• “Believing it works for me it will work for others, too” – RefugeesWork

    We´re pleased to present you one of the greatest SIA Austria winners of 2016, who moreover won several grants like Get activeEuropean Youth Award and a listing on Forbes 30 under 30, European Youth Award. A group of Austrian social entrepreneurs knew exactly what to do in terms of effective integration of refugees in the Austrian society! This is not only a success story of RefugeesWork.at, but about the user and its experience with the platform!

    The social entrepreneurs of RefugeesWork.at aimed to build an easy-to-use online platform to help refugees find legal working and education opportunities which are in line with their skills – and they truly succeeded! To enable closer insights of this project, which was launched in the summer 2016, we are pleased to present to you an interview with Ali Almoualem from Syria, who was lucky in finding the right job through the platform and who was willing to share his story with us!


    Dear Ali, thanks for taking the time for us today! We’re interested in your story, could you briefly introduce yourself – where you come from and what your occupation is? 

    My name is Ali, I come from Syria, and I am 27 years old.
    I have been in Vienna since October 2014. I studied Business Information Technology BIT in Syria.
    During my studies I worked for 4 years as IT support at a big company in Damascus.
    At that time I was very happy and I have got good experiences which helped me to start my new life here in Austria. Now I work at Xerox Austria as a Support Analyst.


    Please give us a brief description how you got to Austria and how the public services supported you to make your first steps here.

    In 2014 I had to leave Syria, because I was called to the military service and I didn’t want to be part of the conflict, so I decided to flee to Europe. I have chosen to stay in Austria because I heard and read about it, I liked the life style and the various opportunities to continue either my studies or my career.

    When I arrived in Austria I was depressed: new language, new culture and a new beginning almost from the scratch. What made it even harder for me were the people I met – many people who have been living in Austria for years.
    They all told me it is very hard to get a job in my fields right now. I should´ve worked anything at the beginning till I learn the language and get to know how it works then.
    I didn’t listen to them because I knew myself better than everyone else, and I knew that IT is IT everywhere.
    The AMS (labor bureau) didn’t actually help that much, they helped me only with a German course (A2). The other courses (A1, B1) were from the ÖIF.
    My consultant at the AMS did not know that much about IT, so I had to look for another way by myself.


    What was your experience with using the platform RefugeesWork? Which services did you enjoy on it?

    I started to look for a job about a year ago on the popular job platforms, such as Karriere, Hokify… also on the AMS website.

    Then I heard about RefugeesWork.at from a friend. At that time, there were no jobs on it, it was in the Beta phase, only a registration was available.

    I was interested in the idea, because it sounded good to me as a refugee. Two months later the website started to offer some jobs. I applied for the first job  which was at the mobile service provider „Drei“, and I got my first job interview in Austria.

    Even though it didn’t work out I was really happy and got my power back, because it was the first job interview after about 15 job application rejections.

    A big thanks goes to the RefugeesWork team, I have a job now!

    I like the search engine on the platform, the filtration works good, I can choose my language level, in which state I want to work and in which fields do I look for a job.

    My favorite service is the news broadcasting over Telegram. This is really a good idea because no one has to login to websites in order to get news. This has become an old fashioned way, we get the news nowadays directly on our smartphones as notifications!


    Were there many firms that suited to your profile? How was the interaction with them?
    I applied for more than 20 times and the only interviews that I had were through RefugeesWork.

    The interaction with the firms was great: I always got a reply – either a rejection or an interview invitation, unlike other platforms where I several times got no reply at all.

    What I also like about the platform is that there were/are not only small firms but also the big ones such as (Drei, Xerox, Allianz…) which look for employees in many different fields.


    Would or did you recommend the platform to others and why?

    I had 5 job interviews before I found the one at Xerox, all of them were through RefugeesWork, so I will indeed recommend RW to others. Because I believe it worked for me and will work for others.
    Another important thing about RW is that the firms, which are looking out for employees through this platform, know already that newcomers have some language difficulties and so on, and this is a thing that I appreciate!


    Perfect, Ali! We really appreciate you were sharing your experiences with us, thanks once again and all the best!

    Thank you for sharing the good experiences, and I hope I helped!

    Refugeeswork.at has yet won several prizes and grants such as Get activeEuropean Youth Award, Social Impact Award and a listing on Forbes 30 under 30, European Youth Award.

    They have an active number of +300 employers and +6000 refugees using the platform. Since Autumn 2016 RefugeesWork.at has conveyed over 70 jobs, amongst Ali was one of them.


    Author: Tizian Müllritter

    Proof-Reading: Jakob Detering

    Global-Editing: Tizian Müllritter

  • 5 (and a half) books every Social Changemaker should read

    Whenever I came to a point in my personal or professional life where I wasn’t sure if I am doing the right thing or what should my next steps be in order to achieve my goal, I always found help, comfort and peace in books. Inspired by a quote of Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker – “The book you don’t read won’t help”, I decided to read a dozen of books recommended by friends, youth workers, leaders, entrepreneurs so that you don’t have to, and help you find the right ones in the sea of inspirational, motivational and practical books.

