Jamaicans can earn thousands of US dollars online through websites offering short or long-term projects to skilled workers, who can openly bid on the jobs.
One of them — Freelancer.com.jm — launched over the weekend at the Digital Jam 2.0 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, allowing Jamaican users to transact using their local currency and build a strong local community.
The website boasts a network of over 3.7 million professionals, who can be accessed by entrepreneurs.
Through the Internet an entirely new generation of job entrepreneurs and job opportunities are created, said David Harrison, vice president of the engineering at Freelancer.
All the upfront capital that was needed in the past to get a business started has been eliminated and it is now easier for young entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground, he said.
Projects are posted by registered employers with descriptions, skill requirements and a budget range.
Freelancers search the project board from a list of categories of projects that match their skills and interests.
Software editing, data entry, design, coding, editing, legal services and accounting are among the 400 categories of projects.
Bids are placed by freelancers who provide additional information and work samples through a private messaging system. These bids are examined by service buyers who determine the most qualified bidder by not only perusing the freelancer's portfolio and resume, but by viewing comments of past employers.
Within seconds, freelancers from across the globe bid on projects between the prices of US$30 ($2,628) and US$200. Once a freelancer bids on a project and is chosen by the client, both come to an agreement on the time frame and rate at which the work is to be completed. All completed work is guaranteed to be paid for once the customer is satisfied with the outcome.
Jamaican-based engineer Dave Lindsay, who has been a freelancer in his spare time for over a year now, said he made over US$3,000 for 66 hours of work through Freelancer and other similar platforms.
He said surrounding his life around computers and the Internet, led him to the site.
Convincing the service buyer that the freelancer has the skills needed to properly complete a project can benefit workers on the platform.
"Freelancers may sometimes have to go beyond their skills set to provide services for employers, they can either improve on a skill, or learn a new one," Lindsay told the Jamaica Observer.
Lindsay also believes that Freelancer can not only generate employment for Jamaicans, but increase foreign exchange for the country.
"If more Jamaicans came on board, the country's service sector will also be developed."
Over US$134 million was earned through Freelancer.com for over one million projects posted on the website by employers.