Vouch for your locals!

Looking forward to those post-Corona days? Buying vouchers is the order of the day and Helfen.Berlin makes it easy to help local businesses make it through.

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Support your favourite Berlin businesses through these Corona times by buying vouchers online. (Photo: Michel Le Voguer)

Has your favourite corner shop closed and your default brunch spot barred its door due to Corona restrictions? For some, lockdown may mean an early holiday, but the owners of these small local businesses are probably pulling out their hair, tryingt to figure out a way to keep going, especially if they can’t provide delivery or an online shop. Enter Helfen.Berlin, a non-profit platform launched on March 20. Their idea is simple: Buy a voucher now, redeem it when this isolation shit is over. You juts pick your favourite café, hairdresser, falafel place, hotel, cinema or whatever, decide how much you want to spend on the voucher (options start at €10) and pay via direct debit, credit card or paypal. There is even an option to directly email the voucher to someone as a gift. Within the first 12 days of the site’s existence, 1900 businesses have signed up and €500,000’s worth of vouchers have been sold. The website looks pretty basic and homemade, but behind it are some of Berlin’s biggest communication and advertising heads like Karsten Kossatz, director of the Paperplain advertisement agency and Alexander “Sascha“ Wolf, founder of the Aussergewöhnlich Berlin network that links culture and economy by holding networking events in swanky locations like hotel Adlon. Amongst the many crowdfunding and streaming campaigns to support Berlin’s stages and performers, cinemas and clubs, this is the one service that’ll give you a non-virtual reward once your venture of choice is back up and running. The truth is, you might lose your ‘investment’, as refunds aren’t guaranteed, but you’re virtually betting on your neighbourhood hangouts’ survival. I f your local Kneipe shouldn’t pull through, at least you won’t have to blame yourself for giving all your money to Netflix and Co.!