    1. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and The Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein

    It is called the Bible for social entrepreneurs, and for a good reason I may add. This is not a “how-to” guide, even though the title might suggest otherwise. It is rather a collection of stories of social entrepreneurs around the world.  It is very factual and informative, but also has very personal and emotional stories.

    How To Change the World is not just for (aspiring) social entrepreneurs – it will help you find inspiration and motivation in the strength and persistence of the people described, no matter what is it you do in life. Caution: it might change your life forever.

    1. Start something that matters, by Blake Mycoskie

    You’ve probably heard of, or might even own a pair of TOMS, but do you know the story behind it? It is a social enterprise, one of the pioneers of ‘one for one’ movement. For every pair bought, TOMS donates one pair of shoes to the child in need. This easy-to-read book is a testimony of how and why Blake founded TOMS. It is also full of practical advice on how to include giving in your business model, why building trust is important, how to deal with and overcome fear and many others. Blake shows the successes but also failures they survived, and draws on lessons learned from both.

    The book will probably be more useful for purpose driven people and those already in the field of social entrepreneurship, as it is written as a set of short lessons. However, the book is such an easy read, I would actually recommend it to everyone.

    1. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance

    This is probably not a typical book you will find in the book recommendations for social changemakers, however, I found it quite edifying. The book doesn’t portray Elon Musk (entrepreneur and innovator behind PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity) as a perfect manager, CEO nor husband. It doesn’t hide the scandals and controversies over his takeovers and ownerships of the companies.

    Than why is it a must read? Because he is one of the rare actual visionaries of our time. His mission to put people in Mars, and the efforts to actually achieve this, has inspired me and left me in awe so many times throughout the book. The persistence he showed, even in the toughest times (at one point he almost declared bankruptcy), will definitely make you question your reasons for quitting on your dreams and aspirations.

    Probably one of my favorite Elon’s quotes from the book is – “I think there are probably too many smart people pursuing internet stuff, finance and law. […] That’s part of the reason why we haven’t seen as much innovation.”

    This book is for all social changemakers, no matter the field and industry (and for space enthusiast for sure). It will shift your perspective from short term to long term thinking, and also offer some valuable lessons along the way. Truly inspiring!

    1. Start with why, How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek

    Start With Why will not inspire you into action as previous books might. It will however provide you with a useful tool you can use in your life, business and impact making. Simon did not discover something revolutionary, and some parts of the book might seem too obvious while reading. However, it is a thing we often forget or disregard to communicate to other people. His model for inspirational leadership – the Golden Circle, will make you think about Why. Why you do what you’re doing, and how to then channel that towards your audience to inspire them to follow your vision.

    The book is very clear, with lots of examples, and although at times it might seem a bit repetitive, I urge you to carry on. There is also a website that follows the book, where you can find some useful free tools to embark on the journey of discovering your Why. I would recommend it to everyone, especially to those on the leadership positions within organizations.

    1. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

    Okay, if you haven’t heard of the book, go straight to the bookstore/library and pick it up. It is a must for anyone entering the startup world today. Why? Because it will change your thinking of business as rigid, hard-changing system that works forever. The Lean Startup methodology pushes you to test your product or service cheaply and quickly, and make better business decisions (or recover from bad ones quicker).

    The Lean Startup book can be chewed up in couple of hours, but the lessons you learn along the way will stick with you for a long time. Don’t hesitate to read even if you are not entering the world of entrepreneurship. It can also be used as a way of thinking in various non-business projects, as the next book will expand on.

    5½. Lean Startup for Social Change: The revolutionary path to big impact, by Michel Gelobter

    To be clear – I am not suggesting you should read only half of this book. On the contrary! However, as Lean Startup for Social Change builds up on the previous book and I honestly recommend reading it right after.  Gelobter takes Ries’s concepts of Lean Startup and unpacks them into valuable tools for experiments and value drivers in non-profits and governments.

    This is a great read for changemakers looking for ways to go Lean in their work for a better and more sustainable impact.

    Have you read any of these books? What are the most valuable lessons you got from them?

    Are there any other books you would recommend? 

                                         We take note…

  • How to professionalize the PR efforts for your next event

    If you want to promote an event/program, it is very important to develop a PR action plan in the very early stage. The best strategy: Start as early as possible!

    To make a clear picture you might divide the whole campaign into three phases 1) before, 2) during, 3) after the event. The most part of your work you will have to do before the event.

    1) Before an Event

    a) Define your story

    Everything a journalist cares about is the story! If you want that the media covers SIA, you have to define and create a great story. Media channels don’t like to cover one and the same story, they love to be special.

    • Give the media exclusive stories
    • Pack stories in different ways for different TV programs (use morning shows, talks, news, etc.)


    b) Develop personal connections

    As emotional as journalists are about stories they are about people. So, don’t work with media organizations but with the individuals that work in them.

