13 06, 2016

SEF blogs. SEF connects #2.

By |Monday, June 13, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Have you ever sat down and asked yourself: why? Why do I go to work every morning? Why do I live my life the way I am living it?

That was the question we asked our SEFsters at this month’s event, SEF connects #2, centred around our growing community.
Based on the Golden Circle Model we talked about our own “why?”, what inspires us, what drives us – a question that was also answered by our amazing pitchers during the main part of the evening. We invited our members to present their own ideas and projects, to share their inspiration and get feedback from our community:

We heard from Ulrike about her idea, called In-your-hands, to make funerals a much more personal matter, thereby helping people better deal with their grief. Markus from Root Engineering told us how he wants to make fresh vegetables accessible to a larger amount of people. Lisa-Maria founded the organisation More Than One Perspective, that supports refugees during the process of integration into the job market. Helmut talked about Option 2.0, a platform that enables the donation of money to specific people and their ventures. Finally, I got to pitch Milch für Flüchtlingskinder, a project that strives to make refugees in Irak self-supporters by providing them with cows.

At the end, we asked our guests to give feedback on SEF and what they wanted to see next semester. It showed what we had expected: our members love talking to each other – more time for Q&A was a popular demand (which I am sure can be arranged :D).

We are so happy that SEFsters are obviously inspired by each other and that our community is so alive, creative and enriching. So thank you all for an amazing semester. We are excited to plan over the summer and look forward to seeing you again in the fall!

PITCHER INFO AND LINKS:
Ulrike Reimann – In-your-hands
Markus Kraut – Root Engineering
Lisa-Maria Sommer – More Than One Perspective
Helmut Gruber – Option 2.0
Silvana Lobin – Milch für Flüchtlingskinder

13 05, 2016

SEF blogs. SEF connects (so many awesome people).

By |Friday, May 13, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

After SEF rises, this month’s event was all about bringing like-minds together and strengthening our growing community. And what better way to do that than to sit down over some nice food and drinks in a great location, the WU Gründungszentrum, the Entrepreneurship Center.

SEF connects was centered around the concept of idea generation. For this, we first asked our 25 guests to write down social issues they found interesting and then break up into smaller groups. They settled on five general topics: sustainability, unemployment, mental illness, integration of migrants and systemic questions. After about an hour of narrowing down the problems and discussing potential solutions, ideas were pitched to the rest of the Forum.

Knowing SEFsters, we expected some great ideas and interesting conversation. Expectations were exceeded, however, as from the second we started, the room was filled with the buzzing sound of voices. When it came to pitching and giving feedback, the discussion could have literally gone on for hours.

H​ere are some of the ideas:

  •  A portable cultivated area as a means of reducing hunger and furthering social interaction as well as a healthy diet
  •  An app contacting people who suffer from dementia on a daily basis, in order to ensure their safety and make them feel connected
  •  A job­ platform for people who are unemployed, which would include social projects (in case they do not find a job right away, they would have an occupation, which gives structure to their day and helps prevent social exclusion)

We also talked about how the last idea could be used for refugees, since working can further integration tremendously (you learn the language, make social contacts, get the feeling that you are being productive). In terms of systemic questions, of which there are undoubtedly a lot, the importance of international solutions and building bridges was stressed.

Needless to say, such an amazing evening is only possible with equally wonderful and inspiring people. We feel very fortunate to have been able to host such a great group of people and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who was there, we loved having you!

We hope to see you soon at our next event, SEF connect #2, on 08.06.2016!

29 04, 2016

SEF interviews. Wohnwagon.

By |Friday, April 29, 2016|Categories: SEF interviews|Tags: , , |0 Comments

SEF interviews once again, this time Theresa from Wohnwagon! 

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Passionate, persistent problem-solver.

What problem do you solve?
We offer solutions for the future of natural living. Looking at a world of immense resource waste, climate change and a lot of unhappiness, most people know that things can’t go on like this. But they are lacking a clear understanding of what to do. The Wohnwagon (engl. caravan) is one possible alternative and inspires people to find new ways of self-sustained and natural living. The 25m2 living unit is completely independent thanks to its bio-toilet, water treatment system and photovoltaik system. We sell the Wohnwagon for multiple purposes: it can be a full-time living unit, an office, a hotel room or a second home. We also offer the modular autarky systems of the Wohnwagon for different purposes and want to help people to take steps towards a more sustainable and independent life – no matter if they are living in a small flat in the city or on a huge farm in the country.

