You had the idea for Boxwise in 2016. What are you doing exactly and how did your idea come about?
At the end of 2016, Bart, Maarten and I volunteered at a refugee camp in Northern Greece. We were responsible for the distribution of donations. The distribution was a mess. Therefore, after a short time, our goal was to make the award a place to which everyone – refugees and volunteers – would like to go.
Our organization built a “Free Shop” – a place where refugees could choose what they needed for the first time. To operate the shop, pen and paper or Excel were no longer enough. The three of us locked up for a week and produced a first version of our app.
Boxwise is now trying to make this software solution easy and sustainable for all organizations. We have been actively working on this since the beginning of 2018.
What motivated you to share the idea with other organizations and what were your first steps?
We first implemented our first version in 3 camps in Greece at that time, but then ceased to include other organizations on board. For a long time it was a volunteer project alongside our “real” jobs and we simply did not have the capacity to serve more organizations.
But there were always requests and above all good feedback. At some point we realized then that we can help many organizations with our solution and the help is accepted. That motivates again and again immensely.
Especially companies with such high social benefits need financing. How could you solve this challenge?
The challenge is far from being solved. We are currently developing the next version, which we will then offer as Software as a Service. With the support of other organizations, such as humanilog, donations or voluntary coders, we can even make that step.
We will then charge a fee from our users for the implementation, use and service of our application. Of course, our users are mostly non-profit organizations, often grassroots, who are not the most financially solvent. We still have to work on alternative financing options.