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.