Earlier this week innovation foundation Nesta announced the launch of a £2.8 million Rapid Recovery Challenge in partnership with the Money and Pensions Service and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, to help improve access to jobs and financial support for workers hit hardest by COVID-19, including those in low paid jobs, younger workers, and workers in insecure roles across the UK.
Fintech companies, as well as charities and other organisations, are encouraged to enter their innovative solutions for a chance to win up to £475,000 in the 12 month challenge that looks to identify the most promising solutions and back those that have the greatest to potential to help people access financial assistance more easily, manage their cashflow or access affordable credit.
“COVID-19 has created a huge economic shock,” said Ravi Gurumurthy, chief executive of Nesta. “Millions face severe threats to their job security and household finances, and we know that low-paid workers, people in insecure roles and those under 25 will be hit hardest. I’m looking forward to seeing the range of solutions innovators develop to address these issues and support those whose jobs and finances have been most impacted by the pandemic.”
To mark the launch of the Rapid Recovery Challenge, Nesta conducted research to reveal how COVID-19 is impacting those in low paid work, younger workers and those in insecure roles, such as gig workers or those on temporary contracts.
The research found that, since the pandemic started, vulnerable workers in these groups are twice as likely to be working fewer hours compared to people in more stable work (26% compared to 13%) and nearly a third (32%) say a second lockdown would send them over the edge financially.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, CEO of the Money and Pensions Service said “The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified the money worries many people face, but particularly for young people and workers on lower incomes. It’s vital that those worst hit can now access the right support and start to find a way forward with their finances.
“We’re pleased to help fund this initiative, which supports the decade-long goals set out in our UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing to enable everyone – including those in vulnerable circumstances – to make the most of their money and pensions.”
Entries to the challenge are now open and close on 26 October 2020. Solutions submitted to the Rapid Recovery Challenge must already exist – at least in prototype form – and must have been piloted with a minimum of 1,000 users.
Two winning projects will be announced at the end of the programme in September 2021.