As our country’s medical frontliners continue the hard work of keeping COVID-19 at bay, private firms have another war of attrition on their hands: the care and keeping of our entrepreneur-driven economy.

A recent report from the Department of Labor and Employment noted that well over a million workers have been affected by the temporary closures around Metro Manila these past few weeks. A majority of these workers hailing from the manufacturing, hospitality, restaurant, and tourism industries.

While government stipends and support systems for shifting business models online have helped mitigate some losses, some downsizing and closures are inevitable–and with them, job losses.

On-demand service and self-styled super app MyKuya has taken on that challenge by offerings its platform as a means for the recently unemployed and in need of additional revenue to find work.

Over the month of March, MyKuya has created job opportunities for nearly 10,000 people. Their recent job fair alone saw about 1,000 job-seekers flocking to the platform in under 45 minutes.

Through MyKuya’s platform, workers (called Kuyas and Ates) can offer their services for a variety of tasks, ranging from buying groceries, to standing in line to pay bills for you, or delivering or picking something up on a motorbike. Prior to the quarantine period, cleaning services, carwashing and massage services were also in high demand. Currently, the company serves the entire Metro Manila, with some areas in the wider Mega Manila area also starting to receive some support.

But MyKuya isn’t limited to just helping individuals out either. Through its platform, businesses like manpower agencies and traditional service providers are also able to scale up their operations by sourcing talent in real-time.

With communities across the capital region under lockdown, MyKuya saw a significant spike in demand, translating into a massive amount of new job requests created on the platform over the past few weeks.

“Since the lockdown started, we’ve seen more people signing up to be users on the app,” said MyKuya founder Shahab Shabibi. “Naturally, this means we’ve also been able to hire more Kuyas and Ates to be a part of our team as well. It’s actually during the enhanced community quarantine that we’ve seen our numbers swell up more than ever before. During the enhanced community quarantine period alone, over 2,000 have already gotten their MyKuya accounts activated and nearly 7,000 onboarded.”

Making a meaningful impact through jobs

“Many of the people we’ve seen signing up were actually from the industries hardest hit by the pandemic,” Shabibi said. “A lot of them were contractual workers, already living day-to-day.”

These are workers already in financial risk, so Shabibi says his firm has taken extra care to make sure the added health risks of working through COVID-19 don’t compound that problem.

“First thing is we always make sure those working with us are 100% volunteer partners, since there’s a certain risk that comes with being out at a time like this,” said Shabibi. “One of the safety precautions we then take is that we always make sure our talent has masks, sanitizers and alcohol whenever they go out and do their jobs. We coordinate with our Enterprise Partners to make sure this happens.”

Aside from that, Shabibi also details that temperature checks are regularly done, social distancing is emphasized, and only those under 45 are allowed to work at this time. 

“These measures ensure our talent can provide a valuable service while staying safe. This protects not only our team, but also the community that they’ll be interacting with.”

Shahab Shabibi says the middle of a pandemic isn’t exactly how he pictured the company gaining traction and creating real opportunities. But he is confident that MyKuya is ready to meet the needs of the times.

“We’re ready to onboard another 15,000 Kuyas and Ates,” he said. “After all, every new Kuya and Ate means one more person that we can provide gainful employment for. In turn, each Kuya and Ate can serve hundreds of Filipinos over the course of a month, people whose lives we can make that much easier. By becoming an Enterprise Partner, businesses can even quickly source talent and better manage the manpower they have.”

“Everybody helps each other out,” Shahan said. “Right now, what can be more important than that?”