    • Make a list of most valuable potential media partners and call them
    • Meet journalists face-to-face and build a personal connection (don’t forget to bring an impact report!)
    • Don’t be afraid of getting in touch with mainstream media such as TV and larger newspapers or radio stations. SIA is a sexy product with attractive stories. If you do it right, they will love it!
    • Consider the right day time for journalists when scheduling an event.

    c) Create a press release

    Journalists are busy people. The more organized and clear press releases they receive from you, the bigger your media coverage will be. You will have to prepare two separate sheets. The first one will be an announcement of the event, which you will have to send in advance to the event to invite media representatives at the event. The second one is a press release that should be sent straight after the event.


    • Start with an attention-grabbing headline in bold font
    • Begin the body with the date and the venue
    • Summarize the subject in the lead sentence
    • With two sentences describe the program/event
    • Put the logos of event/program, partners, stakeholders

    Press Release:

    • Start with an attention-grabbing headline in bold font
    • Begin the body with the date and the venue
    • Summarize the subject in the lead sentence
    • Describe the important details of your story for the rest of the body
    • Add quotations of key stakeholders
    • Do not forget to include your contact information
    • Do not make the press release too long (max 2 pages)
    • Put the logos of event/program, partners, stakeholders
    • Attach a photo of the event to the press release

    2) During an Event

    When the big day has come, make sure to host the journalists well and provide them with all the information they might need. The best way to do so is by distributing a media kit. Such a media kit should come in a branded folder and include:

    • Press release
    • Facts and figures about SIA in a form of a factsheet
    • Photos of team members, partner representatives, and other relevant stakeholders; event photos
    • SIA information brochure or flyer
    • Business cards of representatives
    • (Ideally branded) USB stick with all that information (plus a SIA power-point presentation)

    Moreover, there are a few tips&tricks that will make your PR efforts throughout the event more successful:

    • Journalists are busy people, so they might not stay until the end of the event – put the most important things in the beginning;
    • Prepare all the speakers who are going to give a comment for the media in advance. For media representatives it is more convenient to take the interviews before starting the event;
    • If the budget allows, hire a professional photographer to capture your event and record it. To have a high quality photos is particularly important to share with the media;
    • Have a prepared list of invited guests and media representatives in the entrance to check who is attending – you might use the list for upcoming events;
    • Start the event on time – nobody likes waiting;
    • After finishing the event try to contact the journalists directly building on the personal relationship.
    • Do not forget to say special thanks to the media representatives;
    • Ask media representatives where they are going to broadcast their story; otherwise you will have to spend the following days searching for the coverage.

    3) After an Event

    It’s not over yet. To make your PR efforts really professional, follow up on the event with this:

    • Send the press release to your media mailing list straight after the event, or even before finishing it;
    • Collect all the media coverage and archive, you will need it in the future to show your (potential) partners how you increase their brand recognition;
    • Put the most interesting TV stories about the event on your Social Media channels (tag people);
    • Start all over again and plan your next event!



    This blogpost has been created by Ketevan Ebanoidze from SIA Georgia. Ketevan is a public relations and media communications specialist with extensive experience working for wide range of TV programs in different Georgian televisions. Prior to Impact Hub, since 2010 she lead Media and Communication Division at the Ministry of Culture and Monument protection of Georgia, where she managed high standard media communication and public relations for the Ministry, Ministry officials and for 80 entities working under the ministry. She graduated Journalism from Tbilisi state University and did her Master’s degree at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in Journalism and Media-Management. She is an alumni of London School of Public Relations.

    Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • Four IT social enterprises from SIA Russia

    When you come into a subway car, the first thing you see – that every second passenger looks at his or her smartphone screen. Someone chats, someone looks for a present for their relatives, someone does both things simultaneously. A smartphone is a key to a world filled with opportunities – you just need to click “connect to Wi-fi”.

    The Internet as the opportunity to help – residents of Impact Hub Moscow and SIA members consider in this way. We have prepared a list of  4 “good” enterprises, which keep up to date and solve social challenges online.

    Teddy Food, Social Impact Award 2016 finalist


    It helps those who cannot ask for help.

    Interactive service for help to homeless animals, which makes this process not only useful for pets, but also fascinating for the supporters. Each user has a personal account in the system and can donate money for animals’ needs. Everyone can choose a pet and the need to pay: food, care, treatment, etc., what significantly reduces shelters’ expenses. The most active users receive titles for their purchase. And, of course, the highest reward goes to those who took the pet to his home.


    Brainify, Impact Hub Moscow residents



    It helps those who got lost and tired from routine job.

    The educational project Branify is a four-week online course, which aims to help people discover their strengths, to realize what they wants from life. The project will be useful for those who just graduated from the university and the representatives of older generations, who fear major changes. Each participant receives access to the program with various tasks. An important component is the support of the curator – a specialist who can help to make correct conclusions from the program. You can sign up for one of the 8 sections for free. The full package involves a monthly paid subscription. In this case, the project offers different types of membership – basic and with advanced functionality in the form of additional checklists and reminders. For those who want to support the project financially, there is a special crowdfunding subscription “I love Branify”.


    BuySocial, Social Impact Award 2016 winner



    It helps those who are in need.

