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
Ready for Finance is an integral part of a comprehensive program 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 40 startups have already benefitted from the initiative and the aim is to promote a further 30 every year.
Deutsche Bank experts coach social startups
“It’s a case of give and take – a win-win for everyone.”
“Every meeting brought us forward. Our mentors were enthusiastic sparring partners and helped us a great deal with their experience.”
Social startups: profiles
Take a traditional recipe, mix with local ingredients, season liberally with experience, add plenty of warmth, et voilà: “kuchentratsch”, a new social startup founded by Katharina Mayer and Katrin Blaschke. Supported by Deutsche Bank mentor Brigitte Huss, the company offers an innovative meeting place for senior citizens that fosters cross-generational exchange.
Info: kuchentratsch.com (in German only)
Digital Heroes (“Digitale Helden”) is a youth-run project that coaches other young people in internet and media literacy. Launched in Frankfurt, the project is now being rolled out to schools throughout the state of Hesse. The Digital Heroes team, led by Jörg Schüler and Florian Borns, is advised by Deutsche Bank mentor Nicole Gieseler.
Info: digitale-helden.de (in German only)
Founders Fabian Lindenberg, Anna Yukiko Bickenbach and Ralf Gehrer (left to right) created the ecotastic app to promote sustainable behavior in everyday life. Users can upload photos of their sustainable actions, receive points from other users, review other users’ actions and hopefully qualify for an eco-friendly gift certificate.
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.