SEF introduces. Markus.

By |Sunday, August 28, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

This Sunday we introduce Markus Kamleitner, our newest ambassador and responsible for aligning our ideas in what constitutes a social business. 

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
Currently I am working part-time as an accountant for a company specialised within the branch of logistics.

What are your summer plans?
As it came to the point of what my summer will look like this year, I decided exploring the beauty of Austria would be the best choice. Being in my mid 20s and not having seen a lot of the country where I was born bothers me a bit.

What is one random piece of information about you?
With 196cm I definitely serve too many double faults during a match of tennis.

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
When I had to decide what my bachelor thesis topic was going to be, I came across an interesting and relevant book from Muhammad Yunus at the library of WU. I started my research and ultimately wrote my thesis about the Grameen Experiment.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
First of all, I think it is definitely about the underlying mission SEF stands for, namely to increase the awareness of social entrepreneurship amongst WU students.
Being an ambassador for SEF enables me to spread the idea of social and sustainable methods of doing business. On top of that I see it as a huge opportunity to connect with likeminds and get inspired on a daily basis.
Last but not least it is always also about the people you work with. On this point we go nuts and no one beats us 🙂

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
In a time where too many different institutions depend on each other, someone might come to the conclusion that real change can only appear from people themselves. So do I!
Ultimately our western society needs a totally different approach of how someone or something gets valued. In a scenario in which for companies social impact is as important as the dollars earned during a fiscal year, the world would be a better place. In the end, I am convinced that every (private) person can make an impact for a socially better world. That’s also what keeps me going in what I am doing.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
Atlas of Globalisation – Le monde diplomatique
Core Areas of Phsychology – Karl Lahmer

One piece of advice to business students?
If I had one piece of advice specifically to business students, I would tell them that happiness is only temporary but fullfillment can last for life. I would add that young people therefore should always strive for meaningful work instead of a big salary.

If you have follow-up questions, you can find Markus on LinkedIn or reach him at markus@socialentrepreneurshipforum.org.

SEF interviews. 1000 Worms.

By |Thursday, August 25, 2016|Categories: SEF interviews|Tags: , , , |

Drumroll for David Witzeneder, who tells us about 1000 Worms.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Passionate, calm and hard-working.

What problem do you solve?
When I came to Vienna to study I was upset that I had to dispose organic waste into the rubbish bin with all the other residual waste. There was no organic waste disposal system. This was not only my problem. Many other people told me that it feels bad to dispose organic waste, which is actually a resource we can use, together with the other residual waste. What we do now is to offer a solution for this problem.

How does your business model work?
We developed boxes made of wood. So called wormbox or “wurmkiste”. In the boxes live earthworms. Earthworms love organic waste and 1000 Worms eat approximately the amount of organic waste one person produces every day and they process it to fertile humus. We construct the wormboxes in our small workshop as ready-to-use boxes, do-it-yourself sets or make them together with participants in our monthly workshops in Vienna. As well we sell a very efficient wormbin called “hungry bin” for outdoor use.

What is social entrepreneurship to you? And what is it not?
To be able to fall asleep easily at night because everything you did on this day was in line with your personal and social values. Selling crap to your customers or treating your employees bad would result in bad sleep. At least for me.

What are the toughest challenges you have to face by running a social business?
To treat yourself as well in a social way. Working 60 hours per week, answering emails on Sunday and being present at every event even if you are not interested are the toughest challenges I have faced or that I am still facing.

What is your vision for Social Entrepreneurship in Austria?
Once a businessman came to me and told me he has some contacts to an Indian factory. “You could let them produce the boxes produce and sell it for 1/4 of the actual price”. That was his idea.
My vision for social entrepreneurship in Austria is, that it can contribute to a greater awareness that business is not only about money and cheaper production but about creating value to customers (solutions to problems) and employees (purpose and financial safety) alike. So I hope in the future there will be fewer business people thinking like that.

