We all love a happy ending – when the princess is saved from her castle and marries prince charming. Or vice versa. This is exactly how we felt, after receiving a letter from one of our members, Shamala. It was the quintessential Impact Hub member story, the dream or hope of what we do here and what we work for is all worth it, and it reads like so…

“Serendipity – a word you often hear Nele Kapretz, the co-founder of Impact Hub say. It encapsulates my relationship with Impact Hub Berlin: it is serendipitous. I was introduced to Leon Reiner, another co-founder o0f Impact Hub Berlin, and after our first interaction, I had signed up to be a member – even though I did not live in Berlin. Very soon after, Leon asked me to mentor one of the teams on the F-Lane Vodafone Institute Accelerator for female Empowerment which is co- hosted by Impact Hub Berlin.

Serendipity – today, the team I mentored and I are partners in our work: I visited Mozambique because of the relationship that had formed and it is a case of upwards and onwards. Fast forward to half a year later, when an international Blockchain Hackathon was hosted at the Impact Hub Berlin. I entered my name, knowing it would be a great platform to learn more about using the technology for my project, Hanai. As the day approached for the weekend long Hackathon, I was reluctant, afraid of my lack of knowledge, and just generally was dragging my feet. I am so glad I showed up. As fate would have it, when we were all asked to pitch what we wanted to work on in a few sentences and see if teams formed around the idea, my idea of somehow engaging marginalised communities using a tool like blockchain gained the attention and three other lovely young men formed a team with me to see to the idea. We worked all weekend and ended up winning third prize, which got us a ticket to Shanghai and all the fame that comes with it:) More importantly, two of the lovely lads who approached me to work on the idea during the hackathon, continue to work with Hanai as an idea, Hanai as a concept. We formed a team which is now a team of five. And for that, I am thankful to the Impact Hub Berlin and will always be!

Moving into the future, as Hanai is now based out of the Silicon Valley with team mates in Berlin, France, London, Luxembourg, I will always, always, be grateful for the friendships that formed, the opportunities that keep coming my way, the chance to continue to contribute to the community, and for being such amazing peeps – thank you Impact Hub Berlin!”

Thank you dear Shamala, you added meaning to everything we do <3 #transitionteam

The Engineers of Serendipity 

– written by Clara Niedt, Acceleration Team

 

Do you remember this one time, when you were introduced to this person who told you something seemingly random – and it completely made you change your life path? Yes? That was serendipity getting at you!

For the ones that have not been this lucky (just yet), the good news is that this is exactly what we do at Impact Hub Berlin: we facilitate connections between unlikely allies and act as ecosystem builder – you could say, we are the engineers of serendipity. The implications of this work are far-reaching and stood out to me during this last year especially while managing the second edition of the Digital Imagination Challenge that we ran together with Unitymedia and Sozialhelden.

 

—————————————————————-

The Digital Imagination Challenge is an innovation competition for tech solutions that reduce barriers to foster inclusion of people with disability in all areas of everyday life. Rapid technological developments and the digitalization revolutionized our society and offer previous unimaginable chances and innovations, that have the possibility to touch millions of lives. Unitymedia together with its cooperation partners Sozialhelden and Impact Hub Berlin searched for innovative approaches that use technology to reduce barriers and make inclusion at home, at work and in the leisure sphere possible.

—————————————————————-

 

But what is ecosystem building actually and why is it so important?

In dynamic environments, where uncertainty and change prevail, players cooperate to learn from different perspectives and build on each others resources to create new forms of value. The purpose of ecosystem builders thereby goes beyond acting as hubs in centralized systems, introducing different entities to one another. It is about identifying opportunities in bringing together unfamiliar partners whose spheres of operation would usually not overlap – unlikely allies –  and encouraging them to work together (Furr, Shipilov, 2018).

