From education to employment

The role of the gig economy in creating the next generation of entrepreneurs

Sébastien Pellion, Global Head of Impact & Sustainability at Glovo

In this article, Sébastien Pellion explains why businesses need to play a role in training gig workers for their careers.

For any business to be sustainable in the economic sense it needs to help those it works with to succeed too. In the world of Q-Commerce (quick commerce), that includes the couriers delivering your groceries, food orders and everyday essentials.

The explosion of the gig economy has fast established its workers as a vital cog in the global machine, to the extent that it is estimated to reach a global value of $455 billion in 2023. Yet there is a misnomer that gig workers don’t have careers or that their stake in the business is one without any longevity, despite them being critical to global growth. Whereas, the reality, for many, is that gig work is often a path for couriers to create their own business in the future. In fact, research conducted by Washington University found that when ride-hailing services launched in US towns and cities, it coincided with a rise in new business registrations.

However, simply being available in a location isn’t enough for those gig workers who may have the ambition, but lack the skills, to successfully start their own company. Business leaders therefore have a unique opportunity and obligation to help gig workers, nurture their entrepreneurial appetite and provide this growing workforce with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to make the leap and become business owners themselves – spurring further economic growth.

Champion learning from within

To enable these opportunities to learn and grow, business leaders need to be champions of training. Whether on-the-job or through dedicated activities, providing gig workers with easy access to learning opportunities is critical. But it cannot be a simple add-on. Learning functions must be a core part of the company’s mission, even to the point that funding becomes an intrinsic part of the balance sheet – potentially even enabling customers to play a role each time they spend.

At Glovo, learning and development opportunities are a core part of the business and are vital to how couriers like Margarita have been able to start their own business. Following a one-week immersion training course that specifically focused on the key aspects of entrepreneurship, Margarita was able to open her own supermarket – Menta y Limón – creating opportunities for others to begin earning too. The course gave Margarita crucial in-person training on finance, logistics and marketing she would have struggled to get elsewhere, meaning that even in its early stages, her own business is the beneficiary of Glovo’s experience and expertise – making it more resilient in the process.

By creating safe spaces to learn and test out new ideas, businesses can give gig workers the support and learning opportunities they want to help them grow.

How to kickstart training for gig workers

By the nature of their profession, gig workers operate flexibly, so will naturally want the services they use to work around their requirements. Businesses therefore need to offer training that can be just as flexible and suit couriers’ needs and availability.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is online learning platforms. These can be particularly useful tools to help identify which courses are of the greatest value to gig workers, and make onboarding new courses, such as introductions to a new language, digital marketing or even soft skills like stress management. An important aspect to remember is that, given they’re often on the move, gig workers will appreciate content that they can consume in bitesize chunks on a mobile device, not just a computer.

In-person training can also be valuable, as workers such as Margarita found to her benefit. However, consideration needs to be given as to when that training takes place. Evening classes for example may not be popular as many will be working and delivering your meals, so consider holding them during daytime hours when gig workers are less likely to be on duty and making them available via on demand recordings.

Enabling future entrepreneurs through learning

Regardless of the approach taken, businesses can play a pivotal role in helping gig workers on their path to creating their own future businesses. Mentorship, networking and potentially even investment can all help make one person’s dream company a reality. But crucially, they first need the opportunity to learn the necessary skills that can help that future business, even at the idea stage, be a success.

And, while not every courier is going to launch their own business, providing them with a range of training solutions can help them access new job opportunities that might not have been possible otherwise. They cannot do it alone, and it’s the responsibility of every company that can make a difference to do so. Ultimately, it benefits the individual, their community and the wider economy.

By Sébastien Pellion, Global Head of Impact & Sustainability at Glovo

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