Financial Innovation Gig Economy Challenge Launch: Driving Financial Health for Gig Workers April 24, 2020

APEC Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) launched the Financial Innovation Gig Economy Challenge. The challenge is funded by MetLife Foundation through the i3 (Innovate, Implement and Impact) program.


The challenge calls for the submission of innovative solutions to improve the financial health of gig economy workers, in support of the theme and priority areas of APEC Malaysia 2020, particularly under the Finance Ministers’ Process. These include 1) optimising human potential towards a future of shared prosperity; 2) the longstanding focus on financial inclusion; and 3) democratising the digital economy.

In contrast to the traditional economy set-up, the gig economy is characterised by flexible, temporary, or freelance jobs with irregular income and working hours. Fueled by the digital revolution in recent years, the growth of the gig economy is set to continue. By 2023, the global gig economy in gross volume terms is expected to increase from USD200 billion to USD455 billion. This shift in the employment landscape introduces new sources of financial risks that, if left unaddressed, may leave gig economy workers vulnerable to financial shocks.

Malaysia as host of APEC 2020, calls for the pursuit of balanced and sustainable economic growth, along with fair and equitable wealth distribution across all segments of the population, including those engaged in the gig economy. The challenge is therefore aimed at seeking out innovative solutions that help secure the economic and financial well-being of gig economy workers through the four pillars of financial health – spending, saving, borrowing and financial planning.

Solution providers across all APEC economies are invited to submit their application from today until 11 May 2020 at www.uncdf.org/finlab. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in a four-week “accelerator” programme to further develop and refine their solutions with assistance from specialists. At the end of the programme, the panel judges will select three applications to receive grants and an opportunity to pilot their products in Malaysia. The selected applicants will have the chance to showcase their solutions at the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in October 2020. Further information about the challenge can be found in the official website for the challenge at www.uncdf.org/finlab.

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