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Netherlands — USG People launches online marketplace for self-employed individuals

14 October 2010

USG People is launching a Dutch online marketplace for self-employed people with no staff. The IKKI freelance portal will connect self-employed individuals with customers who have interesting assignments. By making use of existing channels the online marketplace has got off to a flying start: www.ikkifreelance.nl
already boasts 375 contracts from companies and over 10,000 registered freelancers.

IKKI freelance offers both self-employed individuals and customers various advantages which are at present unique. "We lighten the administrative load of participating companies with a large number of freelance assignments and also cut their costs," said Michael Ammerlaan, Corporate Vice President Strategy & Implementation at USG People. "And freelancers can come to us for a steady stream of assignments and quick payment. In addition the community provides them with a platform for sharing experiences with other freelancers."

Leveraging existing channels

The soft launch of IKKI freelance took place in July. USG People used initial feedback from users to optimise the site to ensure that IKKI freelance meets the needs of both freelancers and customers. IKKI freelance taps into the pool of freelancers who are already registered with IKKI's World, the existing online career community. These self-employed individuals can now also use the platform to secure assignments. The first providers are various USG People operating companies who are using IKKI freelance to post freelance assignments from their customers. Over the coming weeks and months, customers will also start posting assignments themselves.

Ammerlaan said: "You can compare IKKI freelance to a new shopping centre with lots of well-known high-street names and plenty of visitors right from day one. The teething problems usually associated with freelance marketplaces, a shortage of self-employed individuals, assignments or both, do not apply to us. That's important because you only get one chance to make a good impression."

Transparent provider

The new portal offers various advantages to customers. For many customers who use freelancers, the market lacks transparency. Assignments are often placed through employees' own networks, making it unclear how much an intermediary is earning from a freelance assignment. With its transparent structure IKKI freelance gives customers a much better grasp of freelance work. At the same time it saves them money because using the online marketplace eliminates the need for an agent to act as intermediary. Moreover, IKKI freelance takes over the legal employer status from the customers, thereby releasing them from contracts, checking declarations of independent contractor status (VAR) and the risk of statutory payroll tax, and leaving them free to concentrate on the content side of the work.

Each assignment is checked for quality and duration

IKKI freelance also lightens the administrative load for freelancers. The portal is used to arrange contracts and also to invoice customers. Freelancers can receive payment in as little as two weeks. Self-employed individuals also have access to the IKKI community, but above all the portal provides them with a steady stream of quality assignments. IKKI freelance checks every assignment for quality and duration: assignments lasting just a few days are not placed.

The portal includes a large number of assignments for more highly qualified individuals working in the IT, marketing and communications, engineering and legal services sectors. On www.ikkifreelance.nl IKKI's World and CapitalP ZZPay work together closely with other USG People operating companies. A Belgian IKKI freelance platform is also scheduled for launch in the very short term.



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