Challenge was launched in March and funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 (Innovate, Implement and Impact) programme.
The three were among the more than 100 submissions globally, according to joint statement issued by the partners Apec 2020 Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and the United Nations Capital Development Fund.
Pay:Watch partners with employers and banks to provide workers instant access to earned wages, in real time, before pay day.
By providing gig workers with access to low-cost financing from major reputable banks, Pay:Watch minimises the likelihood of gig workers having to turn to informal lenders.
Versa is a digital cash management platform that provides returns on par with fixed deposits, but with similar liquidity as a savings account. This helps gig workers get the best out of their idle cash responsibly, while meeting liquidity needs.
GetHyred is launching a gig marketplace coined as “Zasss” to match young gig workers to income-generating opportunities.
Zasss complements a myriad of skill-building platforms established by GetHyred that encourages young gig workers to develop a variety of skills and expertise.
According to the statement, the World Bank’s findings showed Malaysia has a growing gig economy with 26% of its workforce being self-employed or operating independently.
Much of this is driven by the on-demand gig economy, where a substantial portion of work is found through ride-hailing and food-delivery services.
The gig economy is characterised by flexible working hours and greater employee autonomy.
However, the short-term and non-binding nature of the relationship between the platform operators and its employees can be challenging for gig workers.
The challenge was in line with Malaysia’s focus under the Apec Finance Ministers’ Process on mitigation and recovery measures in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It seeks to leverage digitalisation to support business viability and promote sustainable economic recovery.
To recap, Pay:Watch, Versa, GetHyred were among the more than 100 submissions globally.
From that, 10 teams were chosen to participate in an intensive, eight-week bootcamp and innovation programme, with Malaysia serving as a testbed to refine these emerging ideas to improve the financial health of gig workers in the Asia Pacific region.
Over the course of the programme, the companies were accorded various support to enrich their solutions, including insights on the gig economy in Malaysia, human-centred design tools, access to industry players and mentoring from respective subject matter experts.
During the final round of pitches, a panel of judges selected the top three solutions that would receive further support from UNCDF to test and scale their solutions with gig workers in Malaysia.
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