PettyGigs – MICRO Spring 2022
Published August 10, 2022
As part of our ‘Meet Our Founders’ series today, we introduce William Ward, CEO of PettyGigs based in Charlotte, NC. PettyGigs is a platform that helps every young person earn and defer spending by saving and investing while easing the burdens of busy professionals and local businesses who need help with a variety of services.
Q: What problem are you trying to solve and what influenced you to start your company?
A: The problem we’re most trying to solve is the issue of the socioeconomic divide that exists around the world. The PettyGigs team is passionate about socioeconomic mobility because almost everyone on the team is a first or second-generation immigrant who has somewhat been impacted by this issue. I myself am a first-generation immigrant from Liberia. I had to flee the civil war and poverty and moved to the US in search of a better life. I’m forever thankful for the opportunity provided in the US for me to go to great schools and work at large corporations, but that came at the price of having no flexibility. I often had to work 2-3 jobs to put myself through school, without a quality of life. I also had to take on large student loan debt, since I had no savings to fall back on.
Most young people in immigrant and low-income communities who want to better their lives and learn while doing so can relate to this problem. They don’t have the flexibility to earn a livable wage while going to school without working multiple jobs, plus due to the astronomical increase in student loan debt and college costs, they are often denied home and other loans. We want to change that narrative by providing an opportunity for every young person to use their skills and talents to flexibly earn, and get started on a path to financial independence by saving and investing their earnings. This is why we are combining the gig economy and fintech into a single integrated platform. Our thesis is that one cannot save or invest money that they don’t have, so why not provide a way for anyone to earn without a barrier, and put their earnings to work through saving and investing. PettyGigs will create a new generation of entrepreneurs who likely didn’t have the opportunity and resources to start a business. We are also providing access to help for millions of busy professionals, who are either a nurturer of small children or caregivers of senior parents, without the time to get things done, or local businesses who struggle to find affordable short-term labor. We’re giving people back their precious time and giving local businesses access to untapped talent.
Q: What are you most excited about right now? What keeps you up at night?
A: I am most excited about what lies ahead. When I think about the lives that are going to be impacted because of PettyGigs, it keeps me going! This is the very reason why I transitioned from a well-paying job to building a company and committing to something that is so much bigger than myself. I see PettyGigs giving millions of young people in the US and around the world opportunities to start their very first businesses through performing “petty gigs”, that eventually grow into viable businesses.
What keeps me up most at night is the speedy provision of funds and resources to make this dream a reality!
Q: How will your NC IDEA grant funds advance your company?
A: At this point in the company’s journey, proving product-market through additional customer discovery is a HUGE deal for us. The NC IDEA grant will help us further validate our platform and create density in the Charlotte area through marketing and customer acquisition, with customer discovery at the core.
Q: What other passions do you have besides your business?
A: I have a passion for helping others. This is why I started a nonprofit a few years ago to help provide education for children most impacted by poverty, Smile Liberia. Smile Liberia has impacted over 5,000 children in Liberia and currently sponsors the education of 250 children.
While visiting Charlotte, William recommends:
- They have to visit camp North End and enjoy the innovative, creative, and calming scenery! Optimist Hall is another one of my favorites. Where to eat is a tough question! I mostly enjoy eating my deliciously prepared home-cooked meals from Liberia, but if I had to list a few good places to try out: Haberdish, LuLu’s, and Leah & Louise.
Support William and PettyGigs by:
- First and foremost – please download the app from the App Store or the Play Store and tell others about PettyGigs. PettyGigs is all about providing opportunities for young people, especially those with limited opportunities to earn and gain financial independence through saving and investing.