We speak to the philanthropist behind the CSR strategies of Nola Cupcakes, Lotfy, Wasla, and other startups.
As we approach the end of Ramadan, having seen the many CSR activations Egyptian startups have campaigned for, we come across Neya, a social enterprise that has been helping a handful of startups with their CSR strategies since establishment in April 2019.
Literally "the intrinsic value to do well in Arabic," Neya aims to support all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve the global Vision 2030. "The concept came to me a couple of years back when I was homesick living in Boston during university," Hana ElSadat, Neya's founder, tells Startup Scene. "I wanted to volunteer somewhere, since charity work makes me feel grounded and at home. I've been involved in charity work my entire life and it is a very important part of who I am. I spent hours looking for somewhere to go volunteer my time and after wasting so much time searching online I got frustrated as to why I couldn't find a tool to direct me. Right then and there I started brainstorming and slowly but surely it went from being one tool to several and then an entire platform. I have also found that a lot of people around me have a hard time knowing where and how they can give back. They want information on donating and they want to have a variety."
Similarly, two Egyptian twenty-year-olds have joined hands last Ramadan to come up with an idea inspired by the same problem of having a hard time looking for volunteering and charity opportunities. Echo however is an online platform connecting donors with charity events and organisations.
"CSR is important for everyone," ElSadat continues. "Small scale or large scale, everyone needs to be aware of their natural capital and their role within their community. A lot of startups are social enterprises or services. They have a lot of user engagement and having CSR as part of their business is crucial because they shed awareness to their users and take responsibility for their role or consumption within their individual network which is their own community entailed with hundreds of users."
Working with startups like NOLA cupcakes, Neya helped them to give back by donating part of the revenue to helping special needs and autistic children. Neya is also selling t-shirts to help support the blind while Egypt's iconic Lotfy footwear is donating a shoe for every shoe purchased during Ramadan. In the meantime, Wasla Browser will donate their proceeds for this Ramadan to help install internet in schools and renovate them.
"We are partnered with some companies such as Go Clean and NOLA to handle their charity profiles all year and handle their donations," says ElSadat. "We plan on expanding by creating a whole user experience on charitable giving. Neya aims to build an educational feature and make Neya a gamified experience for people whom are donating. The more they donate and are active in the community the more they can unlock rewards."
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