FreshBooks, which makes online accounting software, and Fidelity Investments’ tech incubator Fidelity Labs, have launched the “Reshape the World” challenge, a contest for solutions that help the self-employed be more productive. As more firms develop niche apps and tools for their clients to use, this is an opportunity for those solutions to gain a wider platform.
Entrants will compete to show how their new product or service helps the self-employed. They will have the chance to win $30,000 in cash prizes and a fully paid trip to Durham, North Carolina. There, the winning team will display its product or service, meet industry experts, and receive mentoring from top business experts at American Underground, one of the ten Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America.
The judges are FreshBooks co-founder Levi Cooperman, Fidelity Labs vice president of product management Kim Langway, partner at Uncork Capital Stephanie Palmeri, executive director from Freelancer’s Union Caitlin Pearce, Natalie Sisson from The Suitcase Entrepreneur, and Doug Speight, executive director of American Underground. They were selected for their expertise in freelancer work, venture capital, startup acceleration and self-employment advocacy.
Competition hopefuls should consider the following:
· Products to help entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals run their businesses: For example, tools built to enhance customer acquisition, increase productivity, do more on-the-go or improve financial forecasting; and
· Tools that help people stay successfully self-employed: Examples include tools that help with money management, setting profitable rates, connecting with other small business owners, and back-office activities that smooth the transition from employee to self-employed.
“Self-employed professionals are on track to become the workforce majority within a decade, but the world is not yet built for them,” stated Levi Cooperman, co-founder and vice president of operations at FreshBooks. “Things that should be simple – like finding new clients, securing credit, filing for taxes or saving for retirement – are unnecessarily difficult today when you work for yourself. Our mission at FreshBooks is to reshape the world to suit the needs of self-employed professionals and their teams, and this challenge is an exciting way for us to support other entrepreneurs who share our mission.”
“While independent workers see many upsides to their non-traditional careers, one significant downside is the absence of a structured benefits and savings plan that is often simply built into traditional employment,” added Sean Belka, head of Fidelity Labs. “At Fidelity Labs, we are committed to improving customers’ financial lives, and that includes the self-employed.”
The challenge will run until May 25, 2018 and winners will be announced on June 8, 2018. Businesses can enter here.