• A Brief Example for growing Social Business Cooperation in Russia

    Social Impact Award is a community that unites people from different fields to build a stronger and sustainable world.

    Eduard Ostrobrod is the Vice President of Sela Corporation Russia, which is a leader in producing casual clothes in Russia since 1990s. Eduard is a partner of Social Impact Award and helps to make this award happen in 2016. Potentially, Eduard will be the mentor for one of the project in the 90 days challenge incubator. So one of the finalists of Social Impact Award 2016 will be the fortunate to work with him.download-1

    Sela cooperates and supports two Russian finalists of Social Impact Award 2014 – Charity Shop and «Мама работает» (“Mom works”).  Sela puts CharityShop’s boxes in its shops, where people can leave clothes that they don’t need anymore. Thus, CharityShop found the way to utilize them.




    download«Мама работает» helps moms to find a job by providing additional education (lectures and seminars), psychological support, and helping with launch personal business. They have a special studio where moms produce bags with important and inspiring phrases. Now Sela sells eco-bags with the phrase “It is fashionable to love nature” that were made by moms at this studio.




    Actually, that’s not all. Eduard Ostrobrod is a project partner of “ДТП-нет!” (“No car accident”). “ДТП-нет!»develops system that helps to prevent car accidents. The owner glues on the car the sticker with “ДТП-нет!”’s hotline phone number. The sticker says, “I follow traffic rules! Do you not agree? Call 8 800 7000666!” Any witness at any time of the day or night, noticing traffic violations this machine can call the hotline and leave a review.


    Impact Hub Moscow experts say that corporate social responsibility does not influence the customer’s choice in Russia now. However, companies use the service “ДТП-нет!” because it is profitable and convenient, and gradually get used to the idea that business can be conducted safely and slightly more for the benefit of society.

    Great time for social enterprise is yet to come in Russia.


  • The Diversity lies in the SIA Volunteer itself – Meet Zsuzsanna!

    Zsuzsanna Hernadi joint the Social Impact Award as a Volunteer in January 2016. After half a year, she talks about her impressions and wide tasks of SIA experiences. 

    Dear Zsuzsanna, you’re a part of SIA’s volunteer team since the beginning 2016. Why did you decide to join the team?
    rsz_volunteer3 (1)

    “I heard about SIA on the day of the Kick-off event. It was in January, I think. My first thought was: “It sounds really interesting, I would like to be part of it and learn more about it.” So I checked the SIA homepage and I saw that they are looking for volunteers. ‘Yes, this is the place to be’, I thought. I don´t know exactly why. It was more a gut feeling. SIA is not just an award. It is much more: awareness, support, community and education. I find social innovation and social business really interesting topics and I wanted to know more. I was interested to get in touch with the students and see, how they develop a project with social impact from a small initial thought. My vision as a volunteer was to meet interesting people with innovative ideas, to improve my workshop facilitator skills and to network with courageous, open minded and young entrepreneurs from Austria.”


    And how do you feel about this decision to join the volunteer team now, after six months? Did the Volunteer2experience meet your expectations?

    Absolutely! I was always motivated to be part of the project, to be involved and to support Jakob, the Austrian coordinator, at very different tasks. I never thought ‘Oh no, I don´t want to be here.’ I found time for SIA with pleasure even if I didn´t always have much free time next to my fulltime job and daily life.

    So, what are your roles? What did you do in recent months?

