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Creating 1 Million Jobs for Filipinos with MyKuya

Updated: Jun 21, 2021


Community-Centered Services Right in Your Hands


It has been oft-repeated that Filipinos provide some of the best workers for the world. But with many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) back home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our heroes of the Philippine economy have limited opportunities to earn a living. Enter MyKuya, a platform created by local technology company Machine Ventures that aims to provide on-demand help to service-seeking businesses and individuals by matching them with trained and capable workers. Founded by Iranian turned honorary Filipino Shahab Shabibi, MyKuya was inspired by the concept of bayanihan, that state of unity where community members pitch in to help get a job done or contribute to building things the community needs. He and business partner, Farouk Meralli cofounded MyKuya’s parent company, Machine Ventures, five years ago, inspired by the Filipino warmth and spirit.


SHAHAB SHABIBI

“I admire the fact that despite the difficulties of life, there is an unbreakable chain of unity within Filipino communities. Through MyKuya, we plan to build and support community-centered services to provide opportunities for those who deserve it and empower them,” says Shabibi. “We want MyKuya to be a mobile app that can benefit every Filipino.” Shahab draws inspiration from the resilience and kindness of the Filipino people, he says, “We believe that creating the digital infrastructure for human capital ultimately with a mission of creating one million jobs would be probably the biggest thing we can do to make the Philippines more prosperous for everyone. All of that because of the lesson of resilience and kindness that I learned here.”


MyKuya links customers with professionals who can meet their needs for specific services at reasonable rates, through a user-friendly interface on their smartphones. With consumer and enterprise solutions, the app provides access to Kuyas and Ates (big brothers and big sisters) who are available to assist with a variety of daily errands, making the app users’ day-today lives easier and more efficient. Through it, you can find an electrician to rewire your home, a carpenter, plumber or mason, cleaners, or even someone to go out and do grocery runs for you.

The app also offers immediacy. You can find a MyKuya partner to provide the needed services in seconds with the assurance that users can keep within their budgets. “The rates for the per-hour jobs, such as cleaning, are computed from when the Partner starts the actual work,” Shabibi said. More importantly, it bridges the livelihood gap that labor-exporting countries like the Philippines are experiencing now — with its expatriate workforce returning home due to the pandemic. Skilled workers who once sought their fortunes in foreign countries now have an app that will harness their skills and match them with fellow Filipinos who need them. “


MyKuya provides opportunities to anyone who wants to work, and will be honored based on merit, skills and grit”, says Shabibi. “Imagine communities that could flourish if they had the chance to be connected to this growing value chain; especially for women who deserve equal opportunities just like anyone else. We believe that we can make this country a better place.”


All the services available in MyKuya are provided by franchisees or logistics companies that use their platform. In turn, these franchisees create sustainable livelihood for their workforce by providing training and support to the workforce, while offering the services that consumers and enterprises need. Some kuyas and ates are salaried employees of their franchisees while some have revenue-share agreements. Shahab and his team believe that “the future of work is on-demand and rather than us doing everything by ourselves, we focus on empowering businesses who can grow with our technologies, while helping create jobs and provide the needed services. We believe that’s more sustainable and scalable in the long run.”


41-year old Bobby Sta. Lucia, a former OFW with three kids, is now a happy MyKuya partner. Before joining MyKuya, he was struggling to make a living peddling goods from junk shops. His earnings were barely enough to sustain his family, and things got worse during the lockdown. “Nang ipatupad ang lockdown, nag-alala ako kung saan kami kukuha ng pang-arawaraw na pangagailangan kung hindi kami makakapagtrabaho,” Sta. Lucia recounts. (When the lockdown was implemented, I was worried about being able to meet our basic, daily needs without a job.) Sta. Lucia now earns a regular income through the app. “Nakita ko ang MyKuya nung naghahanap ako sa Facebook ng pagkakakitaan. Dahil sa MyKuya, kumikita ako ngayon habang tumutulong sa iba, at nagsisilbi na rin akong frontliner sa pagtulong sa mga customer.” (I chanced upon MyKuya while scrolling through Facebook for ways to make money. Because of MyKuya, I now earn a living while helping others, and now, I also function as a frontliner, helping out with the needs of my customers.)


Shabibi has a lofty goal for MyKuya. “We want to create one million job opportunities for the people by the people,” he said. Shabibi believes that poverty alleviation, female empowerment, and education are key issues that are worth solving and that anyone can be part of the solution. “Ultimately, we want to create a productive and inclusive economic system that everyone can grow and benefit from,” he adds.


How MyKuya Works


MyKuya Services

Looking toward the future, and with the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, MyKuya offers a solid solution to the twin problems of unemployment and under-employment in the Philippines. It even opens doors for small and medium entrepreneurs to gain and retain the customer bases they need to thrive and generate much-needed jobs in the country.


Shahab concludes, “While we are grateful that MyKuya has reached this point and has helped tens of thousands of people and businesses at such challenging times, we are still early in our journey and much more is yet to come. What works today may not work tomorrow and that’s why we remain focused on fundamentals.”



Power behind the app

“We had about an 800% increase in demand within days of the quarantine announcement in March, which we had to quickly adjust to,” Shabibi said. “Our use of AWS enabled us to make these adjustments smoothly and meet that increase in demand. We will be making use of more of the AWS menu as we grow,” Shahab says.


MyKuya is powered by Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and uses Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Solution) for web-based object storage and the AWS RDS (Relational Database Service). They also use Amazon EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) to automate deployment, scaling and management of the app’s containerized applications.


He shares, “AWS ensures scalability and availability so that our team can focus on making the application awesome. Furthermore, using managed services such as ECS and RDS frees up time for our DevOps team to concentrate on software delivery and business agility.” Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides the digital infrastructure of MyKuya, which runs on the AWS portfolio from top to bottom. This allows the app to scale at market demand and cope with the impact of the pandemic. Because of this, they have been able to grow their user base, year on year by 17 times.


SHAHAB SHABIBI

“We want MyKuya to be a mobile app that can benefit every Filipino.”

SHAHAB SHABIBI

Founder and CEO

MyKuya

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