2020 has been a heavy year for many, filled with harrowing stories of loss and pain. I believe if today we fail to listen, advocate and act to create a better world for future generations, we’ll be faced with an even greater tragedy.
COVID-19 and the #BlackLivesMatter movement have exposed the flaws of capitalism. For too long, businesses have made profits from the exploitation of marginalised communities through injustices, inequalities and racism with the end goal of increasing wealth for a select few by taking away wealth from the majority. Banks, investors and institutions often deny entrepreneurs access to these funds, especially enterprises led by underrepresented founders. This not only means overlooked founders have to work harder to get their businesses off the ground, but it’s a disservice to communities and beneficiaries that depend on these businesses for survival. This needs to change.
While we dream for a brighter future, I’ve learnt over the years that this is only possible with how we each use our privilege to serve this world. Our optimism can only be as promising as our own willingness to show up every day and create opportunities for those with less than us.
This reflection has encouraged us to consider UpEffect’s own role in shaping this new world and evaluating how best we can leverage our platform for good beyond crowdfunding. This process has resulted in a number of new projects, including:
– A funding pot for social entrepreneurs where 100% of donations are allocated to UpEffect creators to help them take their impactful solutions to market
– A public directory to amplify the work of socially responsible businesses at the forefront of serving society, starting with UK-based enterprises
– We waived platform fees for UpEffect crowdfunding campaigns tackling COVID-19 and its effects
– We condensed all of our campaign materials into a 30-day creator package so that social entrepreneurs have the flexibility to work on their campaigns around their needs
– We launched Saathi, which means companion in Urdu, to accelerate our efforts in working collaboratively with allies and companions serving communities
– We joined Zebras Unite CoOp in an operational capacity to support chapter and programmatic developments and may I say, what a beautiful collaboration this has been! Working with incredible female leaders that are wholeheartedly determined to learn, act and amplify meaningful work has been such an enlightening experience. This has also led to some wonderful projects, including Zebras Unite x MEDLab’s #ExitToCommunity zine (grab your free copy here)
– Collaborated with academic researchers to examine the challenges and gaps in crowdfunding for social enterprises and explore how UpEffect can actively serve these gaps
– Launched a private space to learn more about this brave world of heroes, share ideas and connect with like-minded people building a responsible world
While we recognise this work is only a small start, we’re hopeful others will join us on this journey to equipping the heroes of our society with capital and tools to build responsible businesses. The future of the economy resides on collective efforts from leaders that put communities at the centre of their work.
If you would like to collaborate on any of these projects, I’d love to hear from you.