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How the Amsterdam business community is supporting Ukraine

Amsterdam-based companies have leapt into action to support refugees and the humanitarian effort in Ukraine. I amsterdam has rounded up a selection of these initiatives and ways in which people can contribute.  

Last week, the heads of three Amsterdam tech companies, MessageBird, Picnic and bunq, launched the nonprofit People for People, which is assisting Ukrainians and Russians affected by the war, by providing aid and connecting them to those who can offer shelter. So far 43 pallets of aid including baby supplies and sanitary products have been delivered by Picnic, as well as sim cards and power banks. Refugees have also been offered hotel rooms.

Below is a selection of more initiatives started in the wake of the war, including some ways in which people and other businesses can help.

Mollie: jobs and visa sponsorship

Amsterdam fintech giant Mollie is open to applications from Ukrainians who have lost their jobs. Mollie says it can offer relocation and visa sponsorship so that Ukrainian citizens can work in a different country. 

Mollie, which provides payment services for companies, has also made its onboarding process easier for Ukrainian charities so that payment solutions are faster.

In a LinkedIn post the company said: “All of us at Mollie are watching the events unfold in Eastern Europe with great concern for those affected. From the brave citizens fighting for their country to the growing numbers of refugees now fleeing Ukraine. Yet we are also hopeful, as people all around the world come together to further the cause of peace.”

Avy: free cargo and people transport

Colleagues from Amsterdam startup Avy (which usually deals in life-saving drones) set up Fastlane Ukraine. From a warehouse in Amsterdam West, they are delivering urgently needed supplies to organisations in Poland and the Ukrainian border. On the way back, they are transporting refugees who need extra attention, such as pregnant women or families with babies, who cannot take the train.

bunq: free bank accounts for refugees

Online bank bunq is allowing Ukrainian citizens fleeing the conflict to open a free account. Its team on the ground noticed people affected by the war needed a secure way to make payments and a banking system that holds euros outside of Ukraine.

Sanquin: growing the blood supply

Sanquin, the Netherland’s national blood bank, is preparing for a possible international request for the supply of blood from its stock.

It has asked for donors to respond to their donation call if they have received a call card or have an appointment. New donors are welcome to sign up. 

A post on the company’s LinkedIn page said: “In a large-scale armed conflict such as the one in Ukraine, we take into account that the blood banks in the war zone cannot do their work or can do it less well. If that question arises, we as a Dutch blood bank can supply blood directly.

“That requires precision work from us. Due to fewer corona patients in the hospitals, regular care is being scaled up again. That means an increasing demand for blood products. These two developments together mean that we are slowly growing the blood supply.”

UiPath: free use of its automation platform

Romanian-founded company UiPath, which has an office in Amsterdam, has made its automation platform and support services available at no cost to humanitarian organisations. It hopes the platform will provide relief to overwhelmed humanitarian organisations by streamlining screening processes and the aid supply chain. It could also help digital paperwork to be processed faster, and UiPath’s document understanding tool can interpret handwritten documents and images. 

The company has also launched the UiPath Solidarity Fund for Ukraine and has encouraged its community to donate. 

Picnic: relief packages

Customers of online grocery store Picnic can add a relief package to their shopping basket and have it delivered to the Ukraine border with the help of UNHCR. The exact contents of the package will depend on what’s needed the most. 

Adyen: donations at sales points

Adyen, another Amsterdam-based payment platform, has partnered with the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR,  to allow merchants on the platform to fundraise through their own online checkout and Point of Sale terminals using Adyen’s donation feature, Giving. Adyen will match every donation made via Giving to the relief effort.

Uber: in-app donation

The ride-hailing app, which has its European headquarters in Amsterdam, is matching donations to the International Rescue Committee made by riders via an in-app donation button.

To keep riders, drivers and employees safe in Ukraine, it has paused operations in the country and said it helped employees relocate to safer areas. It’s also providing unlimited free rides between the Ukraine border and Polish cities to help transport people and essential supplies. 

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