 

Ecosystem building at the Digital Imagination Challenge

In the context of the Digital Imagination Challenge, this meant the  involvement of all stakeholders: Unitymedia as initiator, Sozialhelden and us as cooperation partners, as well as media, event and network partners, the jury, the press, relevant potential partners and investors … and as fundamental element of this ecosystem: the entrepreneurs themselves.

Taking this further, involving the teams meant more than facilitating peer-to-peer exchange between winners. Managing already the second edition of the DIC, it meant finding synergies between all previously accelerated teams to move away from a thinking of consequent and separate cohorts to building an ecosystem that comprises participants from across unfamiliar spheres and thus lays the stepping stone for further development for them.

 

Serendipity at work

How serendipity was engineered within the Digital Imagination Challenge is wonderfully depicted by telling the story of participating team everGuide. They developed an awe-inspiringly correct indoor-navigation system which helps you find your way around places, where GPS  fails the user. Like this, the technology enables blind and visually impaired people to navigate independently in large buildings, underground stations etc.

Their challenge during the DIC was to grow their business to the next level and get investment ready. Despite having first customers, they struggled to convince with the advantages for blind people, as customers such as airport operators cared more about efficiency gains involved in guiding people through buildings in certain ways, causing everGuide to miss out on reaching some 1.2 million blind potential users in Germany (Bertram, 2005). Eventually a use-case was found that clearly shows the gains of the navigation technology for blind people: a cooperation with the German Central Library for the Blind (DZB), who had won the challenge’s last edition with their solution to scan e-books for accessibility, was initiated through the DIC mentoring program. The DZB benefits from everGuide’s solution as it is highly relevant to their visitors. In exchange, it acts as feedback platform for everGuide and opportunity for them to get in touch with blind users. Who would have thought this would happen when everGuide first applied to the DIC?

 

Call to action

By focusing on the entrepreneur, identifying possible intersections and telling their stories, we hope to lay the ground work for creating more synergies (Kauffman Foundation, n.d.). If you are active in the field of inclusion, have interesting connections you would like to share or want to learn more about the teams that were accelerated through the Digital Imagination Challenge, do not hesitate to get in touch and become an engineer of serendipity yourself!

 

Get in touch: consultancy@impacthub.berlin

 

References

Bertram, B. (2005). Blindheit und Sehbehinderung in Deutschland: Ursachen und Häufigkeit. Der Augenarzt, 6. Heft

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. (n.d.). Elements of an Ecosystem. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook 2.0

Furr, N. Shipilov, A. (2018). Building the right ecosystem for innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2018 Issue

 

Our Co-Founder Anna Lässer has recently joined newly founded publication Delphi – Interdisciplinary Review of Emerging Technologies, as their Associate Editor. She’s heading the Startup Digest section for Delphi and has for her first contribution taken a closer look at the whole topic of “Blockchain4Good” – interviewing three startups from Impact Hub Berlin’s network to gain deep insights on the status quo. Here’s the intro to the feature – find a link to the whole article down below!

The Startup Digest section of Delphi introduces startups and grassroots initiatives from around the world that push the boundaries of emerging technologies. Most conversations around emerging technologies are stuck in silos and are quite hyped, making it hard to understand their actual impact on businesses, society and governance. The Startup Digests aim to demystify what is happening on the ground by establishing a discourse via case studies and interviews with startups and grassroots initiatives. Each edition will take a critical look on how these movements apply emerging technologies to achieve a specific purpose – facilitating a discourse that makes the (new) thinking, the approach and potential impact become more tangible.

This first edition of the Startup Digest focuses on the nascent blockchain technology that is strongly driven by startups. These enterprises are exploring new opportunities and business models that may have the potential to transform many existing processes in business, society and governance. According to the World Economic Forum, blockchain technology can be a game-changer in how the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are tackled: It enables a shift towards ‘cleaner and more resource-preserving decentralised solutions, to unlock natural capital, and to empower communities’ and thus incentivise new behaviour. This edition features three startups that pioneer blockchain technology, exploring new business models designed to create a positive impact.

