Ones to watch
A spin out of the National Domestic Workers Alliance Labs, Alia provides house cleaners in the US with an online platform for portable benefits – benefits that can be accumulated on a pro-rata basis across multiple employers. Alia works by enabling different clients to contribute to a single pot ($5 per job in lieu of regular gratuity), which can be drawn down to cover sick pay, life insurance and paid time off. Having successfully completed a pilot in New York, Alia will soon be available to clients and cleaners across the US.
Enrol Yourself hosts inclusive, local peer groups that support adults at times of transition by building their personal and professional resilience over 6 months. Participants set their own learning question that they pursue as a part of a mutually supporting cohort, which provides motivation and diverse perspectives, without the need for enrolling at an educational institution. Enrol Yourself has completed 5 successful 6-month programmes in London and Birmingham, and supported a peer group of UK Government Digital Service content designers. Having recently piloted a train-the-trainer model to be rolled out in 2019, their goal is to quadruple their reach from 75 to 300 learners.
A platform co-operative for cleaners in New York. Workers are given a say in organisational decision making and a share in any profits. They also benefit from pooling with others to reduce the cost of services such as marketing and the app helps to prevent wage theft from uncompensated cancellations. Up&Go only takes a 5% service fee as commission, compared to the 25% gig platforms such as Uber reportedly charge. In 2018, 40 workers from 4 different cleaning co-operatives received work through the platform.
A socially responsible approach to transforming the garment industry. Shimmy Upskill is an initiative by a garment manufacturer that upskills workers whose jobs are at risk of automation. Using AI, Shimmy Upskill teaches digital pattern making and 3D modelling to workers in their native language. As they learn, this builds up a digital asset database that manufacturers and apparel brands can use to speed up production processes and reduce costs, while workers are able to transition to the jobs the industry will need in the future. In 2018, Shimmy Upskill completed 4 pilots in New York and Bangladesh with a total of 21 participants.
Trezeo has been developed to help gig workers – and self-employed people more generally – weather the income volatility they experience due to unpredictable working patterns. Trezeo is an income smoothing bank account that tops up earnings during quiet periods, interest-free, to ensure a consistent pay cheque. It works by leveraging open banking and machine learning to understand income patterns and financial behavior, and model risk. Workers can sign up for a £5 per week subscription fee.
A gig economy platform for women in disadvantaged areas in Pakistan. The technology Mauqa uses overcomes the illiteracy barrier by using audio commands on simple (without internet) phones. In the first year Mauqa has been operational it has served more than 600 customers. The 25 women who have worked with Mauqa are now able to access training, transportation, bank accounts, health insurance and job opportunities that more than double their previous income levels.