I never thought I would ever start my own company. Actually, until 4 years ago, I thought that entrepreneurship is something for guys who want to make lots of money quickly, talking in their own language about topics like pitching, pivoting and bootstrapping. Then I met an entrepreneur who completely changed my mind. She founded a social business and when she explained to me the concept of social entrepreneurship I felt that this was the perfect way to connect my business studies to my philanthropical ambitions. So I googled social entrepreneurship Vienna and found the Impact Hub. I joined the hub as a host, and it was only then that I learned to understand, what entrepreneurship really means.
It means having a vision and implementing it in order to tackle real needs and have an impact on your customers’ lives. It means recognizing problems and finding creative ways of how to solve them. It means working together in a team of people who share your vision and who take into account long working hours and no salary in order to build something they believe in. And it means a roller-coaster of many emotional highs and lows, often happening on the very same day.
Inspired by the social entrepreneurship community I really took a deep dive into the Austrian entrepreneurship ecosystem by joining [sic!]– the students’ innovation centre, working at the start-up Playroom and organising the Entrepreneurship Avenue. After being active on the ecosystem itself, I started to explore my own start-up idea, RePhil, fighting to-go-packaging waste with a circular system for reusable takeaway packaging. Now I had the chance to experience the ecosystem from the founder’s point of view, with all of its perks and challenges.
I feel very privileged to have been able to make all of these experiences, which started by a first introduction to the concept of entrepreneurship at Impact Hub. Now, that the ecosystem has shaped me I am proudly joining AustrianStartups to take on the position of a shaper myself. Austria has amazing preconditions for founders. An educated customer base, affordable living situations, a fitting size to test a product or service and great talent. As CXO of AustrianStartups I want to support founders who have a vision and want to have a positive impact on our society. In order to have a viable business it is crucial to be conscious of the social and ecological impact that a venture has. Therefore I am excited to lead together with my colleague Stefan and the team of RespACT the Circle17 project, where we enable cooperation between start-ups and corporates to develop joint projects that tackle the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For my first 6 months as CXO of AustrianStartups I set myself three main goals which shall help to achieve our vision to make entrepreneurship as common as skiing in Austria.
- To burst our bubble
Entrepreneurship in Austria has not yet reached the broad population. With our next projects and events we want to target new groups who are outside of our current bubble.
- To foster the skills and diversity of our volunteer team
Our team of more than 50 volunteers all over Austria are the heart of this organization. I see it as my responsibility to motivate and engage them so they can reach their full potential. Together as a team we can bring AustrianStartups to the next level.
- To grow AustrianStartups outside of Vienna
We have amazing local representatives in every Austrian province. I want to tighten our relation and collaboration within the provinces so we can support entrepreneurship holistically all over Austria.
I am looking forward to work together with the team of AustrianStartups to empower entrepreneurs with impactful visions and to truly make entrepreneurship as common as skiing in Austria.