    My main function was workshop facilitation. After the first meeting, where we brainstormed about the workshop design, we prepared the handouts and started our workshop tour to every state in Austria. I had really a tour feeling. Every day in another city, another workshop location, different group sizes, new participants. But our small team and the car were always the same. (Zsuzsanna laughs) I was a driver, I prepared and dismantled the workshop materials and the room – and my personal challenge was to do it always in a shorter time. I tried to think about everything in advance to be able to plan and optimize our tasks. I was the calm pole of the team. Our main team goal was to support Toni and Jakob to hold an interesting and motivating workshop, so that the students were able to improve a nice idea for the award. Our other – but really important – goal was to offer drinks to the participants in order to have more place in the car afterwards. (She laughs again) I really enjoyed to be on tour with the guys. We repeated this excellent experience during the second tour as well. It was nice to see and feel how a team develops and how we encourage each other – sometimes without words. In addition to the tours, I spent a lot of time in Impact Hub Vienna to support Jakob in very different topics. I promoted SIA in various Facebook groups to motivate students to taking part in SIA. I also did some office activities – like laminate, cut, and stick – for SIA events. We prepared the prize for the finalist announcement and we wrote feedbacks to teams that submitted project ideas. It was really nice to accompany the teams and see, which ideas were developed. I´m proud of all participants and of the SIA team.”

    How do you perceive the SIA community from this inside perspective? What could you learn from the people you worked with so far (team members, students, other volunteers, etc.)? 


    “I had the possibility to meet nice people and I learned a lot from them. For example, I used to preplan every in advance, but through SIA I learned to adjust spontaneously to different circumstances and still deliver high quality. This was previously impossible for me. Besides that, the students and the workshops also motivated me to start to improve my first own social impact idea. I realize every day that I´m thinking about innovation, social impact, social business. I like it. Through SIA I applied to FH Campus Wien to study social economy and social work from September. I would like to say “Thank You” for this experience for all participants and all the SIA team. Looking forward to support them also in the future!”


    Thank you so much Zsuzsanna for your time & support! 

  • “No matter your age or standing, there is potential to turn a passion or skill from your professional or social life into a social enterprise idea”

    Ana Filipovska is the General Secretary at the Country Coordinating Mechanism, a multi-sectorial body that includes institutions that have important roles in delivering key interventions and shaping policy and advocacy in public health. She is responsible for providing technical assistance to its committees, conducting trainings, and overseeing grants supported by the Global Fund. Filipovska also has experience in strengthening Macedonian communities by using social enterprises as resources for the mobilization of social programs.

    1. What is your motivation to do the job you are doing it right now?

    People from my community motivate me to love to work in social enterprise development field. Especially vulnerable people because they are usually neglected but have a lot of potential to offer to the community we all live in. Living in a country with 30% of unemployment and lot’s economic and social challenges I choose to work in social enterprise development because I believe in the empowerment we give to each other with our work, initiatives, care, love and unity. I believe that in Macedonia will rich development if we have bottom- up approach that means that development starts within community trough social enterprise creation.

    There are big challenges in Macedonia that weren’t being solved and an untapped resource within Macedonian society. I’m optimistic that, given the opportunity, communities could provide the solutions to some of our biggest challenges and support social entrepreneurs that are developing big, new ideas to tackle Macedonia social problems. We knew that some of these ideas might not succeed, but we knew that if they did, the social impact would be transformative.

    This optimism is critical to bringing about any major change. When you look coldly on the challenges that we are facing in Macedonia, it would be easy to give up in despair. The problems we are facing can sometimes seem too great, too entrenched. But optimism changes the way you see the world. It forces you to focus on potential, to seek out opportunities as they arise and take full advantage of them. Optimism empowers us to find our own role in improving the society that we live in. And social entrepreneurs are eternal optimists. Therefore I’m eternal optimist and saw social enterprise development as proactive approach to tackle some of our bitter problems in our society as unemployment, inclusion and poverty.

    But optimism in isolation is just a pipe-dream. It requires action to turn vision into reality. And this is where social entrepreneurs set themselves apart. They show the courage of their convictions not just to believe that things can be better, but they take action to actually make it happen, to turn their ideas into impact. My constant motivation is to create possibility for youth to become proactive change agents as social entrepreneurs that will be capable to understand potential and impact they can have through social enterprise creation for benefit to Macedonian community.

    1. Would you change something from when you were a child, to now?

    I will change just one thing: having opportunity and knowledge when I was 14th years old to start my first social enterprise in order to inspire more people on my pathway.

