The UK freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour is making £10 million available for small businesses to spend on hiring freelancers via its platform.
Freelance sign-ups on the PeoplePerHour platform have already risen significantly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The £10 million investment is intended to help both small businesses and freelancers maintain continuity and prevent loss of earnings. It will be used to provide support to small businesses to help them acquire free freelance resources. Businesses will be able to hire one of the 2.4 million freelancers who have signed up to the platform for any new project.
The lockdown means that remote working may be the only way for some businesses to survive. By helping businesses explore the potential of the freelance workforce for free, PeoplePerHour says it hopes to support both SMEs and freelancers to weather the storm.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and ceo of PeoplePerHour, said: "As long-standing supporters of small businesses and the self-employed, we feel it's our responsibility to step up to the challenges that this virus presents to our community. Acting together, we are stronger than one. We are absolutely committed to supporting our community as they fight to survive this crisis in any way we can."
The pandemic has triggered a significant rise in the number of people looking for freelance work. In the first 16 days of March 2020, PeoplePerHour experienced a threefold rise in global sign-ups, compared to March 2019.
Thrasyvoulou added: "No one could have foreseen the dramatic effect that COVID-19 would have. But it's at times like this we need leadership, and we need to stick together. Across businesses. Across communities. And across national borders. That way, we'll all come out of this crisis stronger, and ready to face the future."
Written by Rachel Miller.