ICUBE Startup Experience Grant in Action: Socio App
ICUBE’s latest startup aims to empower freelancers New app Socio helps service providers leverage their skills and talents
Flexible models of working are gaining popularity as technology gives people greater opportunities to work any time, and in a way that suits them best.
“In the current job market, you have a certain limit on the amount of money you can make,” said Ehsan Ghiassian, CEO of Märet Corporation, a Markham-based IT company. “Our mission is to empower individuals to take their work and their destiny in their own hands. That’s what we stand for.”
Märet’s latest app, Socio, allows service providers to advertise their freelancing services – from personal grocery shopping and plumbing to guitar lessons and house cleaning – to their local communities. The app lets users sell their services, set their own prices and work on their own schedule.
“This is a tool that connects individuals and gives them the opportunity to monetize their skills and knowledge,” said Ghiassian, who began his career in programming and network administration before founding Märet and launching Socio in 2018.
Not only does Socio connect service providers, it enables participants to enter and leave the market whenever they want.
“Many people have barriers in terms of getting into the job market and a lot of people don’t have the connections and the network,” he said.
But with Socio anyone can download the app, list their services, and browse for talent.
To get started, service providers go through a short vetting process where they are required to fill out an online form describing who they are and types of services they want to do.
“They might have to provide some additional information such as a police check and insurance forms depending on the services,” said Ghiassian.
It takes about five days to process the application and get approved.
After downloading the app and setting up a profile, service providers can list their services, price points and schedules.
Socio also has a customer support team that can help users figure out what they need to do. Freelancers can also reach out to Socio directly to get help, available through online chat.
For now, Märet is focused on onboarding 1,000 service providers such as students. “We are trying to bring part-time job opportunities to help them make extra cash on their schedule,” said Ghiassian.
“First, we start by scaling our services that require less qualification and eventually we will add more services like medical consultation.”
“In a year from now, I see us operating in the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.” ICUBE connects students with work opportunities
Still in the early stages of development, Märet is looking to grow their team with the help of ICUBE’s Startup Experience League (SXL).
To help offer students paid, experiential learning opportunities, ICUBE created the SXL Grant with funds awarded by the Provost office at UTM to help startups cover up to 75% of the cost of hiring a UTM undergraduate student.
This allows founders like Märet the opportunity to hire bright talent at a fraction of the cost and work towards scaling their business faster than they would be able to otherwise.
Currently 18 startups, including Märet, have applied for the grant creating 22 jobs for students! (Current positions can be viewed here.
Students enrolled in the SXL Certificate program have the opportunity to work alongside entrepreneurs and startups based at UTM, and have access to space and workshops facilitated by ICUBE’s experienced mentors. The volunteer and paid opportunities offered by the SXL program provide students with exciting experiential learning opportunities.
“I am very fortunate to have come across ICUBE and Märet Corporation,” said Daler Aliberdiev, a UTM undergrad student heading into his fourth year in Digital Enterprise Management. Aliberdiev started his career in sales four years ago and has worked in banking, fitness, marketing and event planning.
“My job as a visual marketer is to make sure service providers know exactly what Märet Corporation is and how they can use our platform for their own benefit.”
Meanwhile, startups such as Märet have a readymade database of talent that they can turn to if they need help with web development, marketing and other smaller tasks.
When sharing about the program, Ghiassian said, “ICUBE presented me with this amazing opportunity about hiring new talent and giving an opportunity to students so it’s a win-win.”
ICUBE, The home of Social Entrepreneurship at UofT, offers resources, programs, workshops and mentorship for people who are changing the world. If you want to make a difference, ICUBE is here to help you make it.