The startups that have been sourced via the global network of Impact Hub Berlin are: (1) BenBen – land & real-estate market, Ghana,(2) Minespider – mineral supply chain, Germany and (3) SolarLux – solar energy, Thailand. Each interview will give insights on opportunities for growth, challenges and risks to reveal what is happening on the ground. Additionally, possible spill over effects to other emerging technologies will be taken into consideration.

Read the full article here!

Also, you can find the complete first issue of Delphi here.

Enjoy the read!

We are lucky here at Impact Hub Berlin to have so many interesting projects and people come through our door every day – that truly span all of the Sustainable Development Goals with their work and are making an actual impact to peoples’ lives. Jobs4refugees is certainly one such case. They are a non-profit organisation with the mission to enable refugees to rebuild their lives and to become active members of German society. As we all know, bureaucracy is no easy task, and support with this is greatly needed. So Jobs4refugees are driving integration and help people who are looking for employment realise their full potential. To find out more about the people behind the organistation, we got the team to answer a few questions! 

  1. How did jobs4refugees get started?

In summer of 2015 when over a million refugees came to Germany in a very short time, jobs4refugees founder Robert Barr also wanted to get involved and help. In the beginning, he gave German classes as a volunteer. It became clear quite quickly that finding a job is one of the most pressing issues for refugees. So two of us, equipped with an excel-spread, started speaking to refugees in a refugee-shelter, taking down their information as well as job-aspirations and simply began to cold-call potential employers – asking them whether they would be open to hiring a refugee. This approach worked surprisingly well and we decided to build a non-profit placement-agency for refugees. Thus jobs4refugees was born.

  1. What’s your mission?

Our mission is quite straight forward and given our name not very surprising: to help refugees in Germany take up work and apprenticeships. We seek to drive the labour market integration by leveling the playing field and help refugees and employers overcome the cultural, language and bureaucratic barriers and biases to a successful integration.

  1. How many people have you worked with so far?

Today jobs4refugees reaches over 21.000 refugees nationwide with the job-offers of employers we work with. We have placed over 200 refugees and reached about 1000 refugees through trainings, workshops and consultation.

  1. What does Impact Hub mean to you?

On the one hand Impact Hub is a great place to work with a great working atmosphere and enough flexibility and space to consult and meet both the refugees and employers we work with. On the other hand being part of the community is great and often creates new opportunities and ideas for our work, be it intros to employers or volunteers or getting some ‘outside’ feedback on new ideas during the community lunch in the Impact Hub.

You can find more about Jobs4refugee on their website – and huge congratulations again to Robert Barr, their CEO and Founder who recently has been awarded “Top 40 Under 40” by Capital magazine 2018, for all of his outstanding work and dedication! 🙌🏼

Every day we work hard to create a future that works for all – solving wicked problems around the the SDGs.

THE BEYOND is a series we brought to life to take you on a journey – beyond the known allies, the countries we live in, the current methods and tools, the new technologies, the digital transformation and the unicorns. Beyond the buzzwords.

We’ll be sharing insights, learnings and research from our work and from within our ecosystem. Each volume of THE BEYOND will bring you up to speed about a core topic through a series of articles and a closing event.

We want to inspire you to take a look beyond: step out of the framework, identify new opportunities, discuss the challenges of tomorrow and find solutions to create a future that works for all. We are on the transition team – we invite you to be part of it.

It’s time to explore BEYOND!

 

Our topic for Volume 1 is “The missing link: Where the support ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in Germany is failing” –   featuring articles on:

The closing event of Vol.1 happened on November 13 – we presented all our findings again and had a panel discussion with Naomi Ryland (tbd*), Prof. Florian Hoos (HEC Paris, TU Berlin), Christoph Raethke (Berlin Startup Academy), Christian Kroll (Ecosia) and a great audience. Check out pictures from the event!

> Also: Stay tuned for Volume 2, coming up in early 2019! <

 

Where to find Community for social entrepreneurs in Germany

From the past three articles, we have already established that social entrepreneurs face a specific set of challenges, including, but not limited to, finding funding, knowledge and consulting opportunities. What we haven’t looked into so far is their need for community.