    BuySocial — the first Internet shop, which sells goods of the Russian social entrepreneurs and charitable organizations. Buying these products, customers are involved in charity work, give work to vulnerable categories of citizens, contribute to  the environment and culture. The project live due to the commission at the represented goods.

    Another task, which the founders have had – the formation of a special community of people who share the values of responsible consumption. Now BuySocial gathers more than 10 partners, who solve different social problem: whether it is support for people with serious diseases or the employment of vulnerable segments of the population.


    Teplitsa of social technologies, Impact Hub Moscow resident



    It helps to help effectively.

    Non-profit educational project which promotes cooperation between NGOs and the IT-specialists and also explains how social problems can be solved with the help of information technology. In the Teplitsa they have different educational programs for NGOs. For example, the program which explains how to seek funding or to make a website. Besides, the Teplitsa realizes online initiatives. Their portfolio includes projects profitable for NGOs : IT-volunteer — a service for online sharing of knowledge and skills in the field of information technology; Online-leiсa — the system for crowdfunding, fundraising and donations; Paseka (Apiary) — the search system of the best IT-companies and independent professionals, who are interested in work with nonprofit organizations.


    Author: Maria Kogan

    Proof-Reader: Ksenia Usanova

    Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • 5 Reasons for Opening Healthy Food Restaurant as a Social Business Enterprise

    Freshys – the first take-out restaurant with a social business model in Macedonia

    – SIA winner 2016 –


    1. There are people that stay hungry for more than 24 hours (even in your local community)

    Can you imagine that in the 21st century there are still people that don’t have access to proper meals for more than 24 hours? In our local reality, in Skopje, homeless people have an opportunity to visit the open public kitchens that offer free meals only from Monday to Friday. So basically, throughout the weekend these homeless people are left without food. This affects their dignity directly – meaning they must beg for food or do dumpster diving. The restaurant Freshys, together with the organization Kindness and the informal initiative Retweet A Meal, decided to partly solve this problem by giving free meals to the people in need every Saturday in the center of the city.

    The food business is natural way of solving the lack of food for homeless people


    1. Restaurant – a great place for promoting social entrepreneurship

    Macedonia is a small country with many social challenges. And we are still at the beginning of the journey called developing social entrepreneurship eco-system.  Many of the young people, and population in general lack the knowledge of what the social business is truly about. As a place visited by a lot of people on a daily base, Freshys is a perfect location where people can taste wonderful food and get better insight into the world of social business. Healthy food and education is a win – win solution for all youngsters.

    It’s a business where a lot of people come every day as a customer/client, plus is a good way of promoting social business and social entrepreneurship


    1. Work integration of deprived people can easily happen here

    Future plans and social goals are also directed towards work integration of these targeted groups. As no one needs high education and special skills in order to prepare food, these plans could turn into realization quite easier. A couple of trainings, patience and a lot of passion – and Freshys will be able to employ homeless people, single moms, youngsters that are long-term unemployed, people with disability…

    Work integration project for homeless people or other deprived people, easy to train potential employees from these groups


    1. Positive influence on people’s healthy lifestyles

    In Skopje, all fast food places that you can visit in your busy daily life are not really offering healthy food. A couple of years ago, there were only one or two places of this kind, though the food prices they had were high. Opening a healthy fast food restaurant with affordable prices shapes the behavior of people in the local community. It helps them to stay healthy, save money and still not spend their time on cooking! 

    Skopje doesn’t offer affordable healthy food options/ The owner, Ljubomir Stojcheski, is a big fan of healthy food


    1. Grab the market share

    With busy agendas nowadays, people don’t have much time for cooking and preparing their favorite dishes and meals.  Having healthy fast food restaurants as an option, they can save their time and do other favorite activities while still enjoying the healthy food. The market for ready-to-eat foods is constantly growing and this gives a chance for growth and a capture of a bigger market share.

    Market shares of food industry is getting bigger/ you don’t have to cook at home


    So, don’t hesitate – go for it… open your own healthy food restaurant, work on the habits of people around you, integrate the people in need and do something good for you and your society! 


    Author: Marija Matovska

    Editor/ proofreader: Dimitar Chatleski

    Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • They don’t understand, that social business must earn money too

    Young entrepreneurs, high-school students or NGOs. That all defines Juraj Kováč, the founder of Rozbehni sa!, speaker of Social Impact Slovakia, and expert volunteer for LEAF – we could definitely go on with his other roles. He will tell us, what are the most common mistakes done by the starting businessmen and what NGOs lack.


    Dear Juraj, do you focus on startups or rather people who are just about to start their career as entrepreneurs?

    I understand startups as a global technology oriented and scalable company, that has potential for a fast growth and generate revenue of million or billion euro in a short term. But I do focus more on ordinary people.


    Who is that?

    Someone with lack of experience, lack of starting capital and maybe even without an idea. Let’s take Jane, a girl from a small town in Slovakia without any real experience from a business world. And there are thousands of people like her.


    There are many jokes about communication between a marketing agency and a client who can’t understand each other. How is it in your case, when talking to people without any experience? Do you sometimes go crazy?

