Canadian Tech Startup a Finalist in Richard Branson's Worldwide Screw Business as Usual Contest

A Vancouver tech startup that donates 100% of its profits to charity projects in Africa has made the top 10 list of Richard Branson's "Screw Business as Usual" contest.

The Canadian web company, called Karma Exchange, is similar to Groupon, offering coupons for everyday purchases, but with one distinct difference: all profit goes toward Create Change, a charity founded to fund education and water projects in Africa. The startup also compares itself to Expedia and Ticketmaster and Ebay, as it simply tries to sell as many things as possible to as many people in order to generate profit.

"Karma Exchange is a way to harness marketing dollars and consumer spending in order to facilitate global change," Founder Shannen O'Brian says.

Here is the description on the company's contest page:

What if the money you spent each day could help people to climb out of poverty? Karma Exchange works with local businesses to market their brand in conjunction with a charity project. Our hope is for Karma to spread to cities all over the world, so that we begin to shift our mindset about charity, and incorporate doing good into our everyday. Join our movement to shop with heart!

Shannen says that, on average, less than 1% of people's disposable income is donated to charity. "All these charities all over the world are competing for this one percent," she explains. "What if there was a way we could tap into this 99% that people are spending every day?"

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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