While social entrepreneurship and other impact-oriented forms of work have been gaining traction over the past decade, this movement still largely consists of young and first time entrepreneurs. Especially for these rather inexperienced changemakers, knowing that someone out there has been through similar issues and challenges and made similar mistakes, can be a huge factor. Being able to actively count on the support of peers to actually solve problems at hand can be a real game changer. Being part of a community, thus, is not a “nice to have” – but rather a fundamental success factor.

In this article, we set out to highlight the main ways to join a community for social entrepreneurs in Germany – from platforms and meetups to networks and hubs.

Here are the main findings from our research:  

Among all the opportunities to connect and network we encountered, these are our top 3:

Ashoka. A global network for creators of our society who, with an entrepreneurial attitude and innovative approaches, try to solve social problems – in partnership with institutions and committed people worldwide. Ashoka played a fundamental role over the past two decades in pushing the agenda of social entrepreneurship in Germany and is therefore recognized as one of its key players.

SEND. The Network for Social Entrepreneurs and social startups in Germany, SEND e.v., promotes the visibility of social entrepreneurs* and their solutions to the public. Having been part of Bundesverband Deutsche Startups e.V., it was founded as an organization in its own right in 2017.

Impact Hub. As the largest network of social innovators worldwide founded 2005 in London, Impact Hub focuses on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. Impact Hubs around the world are home to the innovators, the dreamers and the entrepreneurs who are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. In Germany there are Impact Hubs in Berlin, Munich, Dresden and the Ruhr Area.

Overall, Germany seems well, but not great when it comes to the topic of Community. While the networks may seem hustling & bustling in the major cities, everything further away is rather silent – and even within the bigger cities, it is still hardly possible to satisfy the very diverse needs of social entrepreneurs. However, this is a topic that could move forward quickly: According to the Global Impact Report 2018 – which surveyed social entrepreneurs from 71 Impact Hubs around the globe – 84% had the most urgent need to “feel part of a larger community and network”. This is a higher number than the need for funding (45%), and the need for skill development (70%). We can imagine that private entities that have been trying to satisfy this desire for community, will step up their game  – and new organizations will try to thicken the web.

When it comes to social entrepreneurship and getting your sustainable business started, funding is, of course, one of the main concerns. In 2017 the international Impact Hub network (15.000 members in over 100 countries) conducted a Global Members Survey enquiring after the support needs of social entrepreneurs: unsurprisingly, it turned out that 45% of the Members “sought support in obtaining financial capital and investment” (Global Impact Report 2018).

 

Click here to see a map of all social founded ecosystems in Germany

 

> Also read our other articles of volume 1 on:

Please let us know if there are any great offerings we have missed and give us your input!

 

This article is part of our THE BEYOND series – a series we brought to life to take you on a journey beyond the known allies, the countries we live in, the current methods and tools, the new technologies, the digital transformation and the unicorns. Beyond the buzzwords.

We’ll be sharing insights, learnings and research from our work and from within our ecosystem. Each volume of THE BEYOND will bring you up to speed about a core topic through a series of articles and a closing event. We want to inspire you to take a look beyond: step out of the framework, identify new opportunities, discuss the challenges of tomorrow and find solutions to create a future that works for all. We are on the transition team – we invite you to be part of it.

It’s time to explore BEYOND!


Where to find knowledge for social entrepreneurs in Germany

For those who want to drive social change through business, knowledge and education are as essential as in every other sector. Research, reports, news, guides, practical information, university courses: for a normal entrepreneur, these are a given. Open a search tab and browse through endless sources, read any business journal, or attend a management seminar – even online and free of charge: you will be able to obtain a wealth of information that will teach you the business fundamentals. The question is – do social entrepreneurs enjoy the same abundance of knowledge resources?

