Visions to Change the World – A talk with… The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie

The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA) was founded in 2010 as a network organization for the entrepreneurship centers of four Munich universities. Since then, the Akademie has helped hundreds of people develop and refine their ideas for social entrepreneurship.

Kristina Notz

The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie supports social entrepreneurs by offering targeted coaching. This allows founders to work on their individual challenges, such as developing a business model or organization, or solving issues dealing with financing or growth. Startups such as nearbees and initiatives like ‘bunt kickt gut’ were also supported by the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie. In collaboration with partners, they also offer programs such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summer School with the SAP Foundation, and the new accelerator F>>Lane with the Vodafone Institute and Impact Hub Berlin.

Kristina Notz,  team spokesperson and director of the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie network, was kind enough to answer our questions.

The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie offers Education for Societal Change

Please tell us a little something about yourselves.

At the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, we provide various qualification programs following the maxim “Education for Societal Change” for motivated young people who want to make a difference. It includes the two-day beginners’ workshop “ZGI:kompakt”, our international Global Entrepreneurship Summer School, and even an annual program for students and professionals. Just recently, roughly 30 highly motivated people enrolled in the 6th year of our “Social Innovation” certificate program.

We provide qualifications for anyone who would like to develop an idea, found a social startup, or has already founded a company. For people who are not able to come to Munich, we are happy to be able to recommend our online course “Enabling Entrepreneurs to Shape A Better World.”

Operating like a startup

We also operate like a startup ourselves, since we are 100% self-financed. Our team currently includes seven employees, many of whom have already founded companies. Being a network organization for the major Munich universities determines the location of our workspaces, which are distributed throughout the city: at the LMU Entrepreneurship Center, at the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship and at UnternehmerTUM.

What do you focus on when working with startups?

We are open when it comes to topics. And we generally work with startups for a period ranging from 3 to 9 months. For us, it is important that they are a team and that they are clearly focused on the impact of their work. Moreover, they should not forget that their financial viability needs to be sustainable in order to develop their impact over the long term.

Young people learn about social entrepreneurship during workshops.

Visions that can change the world

To be successful, a startup needs to…

… have a bold vision with potential to change the world, along with motivated people who want to implement that vision.

Why would a good startup even need a startup center to back them?

For one thing, a startup center provides access to an important network. Regardless of whether contact is established with investors, inspirational people or other startups, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie offers founders a diverse network at a regional, national and international level.

Peer learning and reciprocal exchanges with other startups in a dynamic working environment also provide a great deal of added value. Last but not least, the infrastructure offered by the startup center gives founders a good foundation for their work.

What is the biggest mistake a startup can make?

Not wanting to talk about their ideas (particularly while networking).

Integration and migration is currently a major topic, as at the openTransfer Camp on the topic of refugees © Andi Weiland – openTransfer (CC-BY-NC)

The trend of the year …

… comes as no great surprise for newly founded social startups – the topic of integration and migration.

What makes the Munich startup scene so special?

The entrepreneurship ecosystem in Munich is extremely diverse. You can find every kind of support here that a founder might need: incubators, educational offers, workspaces, financiers, major companies and banks that are interested in startups, potential employees, experts in every possible field, important conferences, events – and the list goes on…

Last but not least: who should startups contact if they would like to meet up with you?

  • Network: Kristina Notz
  • Startup consultation: Anne Doerner

Image credits: Photo from the ‘openTransfer Camp’: Andi Weiland OpenTransfer (CC-BY-NC). Image credits for additional photos: Social Entrepreneurship Akademie