Alumni heroes tackling COVID-19 Third Edition
#charityprints: photographs for charity
For the longest time, I thought that having an impact has to be something big, that it is something too unrealistic and far from what I as an individual can do, even though I thought of myself as a pretty big thinking and open minded person. There were still some self imposed limitations inside of me.
Only recently, with the appearance of the coronavirus and the heartbreaking damage it has caused all over the world, my perspective widened. As people that I’ve known from the JA network, be it Alumni Entrepreneurs or Speakers from local/global Events, started to fight the virus and do very different things to do so, I realised every impact, small or big scale impact, is still impact. Those who have been at the JAAC19 in Vienna last year: Remember when Florian Gschwandtner from Runtastic said, that "a baby shark is still a fucking shark?" — Well, the same goes for impact: Small impact is still impact.
So I thought of ways to take what I have, what I know and what I’m good at, and turn it into something that can have an impact, and help people in need in this specific situation; That’s why I started #charityprints. Being a photographer I decided to start selling the photos that I’ve taken as prints, take all the money, and donate it to organizations who know better than you and I do where and who needs it most. By selling my prints directly to my friends/followers/family through Instagram I was able to avoid fees from on-site sales and payment middlemen like stripe or Paypal, and thus donate as much as possible.
I posted an array of my favourite photos taken on my travels to Moscow, the Dolomites or Indonesia directly to my Instagram feed and stories and then recorded a brief video where I explain my motivation behind the idea, just like I do right now. I created a very simple mockup of these photos in Photoshop, based on an image I found on Unsplash.com. If someone is interested in buying a print, they usually message me directly on Instagram and once paid, I set up an order on one of my trusted printing pages and they ship the prints first to my place, where I sign the print and then deliver it either myself if the person that bought it is in proximity, meaning Luxembourg or Brussels, or I ship them in case someone from a different place buys one. So far, together, we were able to raise over 800€ in donations!
Besides the obvious monetary donation, many friends messaged me with encouraging words, positivity and some even felt inspired to directly donate as well! Someone telling you that you genuinely helped them either become a better person, do something great, or simply made them happy, is, at least for me, one of the most fulfilling feelings EVER, and I hope that throughout my journey I’ll be able to spread even more of my message and help people. That precise feeling was unlocked to me by JA in the first place, when I attended the COYC two years ago, and I am beyond grateful to be part of such an inspiring network of truly unique and impacting individuals.
Helping to digitalise small businesses/grocery shops
My JA journey began in 2017, when I began preparing for the JAYE Malta national round of 2018. My team and I decided to conceptualize TimeNinja, a mobile app that uses gamification to help students focus on their studies and manage their time. We won the competition and proceeded to represent Malta at the JA EEC 2018 in Latvia. It was an amazing experience.
In September 2019, after being accepted in a funded accelerator, I quit my job to work full time on TimeNinja. We launched in October to a group of students and started getting feedback and adding features.
When the COVID situation began, my partner and I wanted to help. We noticed that a lot of grocery shops in Malta started offering delivery services, but didn't have a website to sell their products. We decided to build an online marketplace for grocery shops to be able to sell their products online for free. During our work on that concept, we noticed a big gap in the B2B market. Importers and distributors were more interested in our work than the shops themselves. This is why we decided to pivot to connect suppliers and shops through a B2B platform. We are now in the process of building the MVP to solve process inefficiencies and digitalize the B2B landscape.
I've really enjoyed my journey in entrepreneurship so far. When I was a child, I always worried that I wouldn't pick the right career when I'm older. When I went to university, I ended up studying medicine, physics and computing, and in the end, I am an entrepreneur. I love being able to find a problem, imagine a solution and then build and sell that solution. I get to do a bit of everything, and I get to do it the way I want to do it. Plus, I get to manage my days however I want which is great. Despite the high risk, large amount of work and big sacrifices that are made, I don't see myself doing anything else.