Why? Because it's been a real success story for DabApps.
Skills Exchange is an organisation I first came into contact with back in 2013 when I attended one of their promotional events. Here I learned first hand from those who had taken part in the Skills Exchange program just what a fantastic opportunity it provides for local businesses to put something back into our community by providing their services Pro Bono to charities and community groups in Brighton and Hove. Members range from lawyers, accountants and architects to design and digital agencies.
What struck me most, hearing the powerful testimonials of both parties who had been involved in an exchange, was the mutual respect and sense of pride in what they had achieved together. There was mention of staff opportunities to develop skills within a different environment, networking opportunities on both sides and important PR benefits for those companies developing their caring profile.
I returned to the small office we had then, fully inspired and ready to present my fellow directors with a great new idea… "Lets do a project for free!" Actually, if I'm honest, I knew the idea was really unrealistic at the time. We just weren't ready. DabApps was a small team, trying to grow and working really hard to deliver on the client projects we had. As any start up will testify, the early days are generally characterised by 'feast or famine' until you build sufficient predictability into your sales pipeline and a team large enough to streamline your processes.
So was that the end of the story?
Well, no! Just 18 months later I was contacted by Skills Exchange to see if we would be interested in designing and developing a mobile app for local charity Amaze. The timing couldn't have been better. DabApps had been growing steadily since that first seed was planted and we were now in a position to jump at the opportunity and agree to build the Amaze Compass Card app. I now find myself in the position of singing the praises of the Brighton & Hove Skills Exchange for all of the benefits we've experienced in taking part.
I would urge any small business in Brighton and Hove to consider signing up to Skills Exchange if they have skills and services that they can offer to local charities and community groups. With far reaching funding cuts these groups are becoming more and more challenged to deliver the amazing services that they do. If we can give a little it may help some of them survive these difficult times. If, like DabApps, you've reached a point where your business could offer time or services for free, however small your capability, give it a go and enjoy the rewards it will almost certainly bring.