How does your business model work?
We sell Wohnwagons (engl. caravans) well as products for natural, self-sustained living and offer workshops and coaching to help people realise their ideas.

What is Social Entrepreneurship to you? And what is it not?
Social Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to address the problems of our times while building a business that is also financially sustainable and independent from public support or donations. It is not an excuse for politics or the individual citizen to engage in those topics as well.

What are the toughest challenges you have to face by running a social business?
Keeping your focus on your impact and at the same time acting in a financially responsible way is tough sometimes. Your energy might drift more to one side or to the other eventually. What is important is that you keep evaluating your business. Even if there is a lot to do, take a step back and analyse where you are and where you are going right now, discuss it with your team and partners and listen to your gut feeling.

What is your vision for Social Entrepreneurship in Austria?
I think Social Entrepreneurship can become a great trend that not only solves social and environmental problems but also offers people a meaningful place to work where they can still make a living. It is great that this platform tries to raise the awareness for this possibility to found a business! I think it should also be taught at universities and it might make sense to establish a separate corporate form for it.

A little piece of advice for social entrepreneurs-to-be?
Find an area that you are really passionate about. Build a great team, that you can rely on – even if times get tougher. Keep going!


Theresa Steininger is the CEO of Wohnwagon. For more information, please visit http://www.wohnwagon.at

26 04, 2016

SEF interviews. whatchado.

By |Tuesday, April 26, 2016|Categories: SEF interviews|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Welcome to our new category: SEF interviews, giving you real-life examples of inspiring social entrepreneurs. First up: Kambis from whatchado! The stage is yours.

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Ambitious, motivated, megalomaniac.

What problem do you solve?
Jobs can be fascinating. However, too many young people nowadays lack clear vision in what to do and what not. Particularly job- and career-wise they are still seeking to find something that really matches their interests.
Back in 2012, my friends and I therefore decided to launch the portal whatchado, a combination of storytelling handbook and standardised format of short films on real-life job descriptions. Fascinating job stories and a dating concept will guide job seekers to find their true calling. Loving to probe people on their lives and backgrounds, we want to provide authentic career information and empower young people. We have therefore collected thousands of faces, careers and inspiring stories from all walks of life, regardless of position, rank and industry.

How does your business model work?
Using online (Social Media, SEO) and offline (Events, whatchaSKOOL) marketing, we acquire users within the relevant target group (13-34yrs.). Our customers pay to keep accessing this target group through company profiles. On these profiles their employees introduce their jobs and employers in a standardised video format. New digital placements and advertising ensure our recurring revenues.

What is Social Entrepreneurship to you? And what is it not?
Social Entrepreneurship to me is changing the society for the better. Whereas most businesses often focus on making profit or increasing shareholder value only, social businesses also need to target a societal problem, e.g. lack in education, and provide a proper solution. In doing so, you can sustainably change your environment.

What are the toughest challenges you have to face by running a social business?
I think that one of the toughest challenges is having a sustainable business model that generates regular income. Many social businesses ultimately fail because they cannot operate without external financiers. Therefore, social entrepreneurs need to understand basic business economics as well.

What is your vision for Social Entrepreneurship in Austria?
My vision for Social Entrepreneurship in Austria is a strong increase in younger people who are not afraid of becoming social entrepreneurs. This comes with a positive approach in entrepreneurial mindset and that social businesses benefit the whole society.

 A little piece of advice for social entrepreneurs to be?
Dare!


Kambis Kohansal Vajargah is the co-founder and CMO at whatchado. For more information please visit https://www.whatchado.com

23 04, 2016

SEF blogs. SEF rises (and it was amaaaaazing).

By |Saturday, April 23, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

After “SEF involves”, this was our first major event, including guest speakers, a podium discussion, snacks, drinks – the works! We started off with our Keynote-Speaker, Walter Emberger, the founder of Teach for Austria, who gave us an insight into his journey from being a banker and consultant to becoming Austria’s first social entrepreneur of the year.

After a short session of doing the twist (yes I mean the 60s dance – gotta loosen up), we dove right into the impulse-speeches. We heard from Dominik Beron, who founded refugeeswork.at, Birgitt Wodon-Lauboeck from Projekt Bank für Gemeinwohl, and Toni Kronke, who helped start Teach for Austria. Afterwards, these three inspiring people sat down and answered our questions in a podium discussion – and here’s what we learned:

Social entrepreneurs strike new paths, not only in terms of what they do but how they do it. While expertise and hard work are no doubt part of being a social entrepreneur, the most important aspect is the motivation to effect positive change – it is what drives them and keeps them going even in the most frustrating of times.

