Have we got a gig for you...

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No, seriously.

Running a business certainly isn’t easy. Supporting entrepreneurs  is something we’re really passionate about at ATB, from building entrepreneur centres, to crowdfunding/crowdlending platforms and an accelerator program. Now we’re working on something that’ll allow entrepreneurs in Alberta to access quality talent from their computer or mobile device.

Just a few weeks ago, we launched a pilot of ATB Gigs: a way to connect Alberta business owners with people who can help them get stuff done. If it sounds really simple, that’s because it is. We want entrepreneurs to be focused on the important stuff, and in order to do that, we know there’s a lot of other work that has to come off their plates. But hiring a full-time employee isn’t always the answer. Beyond the fact that paying another full salary may be out of reach, chances are entrepreneurs need help in a lot of different branches of their business.

Whether it’s data entry, copywriting, event planning, emails, phone calls or folding promotional t-shirts for their next charity event, entrepreneurs can log into ATB Gigs, create a gig, and wait for the applications to pour in. For now, we’ve got a pool of students who have gone through an extensive hiring process waiting to perform gigs, but eventually we plan to expand to others as well.

One of our biggest focuses is on making this program valuable to everyone involved. The “gig economy” can definitely become a race to the bottom, and we don’t plan to let that happen on our watch. Yes, there are a lot of people who can perform tasks online for incredibly low (and potentially unethical) rates; tasks at ATB Gigs are performed by and for Albertans, and we’re committed to providing a living wage as the bottom floor.

On the flip side, we want to make sure that business owners are confident in the people they’re hiring to perform gigs. Our talent goes through a high calibre screening before they’re able to accept and perform gigs. And similar to other platforms like Airbnb, ATB Gigs will rely greatly on a ratings and review system to provide honest opinions before entrepreneurs click the “hire” button.

There are still a lot details for us to fine tune before the official launch, with variables we’d like to test along the way. For instance, we’re exploring a system to put a portion of students’ pay directly into savings or investment, while also making sure the platform offers a life-changing solution to business owners. One that allows them to customize the hiring process and think about their business in an entirely new way and find unique and efficient ways our ATB Gigs team can truly help the days flow better. One that can even work as an HR ‘testing’ tool, allowing business owners to “trial run” an employee, so to speak, before choosing to bring them on full-time.

Whatever entrepreneurs can dream up for their business, we want to be there to help.

ProgressJosh Posty