Yellow Harbour plans to revolutionise an industry

Corporate social responsibility isn’t always seen as the most exciting aspect of business but one young company harbours serious aspirations to change all that.

Based at Cork Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Rubicon Centre, Yellow Harbour has set its sights on charities and companies alike to make giving back a little easier.

Far from being an overly aspirational business plan, there’s a very real gap in the market the Cork company, in business since July 2014, is looking to exploit.

Currently charities in Europe receive less than 2% of their income from corporate donations and payroll giving compared to 35% in the US market.

That gaping chasm is where Yellow Harbour hopes to position itself.

“Yellow Harbour is a cloud based corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform.

"It enables charities to develop sustainable recurring income, facilitates long-term planning, automates the tax refund, doesn’t require capital investment, provides online compliance and vetting; and is easy to use,” according to chief executive, David McCarthy.

If the idea began as a way for charities to develop their fundraising options, it soon became clear that the future of the business lay in targeting the corporate sector.

Clients from the world of commerce are signing up for the bolstered CSR and marketing artillery it provides as well as the trusted database of charities Yellow Harbour opens up to them.

Like all young companies who have to re-chart their course at some stage, that pivot proved to be crucial to the success it’s achieved to date.

Having first presented its business plan to Enterprise Ireland in March 2014, the ascent up the corporate ladder has been impressively swift.

December of that year saw the company awarded EU Tesla funding to open an office in the UK while its first external funding of €25,000 in a pre-angel investment round came a few months later.

This was more than doubled shortly afterwards when in April of last year the South Cork Local Enterprise Office (LEO) rowed in with €34,000 in additional funding — a month or so after the seminal moment of seeing its first revenue arrive had passed.

By July, another €112,000 was secured to help fuel its expansion including €50,000 from the Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund.

With a staff of six and 24 business and charity customers signed up and its first multinational clients on the horizon, Yellow Harbour is seemingly on the up.

“We set out just under two years ago believing we could use technology to make it simple for companies and their employees to support charities with skills, services and time.

“To be shortlisted as a finalist in the Cork Company of the Year Awards, which is recognised as the pre-eminent annual awards event, is truly a great honour and looking at past winners we feel privileged to be a finalist,” Mr McCarthy added.


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