While the basis for all sorts of entrepreneurs are roughly the same, as we have already discussed in the previous two articles on Funding and Consultancy, social entrepreneurs differ in their objectives, legal status, funding hurdles – hence also in their knowledge requirements.

In this article, we offer an overview of what sources of knowledge are available in Germany, from research to reports and platforms.

Three main findings from our research are:

 

Here are our must-go-to entities if you are looking for knowledge sources in Germany:

BMWi. In the past few years, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has published reports on the topic of social entrepreneurship, ranging from a practical guide with tips and pointers to an insight into the challenges and scaling processes for SEs. The website existenzgruender.de offers a number of tools, from financing and support links to procedures and financial and legal status information for SEs. Available for download on this platform are also a sustainable business canvas, reports, and practical guides for SEs.

Tbd*. A digital hub that supports those who are determined to make a career out of changing the world. Here people can find a job, hire the right team, discover workshops and courses, locate funding opportunities, connect with mission-driven companies, share best practices, or learn from others who are using their careers to make an impact.

SEA. The Social Entrepreneurship Academy is an initiative of Munich’s public universities and specializes in education for societal change. The SEA:mooc “Enabling Entrepreneurs to shape a better world” is open the everyone and designed to cater to future social entrepreneurs, delivering basic knowledge, methods and tools.

There are also other great courses for social entrepreneurs like the Changemaker MOOC by the University of Kiel and the Copenhagen Business School course offered on the Coursera platform. For later stage and especially with regards to investment readiness & social finance, the Social Finance Academy by Germany based Roots for Impact is a great resource.

One fact becomes quite obvious to us: There is a real abundance of reports, materials and courses out there – but the vast majority is provided in English. All things considered, even though the quantity of information material in German may not be huge, the quality of what is available is fairly good. This can certainly be considered a valuable asset to paving the way towards a more established social entrepreneurship sector.

 

> Also read our other articles of volume 1 on:

Please let us know if there are any great offerings we have missed and give us your input!

This article is part of our THE BEYOND series – a series we brought to life to take you on a journey beyond the known allies, the countries we live in, the current methods and tools, the new technologies, the digital transformation and the unicorns. Beyond the buzzwords.

We’ll be sharing insights, learnings and research from our work and from within our ecosystem. Each volume of THE BEYOND will bring you up to speed about a core topic through a series of articles and a closing event. We want to inspire you to take a look beyond: step out of the framework, identify new opportunities, discuss the challenges of tomorrow and find solutions to create a future that works for all. We are on the transition team – we invite you to be part of it.

It’s time to explore BEYOND!


Where to find consultancy for social entrepreneurs in Germany

 

Limited understanding of social entrepreneurship and the value it generates can, on occasion, cause business environments to be less than favourable for social entrepreneurs. Given that in addition to profit they (we) have to worry about the impact on people and the planet, this additional complexity means that social entrepreneurs will often have to be more tenacious than other entrepreneurs. They will need to be equipped with a notable set of resources and capabilities, also taking into consideration that the act of accessing capital is much more difficult for them (for more on this check the first article of this series).

While it is undoubtedly true that finding funding can be a big challenge – to gain access to it, social entrepreneurs will need to be able to build a strong, convincing case for their business ideas. To do so, coaching and training around business models, legal and regulatory frameworks, access to markets, and many more topics are key. As a matter of fact, the Global Impact Report 2018 – which surveyed social entrepreneurs from 71 Impact Hubs around the globe – found that while 45% of members look for funding opportunities, 52% of them feel the need to learn how to start a project or a venture, 70% are interested in developing their skills and capabilities, and 73% are seeking connections to advisors and experts.

In this article, we want to offer an overview of what is available in Germany when it comes to actually coaching social entrepreneurs on how to set up a social business – who are the key supporters and what forms of assistance are available.

