“We want to be opportunity providers for integration”

It has certainly drawn a lot of capacity, bringing with it ups and downs. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the investors paid a lot of attention to our impact this time around. Before we became a non-profit in 2016, we tended to deal with commercial investors who did not understand the core of our model and saw the social aspect as a marketing gimmick. In this respect, it was a very nice experience to find impact investors who share our vision and for whom we do not have to bend.

Did you also face any concerns?

What surprised us a lot is that many investors are not yet ready for impact investing. They are interested in it, but act more according to the motto: either donate and the money is gone, or invest and then earn real money. The great thing about impact investing is that you can generate social impact more than once with one euro. That's what we liked about working with FASE: the investors in the network already understood the principle. In addition, we and the other FASE clients inspire people to overcome this mental and sometimes administrative hurdle. We have funding partners who have told us that they would like to make an impact investment instead of a donation in the next round of funding.

Has the hybrid funding mix of loans and donations worked for you??

Absolutely. We find this model very exciting, especially as it also takes some of the pressure off us. Donations reduce lender risk and donors are happy that impact investors believe in return of capital. This win-win-win situation gives everyone more security.

"The great thing about impact investing is that you can generate social impact with one euro more than once. That's what we liked about working with FASE: the investors in the network already understood this principle."

Your impact topic job integration of refugees is still red-hot, but also controversial in society. How were the reactions to your PR campaign, in which stroer and jung von matt supported you pro bono??

Predominantly very positive. We knew from the beginning that not everyone would like our campaign, but we wanted to stimulate social discourse and also change the perception of refugees. Many refugees appear strong, have been through a lot and want to prove themselves and contribute. Through the campaign, we have received a lot of support and found new cooperation partners. There is always a little bit of hostility from the right and the left. But everything remained within a healthy framework and also provided much needed discussion.

What would you say is the special feature that makes your solution so effective??

The secret recipe is that social bee is an employer. We take direct responsibility for the jobs instead of just advising and mentoring them. So companies are relieved of bureaucracy and the opportunities for local and refugee workers are equalized. It also improves our access to both sides. A second special feature is that we dock with the companies very close to the operational value chain. Many changemakers think they have to revolutionize the entire system right away. We tend to use it and change small elements in it. Social bee takes the classic temporary employment model and adds the new mechanisms of integration, support and qualification. That way, we can reach companies quickly and easily and get refugees into work in a very low-threshold way.

Is this resource-intensive approach also the limit of your solution??

For sure. We can't be active in every city right away. We have to meet legal requirements and expand step by step. We have had to turn down many requests to implement our model in other places because it cannot be scaled so quickly. In the long term, however, franchise models or cooperations with other temporary employment agencies are a possibility.

You have just become an ashoka fellow and the topic of system change plays a central role there. Is your goal to inspire companies to eventually map your service themselves?

Exactly. We want to give companies the impetus to hire refugees themselves. With our activities, we are proving, so to speak, that the effort is less than expected and companies gain great employees. We want to change mindsets, but we are also not the only solution to this social problem. The primary goal of our PR campaign was therefore to create awareness of the great potential of refugees. Social bee sets an example on a small scale and creates more touch points with the community. This automatically increases the acceptance of refugees – a snowball effect.

"Many changemakers think they have to revolutionize the entire system right away. We rather use it and change small elements in it. Social bee sets an example on a small scale and creates more points of contact with society. This automatically increases the acceptance of refugees – a snowball effect."

And how do you see the controversies surrounding the topic of temporary employment??

We would like to bring about a change in thinking there as well. By offering a comprehensive integration and qualification concept for our employees, we set new standards in temporary employment. On this point, social bee is the most advanced in the industry. We already have corporate clients who see temporary staffing in a whole new light and have been very reluctant to work with it because its reputation is so bad. In this way, our model also radiates beyond the refugees and creates impact for all employees.

What do your next entrepreneurial steps look like and what support would you like to see for them?

We will be implementing our model in stuttgart from april 2018. This is a very exciting scaling step for me because it's the first big space outside of munich that we're tackling. My big goal is that we can be active nationwide. In addition, we are also sitting down with other temporary staffing firms and thinking about what the right lean scaling model might look like for the future. To do this, we also need bold companies that want to use our model to hire employees. Government support would also be very nice for further support and qualification projects. So far, we are still funding ourselves exclusively through our corporate customers.

Actually, the state would gain a lot by supporting your solution?

Yes, that's why I find a social impact bond as a financing model very exciting in the long term. Impact investors are leading the way and providing evidence that our solution has a strong impact and efficiency, whereupon the government could expand it further. That would be an ideal growth opportunity for us, which would also multiply the social impact.

What tips would you have for social entrepreneurs who would like to attract impact investors. What should be done and what should be avoided at all costs?

What has helped me and my co-founder max a lot is that we both bring a lot of business expertise to the table. We had prepared all documents very well and were also very sure about our numbers. Our investors have told us that we have been very professional. These are confidence-building measures that go down very well with such investors. As a social entrepreneur, you should therefore take this part a little more seriously and possibly get training or external help. In impact investing, both impact and cost-effectiveness have to match. Therefore, dealing with impact measurement and building up the impact staircase consistently also plays a major role. Field hockey stick planning should also be left alone. Being realistic with your plans is definitely a success factor.

What does your dream for social bee look like in 10 years??

That we don't just get refugees into work, but other people with social disadvantages as well. We want to be integration opportunity provider and stepping stone.

"We need bold companies that want to use our model to hire employees."