    1. How would you sum up your work experience?

    Born and raised in Macedonia, Ana Filipovska has more than 13 years’ experience in straightening communities in development of social enterprises as resource mobilization for social programs. Her experiences in India, Canada, USA and some countries in Europe have all augmented commitment to economic and social development and international cooperation. She have Bachelor in Economy  and received MA in Social Economy, University of Florence, Faculty of Educational Science, in collaboration with the ART Universitas Programme (UNDP, UNOPS), graduated with Magna Cum Laude. She made a research in Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, Quebec, Montreal, Canada with title: “How Social Economy and Social Entrepreneurship  influence Local Economic Development and Employment” published on the Italian UNDP web page. Through community solution program she was engaged in nonprofit program of Mountain States Group, Inc., in USA specializes in the support needed to launch and grow local businesses through microloan funds, one-on-one consulting, business plan training courses and she was responsible to establish a Social Enterprise HUB within META-Micro Enterprise Training and Assistance organization. She is currently working through the Macedonian country coordinating mechanism as social economy expert for community organizations working or composed by vulnerable population  that are willing to establish social enterprises in Macedonia. Her vision is to establish Social Enterprise HUB in Macedonia where already there is existence of social enterprises and good local economic cooperation with local community, non-governmental organizations and business community and she is working towards establishing a platform to support and promote social economy initiatives at various levels in South East Europe.

    1. What’s your vision of Social Economy; how do you see the social business in the future?

    Social economy is a bottom up approach and is very complex system including a lot of actors from different sectors from all society:

    • Civil society
    • Business
    • All levels of the Governments
    • Labour movements
    • Women movements

    This is crucial for building a complex but sustainable system which will provide sustainable national, regional and local development.

    The social economy is there to respond to the needs of our society. Those needs can include quality of life, job creation, respect for the environment, use of natural resources, and access to communications. The social economy is not a fad, it is an international trend, a paradigm shift from old models and the old social context into a new way of looking at the world, one that considers society’s social, economic and environmental needs. To build a social economy movement a system needs to be put in place where goods and services are produced, not in isolation, but by a broad spectrum of players and society as part of a broader vision for the environment and the social impact. Part of economic democracy is making the right choices about how we produce goods and services. The social economy makes sense because it often offers the best way forward and should be a legitimate choice.

    The new social economy is being driven by two basic dynamics and this is how I see social businesses in Macedonia in future driven by :

    • dynamic of need (e.g. first social cooperatives developed because no one would loan to them)
    • dynamic of vision (e.g. young professionals creating social enterprises because they want to work collectively in a democratic environment – not with a boss, also not alone, and want to work based on their values).
    1. How can we build better ecosystem in Macedonia (for the growth of social entrepreneurship)?

    What I understand from all my experience is that Social economy is an extension of the social and community values in the field of economics. You may have the most beautiful and meaningful social mission, but you have to have sustainable means to fulfill it, the economic activities must be efficient and produce some financial return. And the biggest challenge in the social economy to find and maintain the delicate balance between its social goals and profitability. In a world dominated by individual and corporate interests, Social economy has the capacity to mobilize and focus on common goals to do things differently because of the desire of social and economic transformation for justice and respect of the environment.

    If we want to keep moving forwards equity and sustainability, we have no other choice than to be creative and innovative.

    1. What would you like to give as an advice to the younger population?

    There are moments in life when you have to make hard decisions that can only come from listening to the deepest part of yourself.  And you will certainly have those moments if you decide to venture out and try to do something few have ever done.  You will find that people might not always understand you.  But in paying that price, you will discover who you really are and what you are capable of doing. And of course that journey of change and self-discovery comes with a high risk of falling flat on your face, repeatedly.  But as the great American philosopher John Wayne used to say: life is about getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.” I have opportunity to fail many times which increase now my chances to succeed. We should accept failure as part of the learning process without that you can’t creative passionate social entrepreneurs being in love with the social business ideas and having enthusiasm and passion operating in challenging social and economic environments.

