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To kickstart this holiday season, we decided to profile a particular startup that is part of Split’s startup ecosystem. DonatQR was founded at this year’s Hack4Split competition by six founders: Adriano, Josip, Marija, Matej, Michael, and Veso. This team of six decided to pursue social change through business, making DonatQR a startup that is the result of social entrepreneurship by combining tech and charity.
Social entrepreneurship encompasses ventures launched by entrepreneurs who are first and foremost advocates or champions for a social cause.
They are also able to leverage that cause as a platform to develop and maintain an economically viable organization. These individuals are primarily driven and motivated by a higher vision or grander purpose and leverage the power of their position, their standing in the community, and the potential synergy and wealth-creation power of an enterprise as a vehicle or platform to advance their social goals.
Social entrepreneurship ventures often include a solution for a social problem, wrong or injustice that must be corrected, or a global issue that has been either overlooked or marginalized by the rest of the society or more powerful organizations. The dominant goal of social entrepreneurs is often to serve a specific cause as they generate wealth to support that cause.
The reason DonatQR can be characterized as a social entrepreneurship venture lies in the very idea behind this startup which the team shared with us: “Marija originally submitted the idea based on wasted donations at Petrinja, during the crisis caused by the earthquake at the end of 2020. Then Michael added his own ideas based on his experience with donations and the third sector. Lastly, the tech team added their ideas during the Hack4Split. In the end, we consolidated everything we had come up with and that’s how DonatQR came to be!”
DonatQR makes donating goods easier by providing potential donors with the current needs of local NGOs through a web application. To make things even better, the donors get to access these needs while out shopping, so they can simply add that needed item to their shopping, buy it, drop it off, and the NGO they donated to is notified that the donation is ready to be collected.
At the moment, the DonatQR team is made up of the ‘original six’: “We started this project as a bit of fun, to gain a bit of experience, and to test ourselves. Currently, we cannot say any of us are employees, because of six of us in the team none make any money from our startup. A typical startup beginning we might say!”
The beauty of profiling startups definitely lies in the fact that we stumble upon a wide variety of different teams that are in their own individual phases of development.
However, no matter where they are on their startup journey, all of them have some things in common – obstacles they have overcome, mistakes they might have made, and sage advice they would give themselves if they could go back in time: “For our team, time is always a bit of an obstacle because we’re juggling multiple priorities. The other big thing we have to overcome very often is talking to the right people in the right positions because we are looking to work with large corporate retailers. We haven’t made any mistakes yet. However, like any startup, we are sure they are incoming soon.
We’re hoping they won’t be too big, but we’re resilient and ready to battle!
As for the advice we might have benefited from – it is to network and share more early on, so we could be in people’s minds and a wider audience would be aware of the work we do.”
One thing that will hopefully make more people aware of DonatQR is the pro bono event they are preparing. The DonatQR team is cooperating with the “Maestral” home for children in Split and its Kaštela branch “Miljenko i Dobrila“, as well as City Center One shopping mall, to give all of us an opportunity to bring some joy to these children.
Children without proper parental care are often deprived of many things. However, thanks to the DonatQR team and all of us who join in this initiative, the upcoming holidays still have the potential to bring with them that joyfulness children experience when receiving a gift: “Each child wrote a wish in a list which was placed in the DonatQR app, creating a real-time donor experience. The system is updated, transparent, and removes an item from the list if it has already been bought.
All you have to do is visit the first floor of City Center One in Split (next to H&M) on St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, from 9 am to 9 pm.
The team of volunteers will be waiting for you there. Those interested in participating can use the DonatQR app to find out the children’s wishes and donate exactly the gift that each child would like to receive. The gift will be immediately wrapped and subsequently delivered to the child for whom it is intended. We hope you will join us in making children happy!”
An admirable project, indeed! We hope to see many members of our tech community there, supporting one of our local startups and the children they are trying to help.
Aside from this project, the DonatQr team continues to be hard at work. Since they are a part of Split’s startup ecosystem, we asked them how they see it, both its good sides and things to improve: “The ecosystem has transformed rapidly over the past 5 years, with the set up of many programs and funds for potential startups. However, promotion and encouragement of people to get involved are still a bit lacking, and there needs to be a stronger connection between academia and those running these programs.”
Clear and to the point – Split’s development truly was amazing in the past years, but we still have work to do. However, the work still left to be done does not take away from the magic of working in a startup. The DonatQR team has two magical things they like best:
“How fluid everything is, and how every small win is celebrated!”
One last question we had for the team before we left them to continue working on their upcoming pro bono event was to tell us something funny about their startup, something that makes them laugh on a daily basis. They had an interesting tidbit to share: “In our Slack channel, every time Michael is tagged, slackbot says Daddy!”
Well, now we know Split is the only tech city in the world that has a slackbot parent as a citizen. 🙂
We’d like to thank the DonatQR team for taking the time to share their story with us and wish them great success in the future with everything they do! As for you, our dear readers, if you are in Split on December 6th – you know what to do. Go to City Center One and give a hand to the DonatQR team – let’s make some little children happy during this holiday season!