How eBay Employees Are Teaming Up with Nonprofits to Encourage Entrepreneurship
For many employees like Henry De Sousa, volunteering is a way to connect passion with purpose. He regularly volunteers at a nonprofit called Capacity that provides training, resources and mentorship to encourage entrepreneurship among migrant and displaced communities in Europe.
“Giving is also receiving,” said Henry, an executive assistant based in Bern, Switzerland. “It has helped me become a stronger leader with more passion for our community of employees and charity partners. It motivates me to go the extra mile.”
Henry is one of numerous Changemakers at eBay who volunteer their time with organizations that are a part of eBay Foundation’s Global Give program. The grantmaking program supports inspiring nonprofits worldwide that work to foster entrepreneurship in local communities. Earlier this year, the Foundation granted 30 nonprofits a total of $3 million to support entrepreneurs.
Nonprofits like Capacity represent “eBay’s commitment to giving back to the community by supporting migrants who are eager to restart their lives and become entrepreneurs,” Henry said. At Capacity, he participates as a mentor for rising entrepreneurs, providing formal coaching in areas, such as administration, digital marketing and communications strategy advice.
And for Capacity co-founder Isabel Brucher, engaging with corporate volunteers opens minds and hearts.
“We provide a platform in which two segments of society, who might otherwise never meet, can constructively and creatively interact,” Isabel said. “We often receive the feedback that volunteering enriches the volunteer more deeply than they expected upon signing up.”
In Sydney, eBay Australia’s Head of Government Relations and Policy Luke Aitken has supported the company’s work with Catalysr — a nonprofit that helps immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs launch their own start-ups. “Giving back and volunteering is really such a great multiplier,” Luke said. “What might be an hour or two out of your week could be a life changer for the person you’re helping. ”
For Luke, Changemakers has been a great way to connect with teammates he normally wouldn’t interact with both locally and around the world: “It really does help you reset and realize the bigger picture and the positive impact you can make.”
And for Catalysr’s Usman Iftikar, partnering with eBay over the past two years “was critical for our survival during COVID-19 and also we have also been able to grow and scale our work and impact of supporting ‘migrapreneurs’ across Australia.“
Usman said eBay has been helpful in providing skilled mentors, and opening up pathways for migrant entrepreneurs working on ecommerce, to get access to the incredible tools and resources eBay provides to small businesses.
“Migrants and refugees bring a lot of skills and expertise to the countries they migrate to,” explained Usman. “Often these are not recognized and accredited, leading to their talent and potential wasted on low or unskilled work. There are many systemic reasons for this, and our work is to encourage migrants and refugees to use entrepreneurship as an alternative pathway.
And in Netanya, Israel, eBay employees have been volunteering with Unistream, an organization that promotes innovative, entrepreneurial and technological thinking with youth throughout Israel’s periphery to provide equal opportunities for all and reduce socio-economic disparity.
eBay employees share their knowledge of technology and product development with the center’s teenage participants.
“The excellent advice and tips eBay employees share with the teens, help them turn their idea into something real,” said Matan Edry, Netanya Unistream Entrepreneurship Center Manager. “But more than anything the sessions give them a huge sense of pride. Thanks to this, their self-confidence and belief that they can truly succeed has increased tremendously.”
Each year, the teens participate in the “Entrepreneur of the Year Competition,” based on a venture project they develop with eBay mentors, and also learn about technology and finance. As part of volunteering with Unistream, eBay employees provided speed dating career sessions for Jewish and Arab students to help them prepare for job interviews.
Leading this community during COVID-19 forced me to be creative and think of different ways of volunteering,” said Anastasia Madar, Employee Experience and Community Involvement Partner. “It greatly broadens your perspective — you meet people you wouldn’t otherwise and learn a lot from it, even if you supposedly come to teach. This community makes it possible to not only look at yourself but give back.”
One thing Henry De Sousa wants everyone to know is that it doesn’t take a lot to give.
“You have a great community and support system at eBay where your ideas are greatly valued,” he said. “You just need to join the group and share your thoughts. Everyone will appreciate your contribution, and you’ll have an extra reason to get up and go to work.”
Learn more about eBay Foundation, its priorities and grantmaking strategy.