    1. What do you think about Social Impact Award Macedonia?

    Personally I think we need more initiatives as Social Impact Award in Macedonia because it gives opportunity, creative thinking, possibility for professional and personal growth and have opportunity to provide support to many communities and accomplish many social missions by youth. With 1.300 projects from ten European countries that applied for the Social Impact Award since 2009, out of which almost a hundred projects have been awarded behind this wonderful initiative are many inspired young change agents as social entrepreneurs that give us hope that we may live in future better, more equal, inclusive and sustainable for all communities.

    1. What are the best entrepreneurial examples in Macedonia? (According to you)

    My favorite social enterprise that is in current development by Health Education and Research Association with social mission is to improve the economic and personal wellbeing of women who suffered domestic violence and who are socially and economically marginalized. The programs supports women to increase their economic and community engagement by building and enhancing their skills, business and life skills by providing opportunities for them to access markets in order to earn supplemental income in respectful and empowering ways. The program blends social and entrepreneurial goals while making a commitment to creativity, flexibility and safe alternative forms of earned income.

    HERA in cooperation with local and international partners will create a sustainable social enterprise that supports and enhances the goals of the HERA Family center and additionally creates financial benefits for women that are victims in domestic violence. The social enterprise is a revenue generating venture structured either as a division within organization or as separate legal entity – nonprofit or for-profit. A social enterprise is further defined by the interdependence of social impact and business success; the enterprise will be created in order to contribute to a social cause and operates according to the methods, discipline and innovation associated with a for profit business.

    The Social Enterprise program  will bring women victims of domestic violence employment through providing home care assistance on older adults with quality care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives at home. Home support services can help with the senior’s daily activities such as personal care (ex: bathing, grooming, feeding), light housekeeping, and meal preparation.

    Thank you Ana for this inspiring talk! 

  • „ Times when employers were ready to teach the youth about their work have passed!“

    In all ten countries, where Social Impact Award is active, it is strongly embedded in the university sector. We directly connect with students but also professors and university staff play a crucial role in developing ecosystems around social entrepreneurship. Today we talk with Prof. Dr. Jelene Žugić from the Mediterranian University Montenegro about how teaching must change to engage students and why Social Impact Award is a great opportunity for students.

    An expert for international marketing and management, brand management and global marketing, a professor at the Faculty of Business Studies and a vice dean in charge of lecturing, finances and international cooperation, prof.  Jelena Žugić is at the same time one of the strictest and most loved professors. Through her academic career and extensive experience in journalism and banking she learned to be persistent. That’s what she is trying to teach her students.

    You are recognized as one of professors who are always ready to talk with their students. How often do they consult you about business or innovation ideas?

    Logo_Univerzitet_MediteranMy mission at the Faculty for Business Studies of Mediteran University is to offer to students not just theoretical knowledge, but to prepare them for real challenges they will face after the studies. Times when employers were ready to teach them about their work have passed. Now individual initiatives will be more valuable. Approach that my colleagues and me have has brought us to the point where students understand what we want to offer to them, so they actively participate, ask questions and share doubts they have about the realization of their ideas. We, as a society, are still not ready to support people with ideas, but I strongly believe that will change.

    Can you identify main obstacles on the way of transforming ideas to businesses in reality?

    The money is a significant, but often not the biggest obstacle on that way. There is an increase of the chances for finding start-up capital, both in Montenegro and worldwide. Bigger problems are fear of failure and lack of students’ persistence. Of course, it would be significantly easier if they had a support from the state at the beginning.

    How do you motivate your students?

    Through the examples, which are still more present abroad than in Montenegro.

    What would be your message for our students and future entrepreneurs?

    To use each and every opportunity they can get, without fear of failure. Social Impact Award is a great example of the opportunity. They have nothing to lose. Even if they fail, they are young and major failures are unlikely. Therefore, be brave and let’s change our society together.

    Thank you very much for your time, Prof. Žugić!

  • “There will be failures , but you should never stop trying. Measure your success with how fast you can get up after falling and failing.”


