Enabling enterprise – Deutsche Bank promotes innovative social startups
More and more people in Germany are starting new businesses with a social mission. The Ready for Finance initiative helps them to get off the ground.
Most social entrepreneurs face a range of difficulties when trying to kick-start their business. Many fail during the startup phase – often because they lack the expertise and structural knowledge to access the capital markets. In contrast to the extensive offerings for profit-oriented startups, aspiring social entrepreneurs often struggle to secure the funding they need.
To bridge that gap, Deutsche Bank has teamed up with the non-profit organisation Social Impact gGmbH to develop the Ready for Finance initiative. Since 2013, it has helped social entrepreneurs through systematic advice and one-to-one mentoring from Deutsche Bank volunteers.
The Ready for Finance initiative – Deutsche Bank volunteers partner with startups
One of the startups that receives support through the Ready for Finance programme are the Digital Heroes. This social enterprise aims to educate children and young people on how to use the Internet safely. They offer online seminars and a mentoring programme to empower older students to share their knowledge with younger peers. From cyberbullying and intellectual property to spyware and viruses – young Internet users have a lot to learn.
The Digital Heroes met their mentor, Deutsche Bank employee Nicole Gieseler, through the Ready for Finance programme. From the start, Gieseler has been a most dedicated mentor – helping the entrepreneurs to refine their business plan, control their costs and tackle potential risks.
Ready for Finance is an integral part of a comprehensive programme developed by Social Impact, intended to help social startups develop their innovative ideas and bring them to market. The aim of Ready for Finance is to promote knowledge transfer and, through the expertise and experience of Deutsche Bank employees, enable social entrepreneurs to access the much-needed venture capital. To do that, they are paired up with one or two Deutsche Bank volunteers who serve as mentors, cater to their specific needs, help them prepare for talks with finance providers and share their expertise for a period of one to six months.
Ready for Finance is currently offered through the Social Impact Labs in Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Munich and Duisburg. With the Social Impact grant come the Labs, which provide space for co-working, networking and exchange. So far, some 60 startups have already benefitted from the initiative and the aim is to promote a further 25 every year.
Deutsche Bank experts coach social startups
More Made for Good highlights in Germany
The Wirkungsfonds (impact fund) is the first of its kind in Germany and provides non-repayable grants to social start-ups that tangibly improve the social and economic participation of immigrants in Germany. In 2017, the fund promotes educational start-ups.
The startsocial competition attracts around 400 social start-ups, charities or initiatives each year who apply for coaching scholarships. Some 300 Deutsche Bank employees have already volunteered as jurors or coaches since 2012.
Landmarks in the Land of Ideas
The annual Landmarks in the Land of Ideas competition stages 100 innovative initiatives that drive Germany forward. The motto of the 2017 competition is “Open your mind and unfold new ideas.”
The Bank volunteers and the entrepreneurs are also assisted by Deutsche Bank’s Startups@Berlin team. This expert group advises new companies on banking services and solutions through every stage of their development.
To learn more about the Social Impact grant programme, visit the Social Impact website.
Crowdfunding for social enterprises
The crowdfunding platform Social Impact Finance has set its sight on boosting projects via small amounts of money. This first internet-mediated financing resource for mission-driven startups in the German-speaking countries was launched in cooperation with Deutsche Bank Foundation. So far, around 20 social enterprises have run successful crowdfunding campaigns through Social Impact Finance.
Click here to access the crowdfunding platform at startnext.