There are around 60 million European citizens affected financially by the COVID-19 crisis, especially the unemployed, the temporary workers and self-employed. All these vulnerable groups need rapid access to public funds that are being made available by the national and regional governments and to private financing provided by banks. However, information of the available funding, fit of eligibility and collecting and sending of required documentation are bottlenecks that delay or block the efficient distribution of public funds. Furthermore, the unprecedented growth in a very short period of time in the number of unemployed that request financial aid has led to public authorities being faced with the enormous workload. Reviewing applicants’ documentation is typically a manual process. Desk workers are overwhelmed and can only deal with a certain amount of applications per day. Scaling the deployment of funds to reach as many impacted people as possible in the shortest amount of time and correctly is therefore a key issue.
What it does
EmerFunds is a mobile app that provides easy access and application to public funds per citizen profile. Citizens can register with their ID, check their eligibility and apply for emergency public grants/benefits related to the COVID crisis.
How we built it
During this weekend we have gone from zero to identify the problem, shape the product idea, design the UX of the app with Sketch, developed a low-fi MVP with InVision and tested its functionality with a small number of users. We also developed the website (landing page) and the EUvsVirus video. We have had the pleasure and honour to contact and receive feedback from several mentors. We contacted public authorities in Greece and Spain to receive first feedback.
Challenges we ran into
Our solution can greatly increase the effectiveness, speed and ease of emergency public funds distribution related to the crisis, which reducing time and effort required by the funding agents.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have built our product within 48 hours, from the scratch. And we made possibly the most beautiful video of the hackathon.
What we learned
A lot is possible to be done in a short period of time when there is a combination of an urgent challenge, capable people (with lots of time in their hands because they are stuck at home anyway!) and amazing mentors that are willing to give them advice and help to push them forward. We are also amazed about how possible it became to meet and talk to people which are far away, through this online hackathon community. We also learned that programming is impossible without a programming team. We definitely would prioritise that in the next steps.
What's next for EmerFunds
To continue with EmerFunds after the hackathon, we would need
- Government partner(s) to perform an initial pilot with citizens and link to internal processes
- Team of programmers to develop the MVP (first starting with a website version and then with mobile)
- Integrate a service provider for e-ID validation and e-signature
- Get certification for personal data security and privacy
- Develop a detailed business and financial plan
- Public and/or private financing