Why My Startup Has Taken A Turn At Social Entrepreneurship
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This week, Nabbesh, in collaboration with Qatar based Silatech, has launched Fursati, a campaign that brings jobs directly to the disenfranchised young Arabs in Palestine– where youth unemployment sticks currently at 40%.
It’s a really simple concept: utilizing our already established virtual jobs marketplace, we are encouraging employers to do their bit by posting their briefs fee-free for jobs that can only be applied for by our pre-screened, qualified candidates from Gaza and the West Bank. We aren’t just playing matchmaker. We are, consciously and credibly, helping Palestinian freelancers enter the world of virtual work via our Gaza and West Bank based workshops, facilitated by our local community manager (you can monitor how the workshops are going on the Nabbesh Youtube channel and via our social media updates). We are also responsible to our employers, and ensure all candidates are pre-screened, with appropriate portfolios and more.
Nabbesh, as a business, isn’t a social enterprise. There’s an obvious link, of course, since Nabbesh is about creating jobs in the region which, at a time of high youth Arab unemployment figures coupled with unrest in certain nations, carries a certain responsibility. The Fursati initiative is a perfect fit. While there has been nothing to stop freelancers anywhere registering and bidding for jobs, and most jobs are available for freelancers from anywhere due to the virtual nature of the briefs, this is a targeted effort. In collaboration with Silatech, we’re able to create a solid, measurable project that makes a direct difference to the careers, and let’s not forget, pockets of talented young people in an area that needs our help. It’s not a traditional CSR effort, instead, we’ve gone the route of a social venture. Why? Because social enterprise is a commitment to a continued effort in good:
SUSTAINABILITY The whole idea and perception of corporate CSR has become diluted, especially in the UAE. As important as any effort is, they are very rarely more than one-off projects that benefit a corporate conscience far more than they ever will those on the receiving end. You may generate a PR buzz and a sense of goodwill amongst colleagues and stakeholders, but what’s next? Where is the long-term benefit? Improving the quality of life for those facing circumstantial difficulties is worth significantly more when you aren’t just offering a one-time solution.
GENERATE PROFIT Social enterprise can generate much-needed profits for your business in a way that CSR doesn’t– that coupled with the sustainability can only be an all-around win. There are plentiful funds available for social entrepreneurs, which can mitigate your risks, not to mention heightening the enthusiasm of your founding team- we all know that fundraising woes can certainly curb positive energy!
BUILD AWARENESS Despite the fact that your startup model may be newsworthy and adding value to society, you just don’t get the attention that your business deserves. Social enterprise makes for a feel-good success story, both for people looking to help out socially responsible businesses and for those participating in alleviating societal challenges. This leads to a successful campaign, which, when conceptualized intelligently, creates a positive effect on everyone concerned. Raising brand awareness -of both your company and the cause you’ve chosen to hone in on- can only lead to positive things.
Essentially, Nabbesh is about creating jobs for people in this region, and by taking a social enterprise turn with the Fursati project means that we can stay true to the Nabbesh mission statement. We’re developing new business within the region, specifically in areas such as Palestine that are facing big challenges due to ongoing conflict. We’ve set out to create a sustainable business that makes a difference, since by default, social enterprise is at our heart and core. As a founder, it’s exciting and fulfilling for me to pursue new partnerships and projects that will ultimately make a true difference in people’s lives, and to act as the facilitator for local employers to do their part- on a sustained basis.