SEF introduces. Silvana.

By |Sunday, July 31, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , , |

Meet Silvana Lobin, SEF Ambassador of the first hour, so to speak, who moderated a SEF event and is keeping you updated with the review blogs of our events.

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
I just finished my Bachelor and am currently doing the editing and picture selection for a calendar published yearly by the NGO Society for Threatened People.

What is one random piece of information about you?
I collect funny and artsy postcards, that I buy in museums or find in pubs – I have over 300 of them and not nearly enough room on my wall 😀

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
For me the whole reason why I started studying business in the frist place was to try to find ways to make it more socially responsible. I first heard about social entrepreneurship in a class at university and then got really into it when I joined SEF because I thought – yes, that’s it, that’s how you can bring those two sides together.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
I want to contribute to spreading the concept of social entrepreneurship and the idea that a commitment to social issues and a good business sense are not mutually exclusive. I also love that I get to meet and learn from so many inspiring people. 

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
In a nutshell: I want to bring people together. I think one of the most intriguing and yet challenging aspects of social change is that it can’t be accomplished by just one person, but rather needs the combined creative energy of many people – people from different cultures, with different skills and their own unique set of experiences. And while we can usually agree on what the general issue is, when we go further into detail, it becomes clear that almost everyone has a slightly different idea on how to approach it. Everyone has an individual perspective, but in my mind that’s precisely what is necessary for social change. So I think it’s a lot about how we communicate with each other and whether we look at our differences as something that divides us, or as something that enriches our lives.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
Bill Bryson – Down Under
Hannah Arendt – Nach Auschwitz
Isabel Allende – Das Geisterhaus
Stephen Hawking – A short history of time

One piece of advice to business students?
There is still this idea that in business, in order for someone to make a profit, someone else has to lose – which is a pretty depressing thought. So be reflective, talk to as many different people as you can, try to form your own opinion and don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

If you want to know more, find Silvana on LinkedIn or send her an email at

SEF introduces. Tine.

By |Sunday, July 24, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , |

Second SEFster to be introduced is Christine Jama, aka Tine, responsible for our information platform, event coordination, and the numbers.

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet
Learning as much as possible about (social) entrepreneurship during my master in Copenhagen and doing an internship at the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie in Munich.

What is one random piece of information about you?
I have two different looking thumbs. And yes, you can have a look one day.

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
During my bachelor degree at WU when I took a course on Social Entrepreneurship – I finally found a name tag for this need of mine to do something with actual purpose.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
I would love for as many people as possible to get in touch with the concept of social entrepreneurship to realise that there are so many possibilities out there to do good while doing business. Creating positive impact should be the norm rather than a movement. So let’s make the movement normality!

How do you envision yourself in the world of social entrepreneurship in the future?
An initiator that empowers and inspires others to question the status quo and create actual value and positive impact for our society and planet earth.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
Because I always want to do 1,244 things at the same time and can’t seem to fit them all into my schedule, I currently have 6 books on my shelf that I have started and not finished yet:

GlĂŒcksökonomie (The Economy of Happiness) – Annette Jensen, Ute Scheub
The Longest Way – Christoph Rehage
The Blue Sweater – Jacqueline Novogratz
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahnemann
Tiere Essen (Eating Animals) – Jonathan Safran Foer
Der kleine Prinz (The Little Prinz) – Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

One piece of advice to business students?
Dare to question the status quo especially with regards to our economic system. It’s not just a bunch of hippies, as some people would dismissively describe those that are advocating alternative options. It’s a time for re-thinking. It’s people who dare to question the status quo in every aspect, even if it means that the truth they find is uncomfortable. Change takes a lot of work but less of it when we pull together on the same string .

You have more questions for Tine? You can find her on LinkedIn or contact her at

SEF introduces. Stefan.

By |Sunday, July 17, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , , |

Welcome to our summer feature, dear SEFsters: SEF introduces, a set of interviews with the people behind SEF. Why? Because we want to give you an insight into our team, tell you what we are doing during the summer and simply explain why we love SEF.

So, here we go. First up is Stefan Steinberger,  SEF Ambassdor, who already moderated a SEF event and is responsible for the on-boarding process of future Ambassadors.

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
I am teaching kids between 10 and 15 from low-income communities at a school in Vienna.

What are your summer plans?
I will try to pursue some of my own little projects as during the school year I did not have time for something else than school work. For example, I try to build a bridge between corporates and schools as many apprenticeships stay vacant whereas on the other side many young people are searching for a job. And yes, I actually cheated a bit with the “summer plans” picture above – it was during Easter. 

What is one random piece of information about you?
I don’t like to spend money – that’s why I prefer to pay with card 😉

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
I always liked doing good and helping other people. After my internship in consulting I started to think about how to be independent and be my own boss, which led me towards startups. I then combined doing good with startups and discovered social entrepreneurship.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
For me SEF is all about the people. I like to work with likeminds, who are hands on, thinking positively and also want to make the world a better place. It is also a chance to learn from and with others, to develop yourself and try out some things you never did before (e.g. write a blog, host an event, etc.).

