With the recent news articles highlighting the fact that summer jobs for teens are disappearing left and right, it is heartening to learn of the huge investment of $30,000, as a part of the INVEST30 program from the Dallas-based Skratch Solutions. Parents of teenagers themselves, the team behind Skratch know what it is like to have entrepreneurial teens looking for independence, a foot in the door, spending cash and entry point jobs.
In a program referred to as INVEST30, Skratch has made the commitment to invest $30,000 in North Texas teens to get them working this summer. The “job” is simple: Skratchers (teens, ages 14-19) are to invite a new Seeker (adult) to post a gig on the app. The Skratcher accepts the gig, completes the work, and gets paid $30, nearly triple the average payment for a gig. Meanwhile, the Seeker receives his or her first gig for free for trying the app and supporting one of their own neighborhood teens. Skratch is committed to pay Skratchers $30 each for the first 1,000 new gigs posted by new Seekers.
Gradually expanding into more zip codes and keeping a keen eye on the safety of Skratchers and Seekers first, less than one year old, Skratch has slowly and strategically unlocked the app in new zip codes in North Dallas. Now available in nine zip codes: 75248, 75240, 75080, 75254, 75230, 75287, 75093, 75024 and 75252. Skratch works to fill a void by leveraging technology and community to create trusted connections by allowing teens to find and complete safe, hyper-local gigs for cash.
Naturally, we were curious when we learned of Skratch, here is what we learned from our conversation with Skratch co-founder Scott Bennett.
- DSM: What inspired you to start Skratch?
SCOTT: I grew up working as a teen and learned so many early critical soft skills. Most importantly though, it made me appreciate the freedom and independence that earning money gave me. My business partner and I are now raising our own teenagers, and we realized that those “first foot in the door” experiences are no longer available to teens. Thus, making us realize something needed to change. Skratch was the answer.
- For those unfamiliar, how does the process work?
Skratch is a demand-based mobile app that’s solving the decline of teens participating in the workforce by leveraging technology and creating trusted connections in local communities. It allows users (both the skratcher and the seeker) access to communicate through talk and text. A seeker of services can reach hundreds of potential providers of the service with a few taps on the phone. On the other hand, the service provider (skratcher) has access to dozens of opportunities that allows he or she to select the ones that work best with their skillsets.
- What is your hope that it accomplishes?
We hope that Skratch provides teens with those “first foot in the door” experiences to truly set themselves up for success in college and beyond. Working at a young age teaches us how to get into a healthy work routine, as well as the importance of showing up on time, keeping a schedule, completing tasks and being accountable. There are certain things our first jobs teach us that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise. It is also proven that people who have earned and worked as teens are significantly more financially successful in their twenties. On the other hand, we also hope that Skratch helps adults “get life done” and gives them an easy, trustworthy vehicle to hire teens to take care of these gigs around their homes.
- What are some of your favorite gigs that the teens have done?
I particularly like the gigs where our teens interact with younger children. Teens are excellent sports mentors and we hear all the time that they really make an impact with little ones trying to improve at sports. I also like seeing our teens provide tech support services – the things that challenge older adults are easy for teens.
- Do you have a story that highlights the very best of Skratch?
I recently had a mom tell me that she counts on Skratch to help her as she works from home and needs help after school. She said that no matter what gig or who the skratcher is that shows up is an amazing experience every time and that her life has been made easier since she discovered Skratch.
To learn more, visit Skratch here.