    No, because I am trying to use tools that will work without me as well. For example I have the e-learning or StarteR!. It would be more more difficult if I had to deal with each and every person individually.


    What’s your goal?

    The whole Rozbehni sa! is basically a social business. On one side I do want to help, that’s my priority, to push entrepreneurship more into educational system, so that every child can go through our course at the high school. Similar to swimming course at the elementary school, where you get basics of how not to get drowned, we would like children to get to know how to swim in the world of business and not get drowned at the labour market.


    When we get back to Jane, we guess she does not have broad business literacy, right?

    True, she does not. And if she does, usually it’s an old-style. That means she thinks she needs to write a business plan and take a loan. Unfortunately she doesn’t think global and lean. That’s why I am creating tools to understand that every small problem can turn into an opportunity. The idea is to think in ANTO mode – to be able to offer your product or service to anyone tomorrow. There are three basic but key principles. How to generate an idea, ideally one per month, how to find the business model and to diagnose the idea in two hours and test it in 100 hours. Because the first stage of the business is testing whether the idea is worth starting.


    How to test the business idea if I want to open a café in my hometown?

    Firstly, it’s not the best idea, because it’s an old-school business with huge investment and operational costs included. The idea can be good but it can be too risky you could end up beaten.


    So you can’t teach me how to get rich in a month?

    No. I am not making a tutorial how to become a magnet for money. This is much more about microbusiness, about making a living. I am learning people how to skate, not play in NHL, however many people would prefer that. Playing there can be a dream for many of us, but skating is much more feasible for most of us.


    What’s the answer? Do people understand there is a satisfying alternative to the popular “American dream”?

    I don’t have proper statistics, but when they hear it, they seem to understand. There’s no magic behind it.


    What are the most common fails people do at the beginning?

    They usually focus on wrong activities. Create a logo, fundraise, find offices etc. They use the road of costs instead of revenues. The philosophy is to explain them to get on the road of revenues and not focus on building the complex product, but the prototype they can pre-order, get the feedback, implement it and repeat.


    What happens then? Will I skip the bankruptcy and succeed?

    Most of the project fail, that’s reality. But the lean startup methodology is about starting small and testing the ability to succeed in small as fast and cheap as possible.


    So you save people money…

    In a way. I want they will save not only money, but time and ego, too.



    Sure. Usually you fall in love with your idea. If it doesn’t work, people think they failed, not the idea. It is important to get up and try it again, not to lose self-esteem. Everyone is afraid of the failure, but you need to be aware, it is not about you. I would compare it to going on a first date and thinking about marriage, but you have to test it, first, find out whether it can work.


    Do you also help to those in later stages of their business?

    Yes, the tools I am developing work for all. You can create a new product or innovate an existing one. 


    What are the results?

    Last year we cooperated with 80 high school in Slovakia. We created a know-how video presentation and anyone could organize a screening. And who was interested in more, would get a StarteR!, could join the e-learning or apply for our incubator program. We have tested it and would like to launch this year again, but bigger.


    Do you work with students the same way as with entrepreneurs?

    Yes, all of them are the same – starters of their ideas. But students need a bit more critical thinking and idea generation skills.


    Is it true, that only some percentage of people have the ability of being entrepreneurs? Can the other group of people change it in their favor?

    That was the topic for my PhD. thesis. It is true it can be harder for some, but still I think it’s “only” a skill that everyone can, and should learn.


    How did you create your tools? Did you start couple companies before and failed?

    I did use my previous experience from consulting. About 30-40 projects have gone through and approved it. I think having a personal experience with leading a company is fine, but wouldn’t make you a great consultant. It is the same like being a great football player won’t make you a great coach.


    Do NGOs and third sector work different than corporate field?

    Yes, people in nonprofit sector are dependent on grants. They create a project, count the number and look for people who will pay it. That’s the fundraising way. Business is based on looking for someone willing to pay for the value he or she gets. The idea needs to be self-sustainable. Earn on itself.


    So it is mainly the question of money?

    Yes, it is completely turned around. There are experts for writing projects, but usually too weak to find the way how to earn them.


    Your wish, as I get it, is so that companies and people will help 3rd sector more and the ecosystems will be more connected, right?

    Not so much. I want to be helpful for others. It makes me happy, when my work helps. For example, when an NGO has a new product or service and it works, when 20 hours of my time have a value of 2000 hours for someone and I can help them to succeed. That is also why I am working as an expert volunteer for the Slovakian organization LEAF.

    Thanks for the interview, Juraj!


    Author: Jakub Pediač

    Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • The changing paradigm – the world of the future

    Why should you take part in SIA workshops? Yet another opportunity for free knowledge, great insights and networking… But why should you do it now – you don’t have an exact business idea, maybe exams are coming up and what about your part-time job? Very simple, because the time is now – our world is CHANGING at an unprecedented pace!

