Female Founder: Holly from Collaborate
Dignity spoke to Holly about her and her team's choice to start Collaborate - an app to making it easier to volunteer.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your backgrounds?
We are a group of four women who came together through our shared vision of ‘making it easier to make change’. We are passionate about using our skills and time for social change – and we know we are not alone.
We have experienced how it hard it is to find the right volunteer opportunities. We want projects that get us excited, that work around our busy lives and where we feel we are really using our skills to their full potential.
That's why we created Collaborate.
A better way to connect people instantly to opportunities where their skills can create the change they care about!
What is Collaborate and why did you start your business?
Collaborate is a mobile app that matches people with opportunities where they personally can create change.
For community organisations, Collaborate lets them post projects they need volunteers for and connect to volunteers with the right skills who express interest. Perhaps they need a web designer for a few hours or 50 people to help with a beach clean?
For volunteers, Collaborate lets you swipe through projects in your area, that match your skills, interests – be it a one-off way to do some good with a free Sunday afternoon or something bigger.
Essentially it's Tinder for volunteering!
Because Collaborate creates a personal profile of all your volunteering, skills and interests, you can jump right into doing good - No searching through websites, no CV’s needed. Just fast, easy connection to opportunities you care about.
Who inspires you?
Collaborate is more than just an app it's a community of ordinary people connecting and creating change. These are the people who inspire us. The passionate people who we’ve met on our journey; students who have no money but want to give time to help people their communities, young professionals wanting to use their skills from work for a wider impact and of course the selfless people working so hard in charities and community groups around New Zealand. It has been humbling getting to co-design Collaborate with these people and we are driven by the change that Collaborate can help them achieve.
We’ve really loved how your commitment to making volunteering accessible, why do you think this is an important thing to do?
Absolutely everyone has a skill that can catalyse social change. A skill that if connected to the right charity, the right project, the right idea could make all the difference to real issues in our communities. To kids going to school without lunches, to homelessness, to carbon emissions, to young women without access to proper sanitary products.
Too often young people feel disempowered. We know the change we want to create but struggle to see how we can really make difference. The reality, however, is that there are charities and community groups all around New Zealand who need your help, your skills!
In our recent surveys, every single skill a charity said they needed, people responded saying they wanted to volunteer that skill!
With so much need in New Zealand and so much opportunity, It is so important that everybody recognises their value and can see how they can make a difference.
How can we encourage more women to start their own businesses?
Starting a business can be hard, but anyone thinking about it should know that there is so much support out there. Especially for those creating a social business.
If you have an idea about how to make the world a better place then speak out about it, surround yourself with others who are passionate about it too and don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Collaborate have been so fortunate to have many people support us on our journey and all the women in the Collaborate team are always happy to have coffee and share our experiences with anyone starting out.
Being a woman can bring different challenges but we have found it as much an enabler as a barrier. Most people want to see young women in business succeed and we are always proud to be women entrepreneurs.
What are your next steps from here?
The app is currently in the final stages of development. We are big believers that technology has to be created by the community who will use it, so if you want to have your say on the final design, test it out or just stay up to date on our progress let us know through our website.
We are already starting to post opportunities that you can get involved with through our Facebook page and will need many more volunteers when we launch in few months.
What do you love about Dignity?
Dignity like Collaborate is about empowerment. It's about community, about looking wider than yourself to see how you can use what you have to make a real difference in the lives of others. Everyone deserves the same opportunities and both Dignity and Collaborate have been created by young women working make that a reality. We love their work. Go Dignity!