We are proud to have hosted over 90 people – thank you all for your support and we hope to see you on 11.05.2016 at our next event, “SEF connects”!


For more pictures and a recap video please visit our Facebook page.

If you want to know more about our guest speakers and their organisations, check out their videos on our Facebook page or follow these links to learn about their projects: http://www.teachforaustria.at/
https://refugeeswork.at/
https://www.mitgruenden.at/

12 04, 2016

SEF blogs. SEF involves reviewed.

By |Tuesday, April 12, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , |0 Comments

Do you feel like business needs to be more social? Do you think that our economy should serve the people in this world, and not the other way around? Then you are like me. I’m an ambassador for SEF and today I would like to tell you about my experience at “SEF involves” and how I got inspired to become a part of SEF.

The idea of “SEF involves” was to inform attendees about SEF’s activities and goals. But what I expected to be a simple presentation turned out to be much more than that.

Not only did the founders of SEF share their vision, to make social business the standard by building a community of like-minded people, but they immediately put that idea to work by inviting everyone of us to share our own motivation for being there. It gave us a chance to exchange ideas and opinions, and inspired a lively conversation right from the start.

This open and communicative atmosphere persisted throughout the entire evening and at the end I wasn’t just convinced that social business was going to be the next big thing. I also loved the idea of getting together with so many great people and becoming a part of such an inspiring community.

13 03, 2016

SEF blogs. Expectations and explanations.

By |Sunday, March 13, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , , |0 Comments

As mentioned in our previous post, this blog serves multiple purposes, from documenting our progress to giving inspiration as well as a stage. How will this work?

The plan is to have different sub-sections on our blog, with 1-2 posts a week:

SEF blogs. A glimpse behind the scenes of the SEF Team.

SEF interviews. Where social entrepreneurs explain why and what they are doing, in order to make social entrepreneurship more relatable.

SEF recaps. Reviews and learnings of our events.

SEF zooms. Highlighting aspects of social entrepreneurship in specific cities. Vienna is the most obvious example, but expect a broader view.

SEF inspires.  YOUR stage to talk about topics you care for.

We are always looking for enthusiastic content contributors, so if you want to share your knowledge on our blog, feel free to contact us (franziska@socialentrepreneurshipforum.org).

9 03, 2016

SEF blogs. Our history.

By |Wednesday, March 9, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , , |0 Comments

The idea to create The Social Entrepreneurship Forum first appeared in the fall of 2014, when Jana attended multiple Think Tank events in Washington D.C.. Also Christine considered it a fruitful plan to host a Think Tank  for Vienna’s Social Entrepreneurs to be, which resulted in the first event in the spring of 2015 with around 30 attendees (under the name Social Venture Think Tank). After helping with the the organisation of the following events, both Fran and Alex quickly took up the spirit and joined the team. The most recent addition to the SEF Team was Goran, also sharing SEF’s vision.

Since the spring of 2015 not only our naming, but many other things have changed. A lot of brainstorming, experimentation and feedback have transformed a vague idea into a growing community of like-minds: people who strive to make the world a better place by creating sustainable yet social business models. 

We just left the pilot phase and recently launched our website, Facebook page, and much more. Click here to find out more about our mission.

The SEF story continues.

6 03, 2016

SEF blogs. The beginning.

By |Sunday, March 6, 2016|Categories: SEF blogs|Tags: , |0 Comments

Welcome to our blog, dear SEFsters and newbies!

You might ask yourself: Why is SEF blogging?

It really breaks down to two aspects.

First of all, you, our community, form an essential pillar of the Social Entrepreneurship Forum. And we, the people behind SEF, want to be as transparent as possible. This includes how we work and also who we are. Therefore, via this blog, we want to give you a glimpse behind the scenes and keep you up to date. Capturing our progress, learning from it and sharing our passion is also a main aim of this blog.

Secondly, we aim to broaden perspectives and inspire to take action. This blog will therefore serve as a platform for creating content, sharing knowledge and making Social Entrepreneurship relatable. Furthermore, we want to involve you, so if there is anything you would like to say to other members of this community, we would be happy to give you a stage. We want you to discuss issues you are interested in.

So, what more to say? Spread the love and feel free to reach out to us (franziska@socialentrepreneurshipforum.org)!