Press releases | Basics Needs & Social Entrepreneurship 17.09.2012

International network of social entrepreneurs meets in Frankfurt

Social entrepreneurs develop innovative solutions to meet the challenges of providing basic services – but how can their impact be heightened? Sixteen social entrepreneurs from Latin America, Africa, and Asia will meet September 17–19, 2012, in the offices of KfW (business area development bank) in Frankfurt. This year’s conference of the Community Impact Development Group (CIDG) focuses on the question of how to maximize the social impact of the innovative solutions put forward by social entrepreneurs.

The Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka established CIDG to help selected social entrepreneurs from emerging and developing nations improve their business plans and find potential partners and investors. They also offer a platform for sharing experiences. The social entrepreneurs enhance the quality of life in developing countries and offer education, employment, and income opportunities through energy, water, agriculture, and waste management projects.

“Social entrepreneurs develop business models to solve social problems. They improve the situation of the local population and help create a society of stakeholders. Initiatives such as CIDG or our ‘empowering people. Award’ are designed to support this effort”, explains Ulrike Wahl, Managing Director of the Siemens Stiftung.

The aim of CIDG is to help social entrepreneurs scale their business ideas – that is, heighten the social impact of the solutions they have developed for social problems.

“Social entrepreneurs are concerned primarily with helping as many people as possible to benefit from their ideas. This may involve growing their own business, but not necessarily. It is at least as effective to establish a network of partners who share the mission or promote targeted knowledge transfer so that innovations can evolve”, explains Felix Oldenburg, General Manager of Ashoka Deutschland gGmbH.

Panel discussion “Scaling impact – how to grow social entrepreneurial innovations”

The question of how to maximize the impact of social entrepreneurial innovations is also the subject of a panel discussion organized by KfW in collaboration with the Siemens Stiftung and Ashoka: The discussion that concludes the first day of the CIDG conference on September 17, 7 – 8:30 pm, will feature Roland Siller (Director General for Europe and Asia, KfW), Joachim Schumacher (Senior Director for Africa and Latin America, DEG), Ulrike Wahl (Managing Director of the Siemens Stiftung), and Konstanze Frischen (Ashoka International) speaking with players from Africa and Asia about opportunities and challenges of growth and the best ways to enhance the social impact of their social entrepreneurial models.

“Support for social entrepreneurs is a logical next step in our commitment to financing small businesses and investing in social infrastructure in developing and emerging countries. Scalable, social entrepreneurial business models have the potential to efficiently supplement the often inadequate public services in areas such as health, education, or drinking water. That’s why we are so pleased to host CIDG with the theme of ‘Scaling Impact’”, says Roland Siller.

ENCOURAGE. empowering people. The Siemens Stiftung wants to empower people to actively address today’s social challenges and is dedicated to the values of Werner von Siemens. Together with partners, the foundation designs and implements local and international projects with the aim of promoting individual responsibility and self-initiative. The foundation is committed to enlarging basic services and social entrepreneurship, promoting education and strengthening culture. The Siemens Stiftung pursues an integrative approach and stands for responsible, impact-oriented and innovative project work.

Ashoka is the world’s first and leading organization supporting social entrepreneurs. It identifies scalable social innovations in 70 countries, and supports the 2,500 social entrepreneurs who stand behind them as Ashoka Fellows, helping them spread their ideas with grants, consulting, and a global network. With its many programs, Ashoka is helping to bring about a world in which everyone can create positive societal change. Ashoka is financed exclusively by private investors and partnerships with business and foundations.

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