Spotlight: Leon Reiner

Leon long

What drives you?

The will to do something good with the things that I do well: enabling, networking and sales. The Impact Hub gives me the framework to do that, combining business and something good.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

I’d say the first German-speaking incubation program was a milestone. I worked with Norbert Kunz when he initiated Social Impact Start four years ago. More recently, we had the ‘Deutschlandforum fuer Gesellschaft & Innovation’ – an annual forum by the German Chancellery on the issue issue of the year. In 2015, it’s Society & Innovation. If you google social entrepreneurship these days chances are you will end up on the websites of Zeit or Sueddeutsche Zeitung – mainstream media is covering it! When I started teaching at Humboldt University Berlin, I was the only one offering a course in social entrepreneurship in Germany, and students were flooding the lecture hall! Today you see many young talented Germans with entrepreneurial drive who are not scared to give it a go!

Currently reading

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr 


During my studies in development economics I spent most of my time analyzing the constant failures of top down approaches, everybody was complaining about what was wrong with the world but no-one offered practical solutions. I grew frustrated with the culture of complaint and started looking for alternatives. Due to my family background with both parents running businesses I soon started researching concepts like fair trade, micro-credits and after a long search social entrepreneurship. I was intrigued by this pairing of the “go and do” attitude of entrepreneurship with the vision to build a practice oriented alternative to the top down development models I had studied.

Additionally, I couldn’t imagine going to a foreign country to tell people what to do. I wanted to find something new to solve the problems on here on our doorstep – I found social entrepreneurship.

After writing my final thesis, I started interning at a consultancy for social entrepreneurs in Berlin. I got lucky, and shortly after I started there, they kicked off the first German-speaking incubation program to support social start ups, and hired me. In my time there, I got to see many ideas in an early phase. I saw what could be done and what couldn’t, and after some time set out to start my own business. After teaching social entrepreneurship at university and some smaller consulting gigs, I met my co-founders Anna, Nele, and Martin. I can’t believe it’s been two years since we first started working on Impact Hub Berlin.



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