Three main findings from our research are:

 

 

 

Here are our must-go-to entities if you are looking for formation and consultancy opportunities:

Social Impact Labs. Part of Social Impact’s work is focused on supporting early-stage social entrepreneurs via their Social Impact Labs in 7 cities across Germany. Social startups receive scholarships and qualification programs via various programs like Social Impact Start, which typically include professional counselling, coaching, networking, workshops, and coworking jobs.

Investment Ready Program. Investment Ready is a unique 4-month program for entrepreneurs which runs out of Amsterdam, Munich and Vienna. The aim is to support the creation of scalable solutions to societal problems. A cohort of around 15 selected ventures systematically works on their business strategy and builds an attractive investment case. Participants will work with experienced mentors, content experts, investors and powerful business tools.

Project Together. Project Together supports young social entrepreneurs from the early phase of their ideas, through a coaching program and an active community of founders and experts. They specifically work to support the achievement of the UN Goals for Sustainable Development.

Impact Hub. As part of the biggest global network of social innovators, Impact Hubs provides access to a global community, training and peer to peer support, workspaces, lectures and a variety of incubation and acceleration programs. In Germany there are Impact Hubs in Berlin, Munich, Dresden and the Ruhr Area.

All in all, Germany has a number of formation & consultancy programs targeting social entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, in terms of their reach and offering they are still nowhere close to what is at disposal for other entrepreneurs, especially those in the tech space. Even if the regulatory framework and the business environment should become more welcoming towards social entrepreneurs, their challenges still remain quite unique. Thus providing tailored support will be of growing importance to pave the way into the mainstream for social entrepreneurship.

> Also read our other articles of volume 1 on:


Please let us know if there is a great offering we have missed and give us your input to comms@impacthub.berlin


This article is part of our THE BEYOND series – a series we brought to life to take you on a journey beyond the known allies, the countries we live in, the current methods and tools, the new technologies, the digital transformation and the unicorns. Beyond the buzzwords.

We’ll be sharing insights, learnings and research from our work and from within our ecosystem. Each volume of THE BEYOND will bring you up to speed about a core topic through a series of articles and a closing event. We want to inspire you to take a look beyond: step out of the framework, identify new opportunities, discuss the challenges of tomorrow and find solutions to create a future that works for all. We are on the transition team – we invite you to be part of it.

 

It’s time to explore BEYOND!


Where to find funding for social entrepreneurs in Germany

When it comes to social entrepreneurship and getting your sustainable business started, funding is of course one of the main concerns. In 2017 the international Impact Hub network (15.000 members in over 100 countries) conducted a Global Members Survey enquiring after the support needs of social entrepreneurs: unsurprisingly, it turned out that 45% of the Members “sought support in obtaining financial capital and investment” (Global Impact Report 2018).

In this article we highlight the most important sources of funding available for social entrepreneurs in Germany. This can come in the form of awards, prize money, or investment (such as crowdfunding and by VCs).  

Three main findings from our research are:

While the opportunities are numerous, we pre-selected 3 must-go-to entities if you are looking for funding:

Ananda Impact Fund and BonVenture. Two of the leading venture capital investors for impact enterprises and social change in Europe, supporting companies that combine humanity and profitability and contribute sustainably to the resolution of concrete social and ecological problems.

FASE. The “Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship” connects social entrepreneurs and investors in order to maximize the social impact of outstanding projects through growth financing. Their main impact themes are education, inclusion, ageing population, long-term unemployment, health and sustainable consumption, but they remain open to other high-impact areas, too.

Google Impact Challenge. Targeting both local and broader projects, the challenge supports ideas that can improve our society through the help of technology – whether with an app, website or something completely different. Winners receive free training and prizes in the value of 20.000 €, 250.000 € and even 500.000 €.

For the moment, we can conclude that while Germany is certainly not barren land when it comes to funding opportunities for social entrepreneurs – it still has some steps to go. Moreover, with neighboring France pouring millions from public and private money into social innovation businesses, we are somewhat left with a feeling of that what has (arguably) been good until now, will not be enough in the future.