A little piece of advice for social entrepreneurs to be?
Don’t believe everything they tell you 🙂

If you could put up a huge billboard anywhere – what would it say?
1000 Worms can eat your daily organic waste.

David is co-founder of 1000 Worms (formerly Wurmkiste). More information can be found on their website: https://www.1000worms.com

SEF introduces. Franziska.

By |Sunday, August 21, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , , |

Meet the SEF Team! Up today: Franziska Graf, aka Fran, who is responsible for brand building, visual content and communications. 

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
I am readjusting to Austria after having spent six months in Milan – so far I cut pasta consumption from 4 to 3 times a week. #proud

What are your summer plans?
Working, travelling and also actively taking some time for reflecting. Apart from that, highlights include friends, family and SEF, of course.

What is one random piece of information about you?
I often substitute lunch with gelato. Yes, that picture was taken during my lunch break.

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
I took a course at WU on the subject that gave me an introduction into the topic as well as the scene in Vienna. I quickly discovered some pretty awesome people with a shared spirit, that made me want to expand my knowledge and get involved.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
For me, SEF is about making change happen and creating a platform for dialogue. My vision is to see SEF become a movement across universities and countries.

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
I definitely see social entrepreneurship intertwined with my future, but to be honest I am still figuring out how, with a different idea in my head every day. What I do know is that I want to see purpose in the work I do and further explore how social entrepreneurship can be introduced in already existing businesses.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
I am currently reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and my Lonely Planet about Turkey. 

One piece of advice to business students?
It’s very easy to be pressured into expectations on where and how business students should work, driven by money and career perspectives. We need people that question the status quo and that want to shape a bright future. Use your time as much as possible to explore what really suits your talents. Talk to people. And think big. 

Find Fran on LinkedIn or contact her at franziska@socialentrepreneurship.org.

 

SEF introduces. Marc.

By |Sunday, August 14, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , , |

Up today on our Sunday interview is Marc Trebitsch, SEF Ambassador, whose exact role at SEF is still written in the stars. 

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
Currently I am enrolled as a business student at WU and am busy collecting research to finally finish my bachelor studies.

What are your summer plans?
I am spending all summer in beautiful Oregon, visiting my even more gorgeous girlfriend, enjoying the US lifestyle and assisting her dad in business and miscellaneous affairs.

What is one random piece of information about you?
I like to directly translate German to English and weird people out by doing so:
Dude you hang me out so much, but still, can I build me in on your sandwich?

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
Mostly through my friend Goran Maric, who sharpened my awareness for SEF and invited me to SEF rises, but also through all kinds of people around me telling me that I was too “nice” for business when I complained about common (mal)practices in the outside world.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
I want to raise awareness for social and solidary causes in our society and demonstrate to the business world that there is more to pursue in life than just the plain and dull belief that (more) money alone will lead to happiness.

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
I want to accomplish actual change in the way we interact with each other and how we treat one another. SEF is a hub to propagate this change and inform as many people as possible that something is happening. I am still dreaming, but I am dreaming big.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
Currently I am rereading “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli, which will be followed by his Discourses. In order to keep my feet on the ground after this intense session I will read “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brandon Burchard.

One piece of advice to business students?
Step 1: So you are studying business and dreaming of big money, just like I did at some point during my business degree…so far so good. Step 2: Now go watch and truly understand relevant movies such as the Wolf of Wall Street and the Big Short. Step 3: Do everything in order to avoid becoming one of those greedy people who plunge the world into crisis with their striving for more and more profit.

Find Marc on LinkedIn or send him a message at marc@socialentrepreneurshipforum.org for questions and answers.

SEF interviews. Younited Cultures.

By |Thursday, August 11, 2016|Categories: SEF interviews|Tags: , , , |

Another interview, another social enterprise: Andra and Younited Cultures.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Optimist, creative, fighter.

What problem do you solve?
Raising awareness towards the positive role of im/migrants for the society and economy.

