Social entrepreneurship means acting with consciousness. Not only innovative solutions have to be in the centre of attention but also the impact and value for other people and society as a whole. This is why Austrian experts from different fields of entrepreneurship, politics and economy are currently discussing the basic conditions for these businesses in order to help them settle in a supportive environment with sufficient infrastructure and resources.
“Social Business will be an important part of the economic system of the future. As a development agency […] we support the efforts for improving conditions and funding programs,” Edeltraud Stiftinger (aws) said and referred to the 10 core issues of social entrepreneurship. Developed by nonprofit organisations, charity foundations and social businesses, they were presented at the multi-stakeholder summit in Vienna.
Photo credit: Markus Prantl gruppewasser.atThe 10 core issues
1. Financing of incubation programmes and local infrastructure: public funding for workshops, coaching, as well as support for geographic expansion of founder centres shall push young entrepreneurs in the right directions.
2. Development and further training: starting a business requires expert knowledge and know how in several fields. A positive impact for society shall be secured by providing possibilities to develop competencies and know how.
3. Making co-operations possible: only working together can change things in a positive direction. Therefore, a marketplace should be set up where social entrepreneurs and businesses from the public or private sector can meet, exchange and transfer ideas and projects.
4. Creating funding programmes: the specific demands of social entrepreneurs have to be met by means of funding.
5. Mobilise private capital through tax motivation: Business Angels are an important part in the starting phase of young companies. This kind of support shall find recognition in society.
6. Promoting expansion financing: the investment environment has to grow with the help of public co-investments as well as fund initiatives.
7. Facilitating crowdfunding: next to traditional financing also alternative methods should be promoted. This requires the creation of a reliable legal framework.
8. Deepening the implementation of the EU Social Business Initiative: while the EU developed important initiatives and investment packages, Austria has to take up these measures and improve their implementation.
9. Reforming tax conditions for common good: other than for example in Germany, nonprofit organizations have to use their resources immediately for themselves in Austria. New regulations for taxes could enhance transparency and free up resources.
10. Make use of the scope of European regulations: the government procurement of the European Union, that has to be implemented within the next two years, offers an opportunity to consider allocations in terms of impact.
Michael Losch (Head of Department); Photo credit: Markus Prantl gruppewasser.atFoundations for a new generation
In the course of the event, which took place at the Palais Eschenbach in Vienna, participants from the fields of politics or economy such as Rudolf Hundstorfer (BMASK), Andrä Rupprechter (BMLFUW), MEP Heinz K. Becker, Michael Meyer (Vienna University of Economics and Business), Michael Losch (bmwfw) or Harald Katzmair (founder of FAS) were invited to a discussion on how to enhance the Austrian system for social businesses.
„To increase the numbers of social entrepreneurs it needs rooms that enhance creativity and new ideas. This urban and regional infrastructure brings people together and makes the beginning phase easier through specific incubation programmes,” Matthias Reisinger cofounder of Impact Hub Vienna explained. The multi stakeholder summit was presented by Ashoka Österreich, aws, Austrian council, bdv austria, Impact Hub Vienna and the federation of Austrian industries.
„We need a society that supports innovation and self-initiated actions. Among other things, this requires private as well as public capital,” Marie Ringler (Ashoka Österreich) explained. The event provided a forum to address questions concerning the establishment of a successful startup culture, the right financing models as well as legal and political conditions. The big goal in mind is to build a functioning foundation for a new generation of businesses to come.