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Employment

Paid internship and financial health start-ups win Covid recovery grants

The latest winners of Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Challenge are Udrafter and Hastee, which will each receive £200,000 to support the post-Covid recovery.

A paid internship marketplace and a financial health platform will receive grants of £200,000 after being named winners of a Covid job recovery challenge.

Udrafter and Hastee scooped the top prizes in Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Challenge, with the cash set to help fund new projects aiding job and finance recovery.

Innovation fund Nesta launched the challenge last year in response to the financial devastation caused by the pandemic and has now handed out £3million for a range of projects.

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Udrafter, the winner of the job stream side of the challenge, is an online marketplace connecting students and graduates with businesses who can offer paid micro-internships, breaking the cycle of unpaid work experience. Afterwards, students are able to print out a certificate which they can then use to bolster their CV. 

Udrafter has also recently launched a new mentorship project focused on helping young people into work specifically in the post-pandemic era as job selection processes become increasingly competitive.

Mentors have the role of coaching students to adapt to the current job market and create opportunities for themselves. 

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Managing director Daryll Morrow said: “There is a surplus of job-seekers and a deficit of degree relevant work. To stand out from thousands of others you need insights beyond the generic and readily available careers advice. A mentor can provide that.”

The winner of the financial stream of the challenge, Hastee, facilitates employees’ access to a portion of their pay as soon as they have earned it rather than having to wait for the pay check to come in. As such employees can escape the pay-check cycle which has the potential to encourage loans and financial stress.

Marketing director Jamie Hockin told The Big Issue: “Giving people the option and flexibility of when they receive their pay can help avoid high-cost credit which is often the start of the vicious debt cycle.”

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Hastee has also recently launched Nudge, a financial education platform which is free for 16-24 year olds. 

The Nesta prizes were staggered, with 14 semi-finalists also receiving funding at the end of 2020 and six finalists receiving £150k in May. 

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