If sustainable businesses want to be a standard in the future, Germany must indisputably step up its game – ideally paving the way for support solutions where private entities work hand in hand with governmental ones.

>> 3 more articles for Volume 1 coming up! Topics will be consultancy, knowledge and connections – check back here again.

Please let us know if there are any great offerings we have missed and give us your input!

 

This article is part of our THE BEYOND series – a series we brought to life to take you on a journey beyond the known allies, the countries we live in, the current methods and tools, the new technologies, the digital transformation and the unicorns. Beyond the buzzwords.

We’ll be sharing insights, learnings and research from our work and from within our ecosystem. Each volume of THE BEYOND will bring you up to speed about a core topic through a series of articles and a closing event. We want to inspire you to take a look beyond: step out of the framework, identify new opportunities, discuss the challenges of tomorrow and find solutions to create a future that works for all. We are on the transition team – we invite you to be part of it.

It’s time to explore BEYOND!

Impact Hub is not just a co-working space, a consultancy for social entrepreneurs, or a place to hold events – it’s primarily a community where people who have like-minded ideas about how the world should work can come together in a safe space. Naturally to launch Impact Hub Berlin’s themed communities for social impact — Tribes — we spoke to our home-grown freelance collective, K-Tiv. Formed around four creative professionals, K-Tiv is the Berlin-based Storytelling & Design Tribe. Read on for their story and stay tuned to learn about our other Tribes!

1. How did K-Tiv get started?

It started as many Impact Hub collaborations do — we all got to know each other over the weekly Community Lunch, Kaffee & Kuchen, and Winedown events! We were individual freelancers with the desire to collaborate on creative projects that advance social and environmental causes, as well as to enjoy the excitement and new ideas that come from being part of a team. As time went on and other members needed our support in design and storytelling, we also by chance found ourselves working on the same projects together; our first, albeit accidental collaborations. It soon became clear that we worked well together, and realising that we could together take on bigger projects with more of an impact was the catalyst for the foundation of K-Tiv.

2. What’s your aim as a group?

As a collective of independent freelancers, the aim was never to act as an established agency with clients on the books but instead to offer the collective skills of experienced and independent freelancers in solving distinct storytelling and design challenges for Impact Hub members and affiliates, alongside our individual projects. Through this, we aim to support the efforts of Berlin-based and international organisations and enterprises with whom our values align, by offering our diverse and complementary expertise: Pauline and Michael are masters of the universe of images; Aimie and I, the words’ world.

3. How has it been working so far? And what has been your biggest impact?

It’s already been a wonderful ride! We’ve so far together worked on projects ranging from designing the physical and online marketing materials of a fair fashion start-up to bringing an e-book on behavioural change for entrepreneurs to life, and we already have some new, intriguing possibilities in the works.

But the project with the biggest influence so far has to be the first ever Impact Hub Global Impact Report, which we created from scratch in collaboration with the network’s communications team. The chance to think together about how to tell the story of Impact Hub’s growth, its day-to-day work with social entrepreneurs around the world and its future — as well as to further shape its visual identity — and then see this echo internationally … That’s exactly what we aim to do!

4. What does Impact Hub mean to you?

A lot. As independent freelancers, we chose to join Impact Hub seeking for a dynamic community to be inspired by, but also to collaborate with in supporting projects which have a socio-environmental focus. While it’s true that we’ve been able to grow our individual and collective changemaking careers through the connections, collaborations  and knowledge we’ve found here, what was perhaps more important was the community we found: knowing that you have a place where everyone is in the same boat, where you can help and be helped, and where you will eat copious amounts of cake alongside lovely people!

5. Where do you see K-Tiv’s future?

We hope to build on what we’ve achieved so far and continue to help shape stories that deserve to be discovered, as the need to transition to a sustainable and fair society is getting more urgent by the day. It’s impossible to tell what the future will hold — especially as freelancers! — but along with our other freelance partners, we’re looking forward to bringing our creativity to the community and help them to communicate better.

Joe Dodgshun, for K-Tiv