Schoolgirls’ winning idea for charities
Two schoolgirls who started an online service to connect volunteers with charities won a total of $6,000 in a competition for young entrepreneurs.
Moya van Niekerk and Loré de Kock, both Bermuda High School pupils, wowed the judges of the Youth Pitch Competition last Wednesday with their Volunteer Bermuda concept.
The girls also won the People’s Choice Award with 50 per cent of the votes and won an extra $1,000 to add to the $5,000 they got for coming first.
Moya, 13, said: “We were overjoyed when we heard that we had won our category.
“We are glad that all our preparations and planning paid off.”
The Youth Pitch Competition, held by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, was designed to give youngsters aged under 18 an opportunity to pitch their business ideas for a chance to win cash prizes and additional services to help them grow their concepts.
Moya and Loré, 14, said that they learnt about the competition from their business teacher and saw an opportunity to create their own start-up.
Moya added: “While there are numerous charities in Bermuda, we found that it is not that easy to find volunteer opportunities.
“We thought that it would be nice to create an online bulletin board where charities can list upcoming volunteer events.”
She said: “Our vision is a community where it is easy to volunteer and support local charities.
“Charities can register on the platform free of charge and post upcoming charity events and opportunities for which they need volunteers.
“Volunteers can then register on the platform free of charge and select the upcoming charity event where they would like to volunteer.”
Moya added: “Our hope is that the Volunteer Bermuda platform will be a bridge between those who need help and those who want to help, making a difference in the lives of the people of Bermuda.”
Loré said that she thought the judges appreciated the “strong social focus” of Volunteer Bermuda and its aim to strengthen the public’s involvement with the charitable sector.
She added that the service was needed more than ever because a lot of people had been left in need of assistance after the Covid-19 pandemic, but fundraising efforts by charities had been hampered by coronavirus restrictions.
Loré said: “2020 has been a challenging year for many people in Bermuda and around the world.
“Many people need help and there are many people that would like to help, they just don’t know about one another.”
The girls added that the cash prizes would be used to get Volunteer Bermuda to the operational stage.
They said that a website had been created and was in the trial stage and that more details would be released later.
The two added that they hoped to attract corporate sponsors to help sustain the service.