Since I’ve decided to get to know the Social Entrepreneurship & Start-Up Scene in Berlin better myself, I thought why not share my thoughts and successful approaches:

1. Network

The most crucial of all! Get out of your comfort zone and mingle with mind-liked people! You will find them at workshops, events and conferences like the SenseCamp, the Vision Summit or the Entrepreneurship Summit. Besides the networking opportunities, there is always something to learn on these occasions. Even if you want to find out more about specific organisations, why not simply contact them and ask if you can visit them to learn more about their work? Even if the response will be no, you tried and should feel good about that.

2. Talk to friends and relatives

From personal experience, there will be some friends or relatives that aren’t interested at all in Social Entrepreneurship or Start-ups. Yet, more often, I was surprised to hear that some thought about launching a business themselves. So just give it a try (again). Talk to them, share your ideas, talk about your plans and see where it leads.

3. Educate yourself

Check online resources, platforms, magazines and directories and read books. Classic examples are: Ashoka Deutschland, Impact Hub Berlin, Social Impact Lab, Betahaus or the Rainmaking Loft. I would also recommend to check these online information platforms around Social Entrepreneurship and Doing good (including job postings):

Good books around Social Entrepreneurship are in my opinion these:

  • Robert Ashton: How to be a Social Entrepreneur, make money & change the world
  • Andrew Mawson: The Social Entrepreneur – Making communities work
  • David Bornstein and Susan Davis: Social Entrepreneurship – What everyone needs to know
  • Craif Dearden-Philips: Your change to change the world – The no-fibbing guide to Social Entrepreneurship

4. Volunteer, intern or work for a Social Enterprise or Start-up

There are always possibilities to intern or work in a start-up or social enterprising organisation. Another suggestion would be to work Pro-Bono, which is skilled volunteering. Three examples of volunteering/skilled volunteering matchmakers are these platforms:

If you are looking for a job or internship, you should have a look at these websites:

5. Participate in MOOC’s

I’ve done that in 2013 a lot. MOOCs are massive open online courses and are aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Course materials are often filmed lectures, reading, and peer-assignments. You do not need a university degree to participate or prior knowledge (at least in most cases).

Many courses are offered in English. More and more offer subtitle languages. There is also an increasing amount of courses offered in German language. Not all are free of charge, but many. You can earn a Statement of Accomplishment or a Statement of Participation if you meet the course criteria. Usually, you can also get in contact with other participants through online forums and discussion boards. Popular platforms are: iversity, coursera, Udemy, edX, NovoEd and Udacity.

Previous courses have been:

1. Changemaker MOOC – Social Entrepreneurship (via iversity) by the University of Kiel. Instructors were Prof. Dr. Christoph Corves and Dr. Linda Kleemann.

2. Social Entrepreneurship (via Coursera) by the University of Pennsylvania. Instructor were Ian MacMillan, James D. Thompson and Peter Frumkin.

3. The Do School Start-Up Lab (via iversity) by the DO School. Instructors were Romy Kraemer, Florian Hoffmann, Katherin Kirschenmann, Dr. Mei Wang and Rouven Steinfeld.

I’m mentioning these courses, because sometimes future sessions are planned and it’s worth to take a look every once in a while.

Upcoming course examples are:

1. Social Entrepreneurship (via Coursera) by the Copenhagen Business School. Facilitators are: Kai HockertsKristjan JespersenRobert Austin and Anirudh Agrawal. The duration of the English taught course is 12 weeks. Workload is about 4-6 hours per week. It’s runs from 07.04 – 30.06.2015.

2. Beyond Silicon Valley: Growing Entrepreneurship in Transitioning Economies (via Coursera) by the Case Western Reserve University. The instructor is Professor Michael Goldberg. This course is a self-paced online course, which means you can take as much as time for completion as you want. However, there is no option of a Statement of Accomplishment.

3. How to build a startup – The Lean LaunchPad (via Udacity) by instructor Steve Blank. It is also a self-paced course where you can begin whenever you like. According to the course page will the materials always be accessible.

4. Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship (via Coursera) by the University of Maryland. The instructor is Dr. James V. Green. The duration of the course is 4 weeks and you should invest about 3-4 hours per week. It is part of the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business Specialization course.

5. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business (via Coursera) by the University of Maryland. It’s a specialization course.

6. Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking & Action (via Coursera). It is part of the Practical Management for Career Readiness Specialization course. It runs from 06.04.  – 08.05.2015.

7. Inclusive Leadership Training: Becoming a Successful Leader (via edX). The course starts on 18.02.15 and will run for 4 weeks. Estimated effort is only 1 hour each week. You can pursue a verified certificate or audit the course for free.

8. Innovation and Commercialization (via edX). This course starts on 14.02.15 and runs for 13 weeks. It seems to be an intense course as the estimated effort is 12 hours/week. You can pursue a verified certificate or audit the course for free.