    Existing order starts to crack under demands of young people like you for purpose, cooperation and social justice. People around the world are disillusioned from the conventional lifestyles and seeking alternative ways for discovering the existential purpose of what surrounds us – from the way economy serves us to the principles on which our cities are built. The last thirty years have been about the creation of the technical infrastructure that provides an interconnected world, which is now in place. Technology progress and innovation are breaking existing patterns, serving a world driven by communication and exchange of information. Let’s take a look at some of the developments that are gaining momentum globally and actively re-shaping the way we live:

    Collective Work – The future of work is without a doubt what of main mysteries in front of us. Everybody nowadays is talking about the ethics behind AI and its potential effects on the job markets. To what extent, however, will AI flourishing affect traditional professions and which sectors are going to be the most vulnerable is yet still hard to assess. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure – the landscape of work will be one of the fastest changing aspects of our life and we have to remain flexible and resilient. High specialization and individualism free space for diversification in skills and utilization of collectivity. The first results we are observing are a general flattening of organizational structures and strong focus on developing and implementing teamwork. Individuals become more and more disconnected from structures to become more connected between each other. Until 2020 50% of the US workforce will switch to freelancing and European trends although at a slower pace demonstrate similar development. Newspapers and magazines like Forbes, the Guardian, Medium are already changing their business model to so called “contributions” to cut on costs (rent, maintenance, etc.) and adapt to behavioral changes (travelling, freelancing, “working on three projects simultaneously” schedules). So it is just a matter of (short) time until a large part of industries switch entirely or at least integrate a “collective effort model” in their structures.

    The landscape of work will be one of the fastest changing aspects of our life and we have to remain flexible and resilient.

    Education for You – The nature of education is also changing and reforms are needed more than ever. The rigid post-industrialist world of public education proves to be inappropriate to attract the attention of the digital young population and to prepare them for the jobs of the future. The World Economic Forum suggests that around 65%of the children entering primary school today will have jobs that have still not been invented and which their education will fail to prepare them for. What does this mean? First, it emphasizes the immense need to look beyond the typical production lines and strategically utilize the “Internet of Things” to prepare the coming workforce for the challenges ahead. It also points out the greater need of motivating life-long learning related to the rapidly changing work nature and substitution of the old-fashioned model of “one job until the rest of your life”. Education is no longer limited to knowledge but extended to skills acquisition (project-based learning) and innovative teaching models as adopted by Alternative University in Romania, Schule im Aufbruch (Austria) or La Scuola Open Source (Italy). What these have in common is the focus on freedom of choice and co-design learning experience to address students’ curiosity and individual needs. The predominantly 2D nature of education is addressed by the increasing penetration of massive online courses (MOOC) – a potentially disruptive innovation, making learning more accessible to all people. Moreover, higher education institutions are embracing data mining in order to gain better understanding of student performance and deliver “Education for you” that is tailored to meet the demand of the job markets while considering the students’ needs.

    Sharing Economy – The fact why business models like Airbnb, Skillshare or Blablacar are so successful lays mainly in the fact that such platforms make use of the high level of redundancy in modern society – unutilized personal assets are all around us. Although sharing is not a new concept in the context of common goods and state formation, we now live in a time where we have a whole new phenomenon – peer-to-peer sharing on a large scale. Thanks to “wirearchy” we can easily match aggregated supply and demand in the most efficient way that does not leave room for wasted excess. In the age of fast consumerism we are paradoxically (or maybe exactly therefore) surrounded by platforms for shared food, shared knowledge, and even shared passions. As an interesting response to the “new” value system of sharing emerges also the concept of platform co-ops, currently gaining supporters in North America and Western Europe. The platform co-op eco system is comprised of online platforms that support production and sociality, digital labour brokerages, web-based marketplaces that are collectively owned and democratically governed. Collaborative communities such as OuiShare also showcase best practices of the power of “collective intelligence“ and the horizontal participatory power of the individual. Such platforms allow easy and efficient online and offline (in FabLabs, coworking spaces) interaction to integrate ideas like access over ownership, open knowledge, DIY and holocracy in governance.

    Participatory Cities & Active Citizenship – Our cities are changing as well – there are smart cities, social cities, circular cities. Circular economy models for example, brought the revolutionary idea to look at the waste as a resource. Reusing or regenerating raw materials serves not only the benefit of nature but creates added value for the whole value chain – from creating jobs for the trash collectors in emerging markets to saving money to businesses that are incentivized to re-think their business models. Amsterdam is one of the first cities to initiate this transition by supporting local social entrepreneurs to engage in the topic and establish an innovative hub for an energy transition and a circular and bio-based economy experiments in an abandoned harbour area. Another urban concept called FabCity is a similar initiative to create locally productive and globally connected cities that are self-sufficient (minimum inputs and outputs/ waste based on circularity of resources). The model relies to a large extent also on the idea of citizen empowerment and collective effort through shared decision-making processes. Ultimately, civic-public collaborations like the Bologna regulation are changing the face of urban challenges and are the first big step towards “cities of commons” – cities where all stakeholders from activists to policymakers and from citizens to businesses work together for a better future.