    In addition for teaching at School of Economics and Business at the University of Sarajevo, she teaches at universities in Austria, Slovenia and Norway. Her doctorate in the field of sales and sales management, was honored for excellence in research and applicative sense of the prestigious Institute of market oriented management, the University of Mannheim. She has published numerous papers in international publications (Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research), and she is actively engaged in consulting local and international companies with a focus on the Region.

    Here is the interview with Selma Kadic – Maglajlić, assistant professor of the School of Economics and Business at the University of Sarajevo and a member of the jury for Social Impact Award in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


    Since you are in daily contact with the students, can you tell us if our students, and young people in general are willing and do they have any sense of business and innovation?

    „Generation Z“  slowly but surely occupies student benches, „chatting“ and „liking“  is for them a part of daily routine, a generation that uses Google, listens to lectures, but at the same time seeks confirmation of  the allegations  on social networks or Google, which does not fear of authority… they are, whatever we think about it, the most educated and most sophisticated generation ever… therefore, it is quite normal for them to have a multitude of incredible innovative ideas and almost innate sense for business.


    What are the most common obstacles that fetter them in this way?

    What is the problem and what fetter entrepreneurial spirit of Generation Z in Bosnia and Herzegovina, among other things, is the backlog of socialism, people are assured that the best job is in the state-owned companies and permanent job are  the ultimate goal of employment, it is impossible to succeed in business, it is impossible to succeed in BiH… I would say that the obstacles are also a psychological nature, confidence in themselves, lack of motivation, giving up too easily after the first obstacles.


    How to motivate students to do something new?

    Knowledge. As young people know more, obstacles stops to be obstacles and becomes challenges, and they certainly can be overcome. I try to encourage them to think “outside the box”, always tend to perform better, raising the bar higher. In teaching, I use more practical examples, like stories of Apple, Uber, Dropbox or Airbnb’s as good examples and sometimes good to repeat, but our students need and BH. examples too. Therefore, I use as many local examples of good practice, I urge young people who have done business in BiH to participate at lectures, in the belief that it could motivate students and to make them believe that much more can be done in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


    What would you say to our students and potential entrepreneurs?

    To always go forward. There will be failures , but you should never stop trying. Measure your success with how fast you can get up after falling and failing.


    Dear Selma, thank you so much for your time!


  • “When you fail, fail quickly, understand why you failed, learn, change and move on.”


    In this interview SIA Greece was talking with its this year´s jury member Efthymios Nikolopoulos. He shared his impressions of the Social Impact Award as well as his inspiring ideas on Entrepreneurship and how to effectively learn out of failure.


    Efthymios, what is the greatest thing about Social Impact Award -as a competition/institution- in your point of view?

    The passion of the organizing committee, the international expertise in the area of social entrepreneurship and the focus on Innovation, Impact and Feasibility.

    What are your main remarks (positive, or even negative) after interacting with the participants and hearing them pitch their ideas during our “Meet the Jury” warm-up event?

    I was impressed by the ideas but even more by the passion of the participants!!! It is really encouraging to see so many capable young people working hard to implement ideas which will have a social impact!!

    Please share three essential tips for all SIA participants!

    Try to change the world! Just do it! Do something that you like and do not forget to have fun Work hard!

    P.S. You are already passionate so you do not need an extra tip for that. 😉

    Can you please share a personal (professional) failure from which you have learned from? In what way has this failure eventually helped you in your (professional/personal) growth?

    I have failed so many times in my life that I could tell stories for hours. From rejected applications to universities, Startups which never reached their potential (another phrase for just…failed), to wrong decisions in various areas of my life. The critical element however is to learn from both your mistakes and failures. What is sure is that sometimes in your life you will fail. However, when you fail, fail quickly, understand why you failed, learn, change and move on. Thus, you actually never fail, you either succeed or learn!

    If you could send a letter to your 22 year-old self today, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

    Hmmm… That’s not easy… Probably:

    • Stop thinking what the rest will say/think!
    • Never, never, never give up! Only you know what you can achieve if you work hard!
    • Don’t be afraid to identify your weaknesses. It is better to work on them rather than just try to ignore them!
    • Appreciate and take care of those who love you
    • Enjoy every minute of your life!

