The Gini Coefficient is a measure of income inequality in our country. Our inspiration for Gini was the high unemployment rates that can be seen throughout the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hundreds of thousands of families struggling to make ends meet every month while simultaneously dealing with layoffs from permanent job losses, we felt that there was a huge untapped labor market that has both the supply (in local businesses, vaccine distribution, etc.) and demand (lower income families that are in need of extra income). We wanted to create a platform to connect the supply with the demand, giving workers the opportunity they need to regain financial stability as well as support local businesses and hospitals who are struggling to find employees amid the pandemic. Gini aspires to make strides in the financial and healthcare industries by offering essential financial services to those in need of it and also offers healthcare businesses a way to distribute the COVID-19 vaccinations through employment.
What it does
Gini is the perfect one stop shop for all your financial needs. We have included a multitude of features that appeal to business owners as well as those that are in search of a job right now. We have come up with a multitude of features including: creating job postings, searching for a job, getting microloans for small businesses, and finding volunteers to help with distribution of goods.
Job postings: We believe this is the most important feature of the application because of the large amount of unemployment that is currently widespread in our country. This feature will allow users to view available job postings that are tailored to their skillsets. We have included a page for people to be able to edit their experience and their mastery in specific skills that can help employers learn more about a candidate.
Employee recruiting: A lot of businesses are facing employee shortages because of COVID-19, for example the Postal Service, Amazon, Walmart, and other large retailers due to the influx of packages/shipments being sent. We have created a platform for these companies to be able to sign these employees under contract, which is beneficial to both parties involved as it doesn’t bind companies into long-term agreements, while simultaneously helping people looking for employment get a stream of income while helping the world.
Microloans: We realized that citizens who are struggling do not include only unemployed, but many small business owners themselves. In a time where there are many business owners that are undergoing risk of having to close their businesses for good, we recognize the importance of the microloans and the benefit that they can provide. For this reason, we have elected to include a platform for businesses to apply for microloans. We connected users that were in need of a microloan to a bank that will be able to fulfill their loan need depending on their principle amount, their requested interest rate, how long they would like to pay their loan back, as well as their desired credibility from a lender. This feature is immensely helpful as it can buy citizens time in order to keep their business afloat in a time when obtaining stimulus from the government is difficult.
Vaccine distribution: There is an obvious connection that we made between the lack of employment and the new COVID-19 vaccinations that have been approved by the FDA. We noticed that right now, there is a large amount of vaccines that are available, but there haven’t been enough clear cut distribution channels that have been laid out. We created features for a map with distribution centers and hospitals that can register in order to sign up to receive vaccinations or help distribute them as a certified vaccine maker. This helps us make progress in healthcare and finance because we can provide jobs to those in need and employees to businesses that need it, while also being able to purpose the jobs towards specifically helping more and more people get the anticipated COVID-19 vaccines.
How we built it
We split up the work between the four of us by front-end and back-end work. Two of us worked on designing the User Interface and User Experience, which was created using Storyboard/UIKit in Xcode. The other two of us used Swift in order to code the back-end portion and utilized both Google Cloud’s Firebase Firestore and Real Time Database. We used Firestore in order to store information about the different hospitals, banks, and loan offers, while using Real Time Database in order to keep track of company, employer, and personal profiles.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into a lot of challenges when we had to put the data into the table. Connecting the database and displaying it in the UI took a lot of trial and error and debugging in order to properly display the data. We also encountered some issues when trying to connect the database because of issues like multithreading because of errors during the setup. We also tried using a new UI tool this time in order to come up with what our screens looked like, but there was a bit of a learning curve when we decided to copy it all over to Storyboard on XCode.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to utilize tools that we knew about in order to create a socially applicable project that has wide health and financial benefits to users. We’re proud of creating an app that can support those impacted by COVID-19, and help them land on their feet with our support.
What we learned
We learned a lot about how to utilize location data. We also learned about how to use Swift and UIKit and MapKit in order to utilize Apple Maps to display the data. We also learnt how to use Google Cloud’s Realtime Database in order to see requests that were coming in in real time as well as see how jobs were being handled on Firestore.
What's next for Gini
We hope to include additional features like a stock market analysis tool and including machine learning in it in order to help people who want help with buying stocks. We’d also like to add machine learning to our microloans tool in order to better improve the recommendations we give to users.