    All of these initiatives are already gaining on support and magnitude and are largely driven by groups of social entrepreneurs (!) And all of these were first ideas that were further developed by committed individuals. Take part in various SIA workshops around the world over the course of next two months and work on your idea to drive the change…

    Because if not now, when and if not you, who?

    Get informed about near Social Impact Award Workshops on our Website or on Facebook


    Author: Emiliya Angelova

    Proof-Reader: Hermes Arriaga

    Global-Editor: Tizian Müllritter
  • Social Entrepreneurship in Kosovo – From General to Specifics

    In 2017 we launched Social Impact Award for the first time in Kosovo. While preparing for the Kick-Off, the national SIA team reflected on the current state of mind and ecosystem for social entrepreneurship. And although a lot can be said on current trends in the field of social entrepreneurship, we start our Kosovo journey by taking a step back and looking at what has been done so far and the mindset challenges in moving the ecosystem forward.

    What does the development of the social entrepreneurial ecosystem mean and why should we care?

    Often people say social business and mean humanitarian work or volunteering, with freequent misconceptions that social businesses should not bring any profit.

    It is true that concept of social entrepreneurship means different things to different people. Many associate social entrepreneurship exclusively with not-for-profit organizations starting for-profit or earned-income ventures. Others use it to describe anyone who starts a not-for-profit organization. Some use it to refer to business owners who integrate social responsibility into their operations. It is important to understand social entrepreneurship in terms of impact and society.

    Social businesses have much wider impact and they are crucial for:

    • Employment Development: social enterprises provide employment opportunities and job training to segments of society at an employment disadvantage (long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, homeless, youth at-risk and gender-discriminated women).
    • Innovation: Social enterprises drive innovation, important to social and economic development. World most successful social entrepreneurs are taking new approach to biggest societal problems such as mental health, illiteracy, crime and drug abuse…
    • Social Capital: Next to economic capital one of the most important values made by social entrepreneurship is social capital. By creating new opportunities in Social Entrepreneurship, we build our communities on trust, reciprocity and cooperation for common good.

    How to Shape my Idea in Social Business and What kind of support exists in my city?

    There are different kinds of international and local support for Social Entrepreneurship and several models that can help you to shape your idea in sustainable social business. Social entrepreneurship ecosystem was being developed in Kosovo trough a number of programs for young people who wanted to start their own business in order to improve their communities.

    One of them was “Kosovo Youth Social Entrepreneurs Prototype Solutions to Improve Local Communities”.  UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo has localized the UK’s Social Innovation Camp experience. During a 48-hour event held in Pristina, young social entrepreneurs with first-hand knowledge of Kosovo’s social challenges connected with leading local and international experts in marketing and software development.

    In 2014, Unicef Kosovo Programme: UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo developed and launched the first UPSHIFT programme. The Kosovo program achieved some impressive results: More than 126 youth-led projects have been implemented, more than half of which continue even after their engagement with the Lab comes to a close. From these 126 projects approximately 61,056 youth directly involved or directly benefited, and 120,630 youth are indirect beneficiaries of these projects.

    Social entrepreneurs have a leading role in moving their own community forward.

    We are now adding Social Impact Award into the game. The program empowers young people across Europe to shape their ideas into a sustainable business. Within this kind of program, you can get education, mentorship and financial support – and provide a solution to societal burning challenge – be it of local, national or international relevance.

    Social Impact Award program was launched in Kosovo with the end of February and will provide opportunities for  future young entrepreneurs to apply for program – regardless where in Kosovo they lived. It is an opportunity to work with foreign mentors, international investors and gain skills and experience for launching your business to a dynamic market with real impact.

    For example, take product of social entrepreneurship ecosystem and individual intuition of great story of Ashley VanBuskirk who spent the summer at college as a reporter in Kosovo. She discovered how tough it is for many young women to pay for higher education. After returning home, along with her sister she co-founded a social enterprise to help fund college tuition for young women in Kosovo.

    Their company sells journals sporting watercolor covers painted by a Kosovo art student. Forty percent of profits go to pay for scholarships; specifically, 25 journals fund one semester of college tuition for a young woman in Eastern Europe.

    Every individual has the knowledge about citizens in his own town, know troubles and obstacles of their own neighbors. Social entrepreneurs have a leading role in moving their own community forward. All the stakeholders in the ecosystem are tools for shaping ideas, improving skills, strengthening will and taking first steps towards building society based on tendency of progress.

    Welcome aboard!


    Author: Sanja Zrnic

    Editor: Vladica Jovanovic

    Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • E-bicycles are the future (and the now)

    Carbon emission is not the next or the new top priority problem in the world – it’s been a constant headache for the past 30 years, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was not left out of this world trend. Sarajevo, country’s capital, has one of the worst air pollution numbers in Europe. Back in 1960s and 1970s Sarajevo was one of the most polluted towns in former Yugoslavia, which led to significant investments in gas system. After the 1990s war, because of lower life standard and higher number of population in poverty, many went back to using coal for heating, which put Sarajevo back on the map with ridiculously high levels of air pollution.