    Thank you so much for your time!

  • „The theme of social business has drawn a bigger attention just in the last few years.”

    She is interested in social business and she believes in a better world. She wants to contribute her share to it. It´s Hana Kavánková, who leads two acceleration programs at Impact Hub Prague and one of these is the Social Impact Award. In the interview we talk about social business and interest of young people in this topic in the Czech Republic.

    You rate application forms with SIA organisational team just now. What kind of topics are among young people in? What issues do they want to solve in the society?

    This year we have a very broad spectrum of themes covered: from seniors, health care, to education, waste management, pollution, enhancing citizenship, homeless people or clothes recycling. So there is no dominant theme as some people might expect. It is great to see the variety of topics that in some way disturb young people nowadays and they are trying to solve them. The main aims that young people want to achieve with their projects this year are better care for our relatives, cleaner air and planet, more employment opportunities for handicapped people, helping blind people to live a better live or better communication with authorities.

    You lecture at universities. Do students know, what social business is?

    The theme of social business has got a bigger attention just in the last few years, so still, the majority of students doesn´t know the concept. That´s why our work with universities and students matters so much. Though it depends on the location as well as the major that the students are enrolled in. In bigger cities, like Prague, Brno or Ostrava, the concept is better known compared to smaller towns with universities. However, there is also a pioneer region among the smaller ones that is greatly enhancing the community of social entrepreneurs, not only among students, which is Usti nad Labem. There are also often more social sciences students than engineers who know the principles of social business.

    How is social business perceived by both businessmen and CSR departments of the corporate organisations in the Czech Republic?

    Generally, in Czech Republic we have a big problem with the combination of words “social” and “business”. I would say that the majority of big companies and most of the businessmen in Czech Republic still understand this area as charity rather than business. Most of the people think that these activities are unpaid, they help disabled people and generally don´t generate any income. So most of them don´t see any possible cooperation with social business.

    There is trend of a complex understanding of social responsibility starting with big international companies who bring the concept of social innovation and generally a sustainable approach to corporate behaviour from their western branches to the Czech Republic. I think that it will be slowly acknowledged and incorporated into the broader corporate strategy of big Czech companies and then gradually to small and medium enterprises – this is the impression I get looking at the current CSR scene.

    Do you believe in the future of social business?

    I do, indeed. The time should come when every company considers its activities through the lens of the impact that its activities have on society and environment. I am deeply convinced that everything in the world (not only world of business) is interconnected and that each and every employer as well as employee must see the results and implications of its corporate activities – everybody needs to take into account partners, suppliers, customers and other actors connected with their business while taking every day actions. We are talking here about sustainable internal and external communication and actually, about very simple things: responsibility and humbleness in business and every day life.

    Thank you, Hana, and keep it up!

  • „The importance of the team is highly underestimated!”

    This is an interview with SIA jury member Katharina Turnauer, who’s been financing countless social projects and social business ideas across Europe through her own private non-profit foundation since 2009. Amongst other things, we talked about the essentials when founding a venture in the social sector and why money isn’t always the most crucial point.


    Katharina, for more than seven years you’ve been supporting social ventures with your foundation. What motivated you to initiate your own foundation and where does KTP stand today?

    “Getting involved has always been a big desire for me and also my family. We’ve always done it very discretely, without many people knowing about it. In 2009 when the financial crisis emerged we realised that doing good “undercover” is not always the best way to go about it as that could lead to misjudgements with regards to companies and their doing. It goes without saying that not every company is socially engaged or ethically reasonable. However, there are many more companies getting involved than most people think. As social issues have always been part of my expertise, in 2009 I was assigned the task of initiating the foundation and building it up.  In the beginning it wasn’t easy and time needed to pass in order to convince everybody. Today we’re a small but flexible foundation which can tailor to very specific needs and knows a thing or two about how things in the social engagement world in Austria works.”

    In your opinion, what does it come down to when founding a social project?