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say: “He had a really expensive car and great clothes.” I want to be a social entrepreneur myself and build something which lasts longer than I live.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
At the moment I am finishing “Der große Kostolany: Börsenseminar. Börsenpsychologie. Die besten Geldgeschichten” by Andre Kostolany, stories about money.
Next to come is  “Schularbeit – Die Leiden eines Lehrers” by Frank Huss, about teachers’ work, and a book on the digital education revolution, “Die digitale Bildungsrevolution”, by Jörg DrĂ€ger.

One piece of advice to business students?
Be curious, open minded and talk to as many different people as you can – especially to those who you would not talk to at first sight because they seem too different or even strange to you. It will broaden your horizon!

Find Stefan on LinkedIn or send him a message at if you have any questions.

SEF interviews. Peter Vandor on Social Entrepreneurship Education.

By |Tuesday, July 12, 2016|Categories: SEF interviews|Tags: , , , |

University is where most of us from the SEF Team first heard about social entrepreneurship. Hence, we are very thrilled to have Peter, a real pioneer on the field of social entrepreneurship education in Austria, answering our questions.

Why should social entrepreneurship be taught and which role do universities play here?
Social entrepreneurship education meets a rapidly growing demand among students. More and more students are seeking competences and classes on social entrepreneurship and related topics. They see that the world is not exactly running out of problems and wish to do something about it in an entrepreneurial way. In Austria, we see this interest every year at the Social Impact Award, where hundreds of students participate in workshops on social entrepreneurship and develop their own ideas and projects. At WU, such interest has also materialised in the start of student-led initiatives around social and sustainable entrepreneurship, such as 180 Degrees Consulting, oikos and SEF.

How early should we start teaching about social entrepreneurship?
From an educational standpoint, the earlier the better. Research suggests that experiencing pro-social behavior in your youth increases the likelihood of such behavior for the rest of your life. Being able to help others is a powerful experience and those who experience it early are probably more motivated and develop the self-efficacy to become successful social entrepreneurs later in their life.

What are the barriers, if any, when implementing a rather new field like social entrepreneurship into school/university education?
Social entrepreneurship education is a pretty new field, so many of its tools and concepts are still under development. Much of the current teaching borrows heavily from entrepreneurship. While that is often very useful, sometimes the entrepreneurship instruments and concepts do not fit the reality of social entrepreneurs and can be a barrier. For example, many financial instruments and concepts taught in entrepreneurship are heavily venture-capital- and exit-oriented. This is far from the reality of social entrepreneurs in Austria, where social venture capitalists hardly exist and only a fraction of social enterprises chose a legal form that would allow external investments. We should avoid copying concepts blindly, but adjust the teaching to the social realm, the ecosystem we are in and the actual needs of people.

Which tools do you provide your students with?
In our courses, we first provide a brief theoretical background on social entrepreneurship and try to carve out similarities and differences between social entrepreneurship, commercial entrepreneurship as well as traditional third-sector organisations. The larger part of the semester is then focused on experiential learning. Students either work on their own idea for a social enterprise or work with other social entrepreneurs on their challenges.

Which advice do you give your students?
Try it out for yourself! The best way to learn about social entrepreneurship is by getting involved in social enterprises or starting your own social venture. For the later, I founded the Social Impact Award in 2009, which offers free start-up workshops for young social entrepreneurs in 10 countries and is operated in partnership with the Impact Hub Vienna. During these workshops, students from all disciplines can meet peers, develop a new idea for a social venture, improve and structure it and get expert feedback.

What is your vision for the future of social entrepreneurship (education)?
10 years ago, the coolest thing to do for a WU student was to become an investment banker or a consultant. This changed. Currently, entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs seem to be the rockstars on campus. It is likely that this hype will eventually fade a bit, but in terms of substance, I think, the best is still to come. Since we started the first course on social entrepreneurship in Austria in 2009, more universities have included the topic into their curriculum. Moreover, an ecosystem started to grow, including support organisations, co-working spaces, new funding instruments and an increased number of social enterprises. Since 2015, also public institutions have launched funding instruments for social entrepreneurs. The recent announcement of the government to reduce labor costs for start-ups could provide further positive impulses for social enterprises – but of course only, if they are included in the target groups of the proposed measures. I am curious to see the next steps and am optimistic about the development of this sector.

Peter Vandor is senior researcher, co-founder and manager of the NPO & SE Competence Center at WU, the Vienna University of Economics and Business. In his position, he has been leading 50+ collaboration projects with organisations such as CERN, UNDP and the Roland Berger Foundation. His research interests lie in the areas of social entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurship and innovation. Peter is founder and academic director of the Social Impact Award, a learning program and idea competition for budding social entrepreneurs in 10 countries. He also initiated the first academic and award winning course on social entrepreneurship in Austria.