    Nowadays, every winter Sarajevo turns into one of the most polluted capitals of Europe. Besides that, rubber, plastics, refined oil and chemicals are not being recycled and are causing additional pollution. Cars as transportation tools are a problem in itself – as transportation is the second big pollution system, immediately after heating.


    Sarajevo has one of the worst air pollution numbers in Europe.


    E- bikes – the new trend for living a “greener” life

    Biking has been an alternative for cars in urban traffic for decades, but e-bikes are bringing a new twist to the story. Social Impact Award winner in BIH for 2016, BCBicycles, presented E – bike as a solution for polluted urban environment – it reduces emissions, facilitates rapid urban life and transport from one part of the city to another, saving time from traffic jams.

    People are realizing the importance of electric bikes and its impact on human environment, which is followed by growth in popularity among young people and socially responsible companies. The added value is promotion of healthy physical and mental life – two birds with one stone.

    The idea behind BCBicycles project is to try to reduce enormous emission of toxic gases into the Earth’s atmosphere and to make our customers travel faster, cheaper and more efficient in cities. An average commuter, who uses a car for everyday trips to work, annually emits more than 700 kg of CO2, and during a lifetime spends more than 6 months stuck in traffic. Pretty scary. Let´s do something about it! That is why we decided to make a bicycle that will be much more efficient and fun to use for urban commutes than the other means of transport. If we manage to make a bicycle that people will be enjoying to ride they will be willing to use it instead of cars and other environmentally unacceptable vehicles.

    Every year we get more and more environmentally conscious businesses in BiH, mainly initiated by young people, and some of them are also targetting better solutions for emissions: ECO-Coal, EKO-Pak, EkoMozaik, etc.


    Author: Loren Keserović

    |Editor: Vladica Jovanović

    |Chief-Editor: Tizian Müllritter

  • 5 places to connect with changemakers in Budapest and beyond

    Social entrepreneurship is a cool concept. But, if all you have seen so far are lecture rooms at the Uni and mildly boring corporate offices during your summer internships, how can you get involved and learn more about it? Budapest boasts a number of open community spaces where changemakers hang out, sharing beers, coffee and innovative ideas to make this world work for all.


    Here is our list of the 5 most popular changemaker spots in the Hungarian capital – inspiring you to look for similar spaces in your own home town. Or maybe start one?


    1. Gólya Cooperative

    Visited mostly for its low-cost and yummy grill kitchen and pub, Gólya (Stork) is also a community house and event space run by a cooperative of young locals, hiding in a slightly crumbling building beneath the shadows of towering new offices in the once infamous 8th district of Budapest. While the neighbourhood is gentrifying fast, the cooperative made it its mission to learn about the less-fortunate residents of the area, who struggle everyday to keep a roof over their heads. They actively work together with civic groups to find new ways for preserving the diversity of the ‘hood and help people survive when flat rental prices skyrocket.


    1. Cargonomia

    Cargonomia magically fused the topics of low-carbon transport solutions with sustainable food production by partnering up a cargo bike centre with an organic vegetable farm. An unlikely combination that works quite well! Visit them to pick up a weekly box of veggies, order bike delivery (in December that includes Christmas trees) or attend one of their many workshops on DIY and self-sufficient building to get a hint of the community spirit. They deal with both the practical implications and the research background of Degrowth, a global movement that also brought its inspiring international conference to Budapest in 2016.



    1. Auróra

    Auróra is the hot spot of civil activism and participatory democracy. Another pub/community space, they are working with a huge group of volunteers to create programmes ranging from evening debates on democratic practices to a hugely popular alternative summer festival (Bánkitó) while also testing community building and self-organization methods on themselves. Besides the inspiring events, their building also hosts several NGOs who work with marginalized and stigmatized groups.



    1. HellóAnyu

    Attracting a slightly older (and also much younger) crowd, HellóAnyu, or HelloMummy, is the cafe that cities should open on each corner. 100% kid-friendly, it is the main meeting point for parents with small children, who tear the play area to pieces while their folks socialize, get help in starting their own business, or simply have a cup of coffee and five minutes of peace. Young mothers getting back to the labour market are a great target group for social entrepreneurs but reaching out to them and providing a comfortable meeting/workshop space is a sizable challenge. HellóAnyu, on the other hand, is the model solution for that.


    1. Impact Hub Budapest

    Impact Hubs are where change goes to work – literally, as changemakers also have the chance to use their spaces for coworking and trainings and events that may run on the more professional side. The Budapest Impact Hub and its counterparts throughout the region bring together a large community of social entrepreneurs, supporters, partners and investors and add the spark that ignites connections between them. You are also likely to find an impact-focused incubation or acceleration programme (or similar) among their offerings – in Budapest, the Social Impact Award is launching in 2017 with a Beta version!


    Did any of these concepts get your wheels turning? Then maybe you also noticed that all five places are run as an ‘impact venture’, thus not only supporting social entrepreneurs but also piloting new business models, organizational setups and other tools for them. Get inspired by their stories and start planning your own social impact!


    Author: Zsuzsanna Keri | Proof-Read: Hannah Macdonald | Editor: Tizian Müllritter