    “When founding a social project there’s many factors to consider. To my mind, the most important ones are the following: Firstly, a great idea with a decent business plan; secondly, a good and diverse team; and finally, funds and network.”

     “Okay, let’s take it one by one: What’s a good idea in your eyes?

    „A good idea is a clear and practical approach to solving a social issue. It´s important to focus on what is truly needed at the time and in the given context and political situation. It doesn´t make sense to choose a solution that is currently illegal or to solve a minor problem when the world is falling apart. Furthermore, the business plan needs to be specific and feasible. It needs to be understandable and serve as a roadmap and orientation. Of course, some aspects will always need to be adapted to changing realities, but it is pointless to construct a fancy business plan with impressive jargon if it turns out to be useless for implementation.”

    You also mention the importance of the team. What are the key factors here in your opinion?

    „The implementation team is much more important than many people think! The people involved have to work well together, take responsibility for their work, be resilient to stress, have high endurance, and be flexible, ready to learn, and thoughtful. An important question also is, if the team has the knowhow and the resources to realize their plans. In case they lack specific skills they need to answer the question how and by whom these lacks are covered.”

    And what about finances and network, is this the most important aspect?

    „Money always appears to be the most important thing, but it really isn´t! Money is the fuel that drives the car. Whether it´s a jalopy or a Ferrari, though, doesn´t depend on the fuel you use. In other words, an idea or a team isn´t better or worse if it has money. Nevertheless, financial planning or knowing how to get financing is important. It´s also necessary to consider what type of financing I want for my project. Is it a social business, a donation-based project, will it be financed by public or private money or is it a hybrid of various models? In my opinion, this question is too often neglected or not given enough consideration. Every funding source has its own priorities and requirements. I see a good network as very helpful for implementing one´s plans. No one has all the necessary resources from the beginning. This makes it especially important to have access to a wide network that can help and offer a birds-eye view when challenges and questions come up.”

    Many of the initiatives founded and supported by KTP have been successful, because they have linked a social goal with a sustainable financial model for their activities. What tips would you offer young social entrepreneurs to help them achieve financial sustainability?

    „That is an important and difficult question. An important issue is – as I mentioned before – the project’s funding model . That should be thought-out from very early on. There are various ways, from pure donation-based models to so called social business with a return expectation. And obviously there are also numerous hybrid models. Here, it is crucial to differentiate from whom I seek funding – e.g. whether it from public or privat funds as they both come with very different expectations. Whereas the public sector want and must stick to specific processes and standards, the privat sector is much more individual and asks for more details, what exactly happens with the funds and how they are spent. Financial sustainability therefore depends significantly on the relationship  to funders and professional handling of expenses.”

    In your experience, how do people deal with financing in practice?

    „I often have the feeling that it is very tempting for people to think that you can ultimately become a multi-millionaire with a social business. Essentially ‘I can become a social Bill Gates, even he started out small…!’ I think this approach is very risky since you have basically guaranteed disappointment.  The focus should always be on achieving the social goal. This also makes it easier to find people to finance the projects. It is also important to clearly differentiate between the public and private sector. The public sector provides funds according to their grant criteria. The private sector has more of a business approach. Since the private sector generally provides money that it has earned, financiers want to know what exactly they are achieving by supporting a project. Things aren´t simply over once the money has been transferred. In the private sector, people want to know how exactly the money is being used and how economic this is.”

    There continues to be a lack of charitable foundations in Austria. KTP is one of the few successful examples for active philanthropy. Why is that?

    „There are many successful and very active foundations in Austria. What these have in common is that behind each foundation there is a person driving the foundation with their own blood, sweat, and tears. I am more and more convinced that authenticity is necessary. People today are tired of too many marketing slogans and shallow promises of happiness that ultimately don´t lead anywhere. Being genuine is powerful and contagious and people notice. Beyond this you need a good team, a lot of humor, and professionalism.”

    Dear Katharina, thank you very much for your time.

  • The last two years of SIA: An impact assessment