As a migrant myself, I am disappointed to see how the negative image of migrants is being constantly promoted, yet, the positive side of migration is never really shown. I want to bring more awareness towards that. The press plays a big role in influencing society. Migration has been misrepresented for far too long. We need new ideas to show that migration is positive.

How does your business model work?
Storytelling scarves. Wear a story!

Together with the im-/migrant role models and through a creative process we transform their integration journey into unique scarf designs, that express their character, diversity and cultural heritage. In order to make our message impactful for everyone, we also created the “Celebrate Migration” signature scarf, which aims to become a symbol for cultural diversity. By wearing it, we make the positive image of migration visible, a topic rarely promoted and spoken about.

We sell these scarves/ stories as gifts online, via fairs, events, shops as well as companies. Additionally, we now offer a teambuilding workshop for companies to create their own signature scarf with their employees. We capture their story, vision and values and put them on a scarf that they or customers can receive on special occasions.

What is social entrepreneurship to you? And what is it not?
Creating value for society no matter your business, product or service. Overall, social entrepreneurship is not a charity activity. It’s creating value, purpose and impact by putting people before profits.

What are the toughest challenges you have to face by running a social business?
Finding state funds that concern social entrepreneurship, which are equal to none. We are registered as a GmbH (eng. company with limited liability) but act as NGO, which means that we reinvest the earnings to bring awareness towards our vision, to celebrate cultural diversity. And for that, there is no subsidy, because we are for-profit, but our focus is social.

It saddens me that all I hear about is tech funds, digital app funds, fast growth, fast job creation. There’s always money for that, but nothing for social entrepreneurship.

What is your vision for social entrepreneurship in Austria?
That all companies act more social. I hope it will become a standard form of doing business.

A little piece of advice for social entrepreneurs to be?
Network with other social entrepreneurs, learn from their experiences and be aware that, in order to make an impact, you also have to develop a sustainable business model. Don’t get dependent on external money (sponsors, etc.) but make sure you have a viable product that can sustain you long-term.

Andra is founder and CEO of Younited Cultures. For more information please visit http://younitedcultures.eu.

SEF introduces. Jana.

By |Sunday, August 7, 2016|Categories: SEF introduces|Tags: , , |

Meet the SEF Team! Up today: Jana Christina Fälbl, who is responsible for Involvement, Event Coordination and Website Development.

What are you doing right now? One sentence, short and sweet.
Studying pedagogy and didactics to become a teacher next fall. #excited 😀

What is one random piece of information about you?
I would love to have a nickname, but my first name is too short, so nobody ever gave me one. I can recommend JC.

How did you first become interested in social entrepreneurship?
Through a class at WU called “Social Entrepreneurship” in early 2014, and especially through the introduction to the Impact Hub Vienna – a place where the social entrepreneurship spirit is simply in the air.

What is your motivation behind SEF?
For me, SEF is about the people. It helps me to meet those who strive for more than just to make a living. With SEF, I want to create a broad community of students and young professionals, who desire to make the world a better place by being creative innovators. Because of SEF I am allowed to work with people who inspire me everyday.

How do you envision yourself and social entrepreneurship in the future?
I have not yet decided, whether I want to become a social founder myself, or someone who is making change happen in a public sector organisation. What is certain, though, is that I want my work to be focused on fostering educational equality.

What’s on your bookshelf at the moment?
“Herausforderung Migration” (engl. the challenge migration) by Hans Winkler – a book on how we can manage the current challenges due to immigration.

One piece of advice to business students?
Whether business or not – use your skills wisely. Don’t only take your own career or profit goals into account, but think about how the work you (will) do affects others. We are facing challenging times of various conflicts and cultural, ethical, religious misunderstandings. This is why I truly believe that it is highly important to our society that we as a generation focus our efforts on collaboration instead of competition.

Find Jana on LinkedIn or contact her at jana@socialentrepreneurshipforum.org if you have any more questions.