<![CDATA[A big thanks to our colleagues at Intuit who co-hosted our successful symposium. So much information was imparted at the symposium that we’re posting the resources with a bit of context. Please check out the presentations and use the information with proper citation. For the short version, check out the Carolyn Said article “Entrepreneurs thrash out future of flexible work” that was in the San Francisco Chronicle. DATA, TRENDS, AND OPPORTUNITIES Marysol McGee, a Senior Community Development Analyst, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve presented Survey of Enterprising and Informal Work Activities. The Federal Reserve’s work looks at what the world of independent work looks like; who’s doing it; how much are they making; and what kind of work is being done. The report confirms and legitimizes what those of us who have been looking at this suspected – a lot of people are engaged in some kind of independent work, about 70 million or 36% of the workforce. Steve King, Partner at Emergent Research, has been working with Intuit to study the independent workforce for quite a long time. Their recent work focused on the financial hardships and safety net for this population. Some of the interesting findings include:
- Online activity is very much part-time at 11 hours a week or 22% of income.
- Many people doing independent work have full-time jobs that and are supplementing their income.
- Independent work is fairly volatile, which is a big problem.
- Forty-one percent of those faced financial hardship and were working in the gig economy to help make it through that hardship.
- Future research should investigate whether or not this is a stop-gap measure or if the trend will continue.
- Josh Garber, lawyer, UpCounsel
- Victor Sandifer, owner of Run the World Clothing, uses Lyft
- Terra Williams, owner of Duet Vintage, uses Etsy
- Brianna Williams, owner of Catrina’s Popcorn and 3 other business, uses various including: HomeGlow, DoorDash, Postmates, Envoy, Easy Shift
- Low inclusion – low-income entrepreneurs are trapped in the cycle of poverty and are left out of the economic development system.
- Lack of access – globally, low-income people have limited or no access to entrepreneurship education, mentorships, and capital.
- Costs to deliver and scale support services – entrepreneurship training costs money ($4,500/entrepreneur in the US); to scale and reach more people we need to reduce costs.
- Poor market linkages – loan providers that are looking for ways to connect to loan-ready borrowers and technical assistance providers are often disconnected from one-another.
- Uptima Business Bootcamp is a network of member-owned business accelerators dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with greater access to hands-on education, resources and community to create thriving businesses.
- We launched our first business accelerator in Oakland in 2014 to serve freelancers, small business owners and startup founders based in the East Bay. Over the next few years, we are looking to bring our unique member-owned business accelerator to more locations.
- Our business accelerators offer classes and business advising services for freelancers, small business owners and startup founders to get valuable training, mentorship and guidance to build thriving businesses. All of our programs encourage participants to take a holistic approach to developing business goals, looking at their impact on the individual and on the community.
- Our business accelerators are very different from other entrepreneurship programs. Each of our business accelerators is a cooperative, in which participants in the business accelerator have the opportunity to become a member-owner of the accelerator. This means that participating members are part of a real community that shares in their business accelerator’s profits and has a say in how their business accelerator is run.
- The gig economy can be an avenue for re-entry into the workforce for unemployed people. This type of work can rebuild confidence and CVs, and demonstrate workforce-ready skills.
- The current landscape is not set-up to harness the opportunities available in the gig economy as an economic channel for low-income, unemployed populations.
- What structural and/or programmatic changes are required to build a more supportive and inclusive gig economy in the context of the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem?
- QuickBooks Financing product journey: The mission is to fuel the success of small businesses by making access to working capital and expansion capital readily available.
- What has this journey taught us? Time is money. Opportunity to educate. Technology and innovation driving change. Cash flow is difficult to predict.
- What do we hope to see in the SMB lending space? Applicable technology, transparency, modernization.
- Small businesses fail primarily because they cannot access the right financing.
- Banks, which prefer lower-risk, higher-value loans of more than $100K, are not meeting small businesses’ need for credit.
- Alternative lenders fill the gap. Some lend responsibly – others are not the lowest, most affordable options for clients.
- The challenges gig workers face using Uber as an example
- Platform cooperatives as a solution. Platform cooperatives marry a digital platform with a cooperative ownership structure. This is where the users or service providers own and control a service delivery platform democratically. This results in better wages and working conditions for gig workers.
- Two examples of platform cooperatives: Green Taxi and Stocksy.
- Platform workers are shaping building blocks of the emerging platform economy—with important implications for platform designers, policymakers, and other workers.
- The building blocks are reputation, learning, rhythms, location, value, assets and identity.
- Specifically, rethink and redefine what job readiness means in the context of the platform economy.
- Have an ecosystem level view in order to understand platform workers’ complex hierarchy of needs.
- Find ways to categorize and segment work based on relationship to location.
- Fund programs that bolster income woven together from several streams.
- Understand the identities (and vulnerabilities) of traditional workers as they transition into the platform economy.
- Gig economy workers/entrepreneurs often do not have access to benefits and protections traditionally provided by employers, such as workers compensation, retirement savings, paid leave and others – potentially including health care.
- In order to match the reality of work today, we need an updated safety net that is universal, portable and pro-rated.
- Across sectors, experimentation is already taking place, for example through Care.com’s Benefit Bucks and the Uber-recognized/Machinists-led Independent Drivers Guild.