And the winners in 2023 are …

16.02.2023 Idea Call, News

What a great evening! On 9 February, 2023, the winners of this year’s Idea Call were announced at a festive evening event. Around 100 guests followed the varied program of the award ceremony for the second edition of the Social Business Hub Styria Idea Call at the UNICORN Startup & Innovation Hub in Graz. At the beginning of the event, Economics Minister Barbara Eibinger-MiedlState Economics Councilor Johann Seitinger and Economics City Councilor Günter Riegler addressed the guests via video messages, congratulated the winners and motivated all those who submitted to “stay tuned”.

The focus of the event was of course the announcement of the winners and the presentation of the prize money of €1,000 each. We received active support from three of our testimonials, Josef Zotter (Zotter Schokolade GmbH), Fred Ohenhen (ISOP) and Katharina Schellnegger (Styriarte). A varied and informative program provided entertainment around these three highlights. The Board members, Kirsten Tangemann and Rüdiger Wetzl-Piewald informed about the milestone for Austrian social entrepreneurs, the label “Verified Social Enterprise” and the new offer of the Social Business Hub Styria, a networking platform for co-founders and internships for social enterprises.

In the panel discussion with successful social entrepreneurs, we brought in Catcalls of Graz activist and managing director of the Graz Women’s Council, Anna Majcan , Josef Zotter (Managing Director and Chocolatier Zotter Schokolade GmbH) and Matthias Landgraf, an internationally active shift-to-rail expert Podium and explored the question of how a social enterprise goes from idea to implementation. The discussion was particularly lightened up by anecdotes from Josef Zotter, who recognizes the art of failure as an essential point for successful entrepreneurship.

A second round of discussions gave insights into the Social & Green Business Impact Incubation program of the Social Business Hub Styria . Bettina Ganglbauer (bettilicious), Gerhard Dorn (konomondo), Katharina Köglberger (cyclebee) and Christian Leban (RAWTY), participants in the program, reported on their experiences and what they have already been able to take away from the intensive work with the experts.

Now who are the winners:

ByeAgain – buying and selling made easy 

The start-up “ByeAgain”, with the founders Jan Kranner and Wolfgang Weingraber, wants to help parents to sell their children’s items that are no longer used. Selling & buying via conventional platforms is associated with major hurdles. As a result, many products are stowed away, given away or thrown away. In order to keep the effort for the sellers as low as possible, ByeAgain takes over the entire sale of the products. This includes cleaning, evaluating, advertising, marketing and much more. In addition, inexpensive and neutrally rated children’s items can be purchased via their online platform – all with serious payment processing.

ByeAgain’s vision is to promote a resource-saving lifestyle and to counteract the financial burden of everyday life. The profitability of the company is based on the use of the latest technology and the automation of a wide variety of internal company processes. These include, for example, the use of artificial intelligence for the automated evaluation of the products to be sold or the improvement of intralogistics process times by designing a warehouse optimized for the company.

The benefits of the ByeAgain platform encourage a large number of parents to (sell) buy their children’s items that they no longer use.

Wolfgang Weingraber

PATHfindr – Digital Education & Career Advice  

The aim of the five-person team is to use the virtual meeting point Discord to advise young people on their personal future before, during and after they graduate from compulsory school. In 2019, Michael Kass-Buchberger made the leap from the private sector to the classroom via the Teach for Austria programme made in a socially highly burdened middle school. Since then he has been passionate about the topic of educational justice. In recent years he has often experienced that young people at the end of compulsory school are disoriented with regard to their future and do not receive any support from their personal environment. In Austria alone, more than 80,000 young people are faced with the question every year, “What will happen to me after completing compulsory school? 12.7   % of young people who dropped out early did not have a higher qualification than compulsory school (Statistics Austria, 2015). Unfortunately, the existing external support offers do not meet the young people’s reality of life, because they now feel more comfortable in the digital world than in the analogue world. These insights led to the founding of the social start-up PATHfindr. The vision: to offer young people from socially disadvantaged households low-threshold, free, location-independent and anonymous advice and to accompany them as partners on their way to a self-determined future. The offer is free, anonymous, location-independent and is offered at a time (Monday – Thursday 7 – 9 p.m.) when there is no other support. The platform will also give young people the opportunity to build up a network and exchange ideas with schools and companies (as potential apprenticeship training companies).

The team consists of Michael Kass-Buchberger, Felicitas Schenk, Maja Pekez, Sarah Steiner and Raphael Huber

Michael Kass-Buchberger

Geco Festival – We celebrate sustainability, June 2nd – 4th, 2023, Graz
The last few years have shown that environmentally conscious action is not an alternative, but the only option to preserve our planet for future generations. The Geco Festival is aimed at the entire interested population of Styria and clearly focuses on raising awareness and knowledge transfer. With the organic fashion label Apflbutzn, Thomas Winkler sells organic and fair fashion products and promotes a sustainable lifestyle. So far, however, this label has only reached people who are already dealing with this topic. With the establishment of the Geco Festival, the rest of the population should be addressed. The festival will be open to the public, free of charge and scheduled to take place annually. The program focuses on conveying an environmentally conscious lifestyle and sustainable consumption. This happens in a variety of ways with a B2C trade fair, clothing swap events, readings and lectures. The festival character is rounded off by a sustained evening program with live concerts. Under the motto “We celebrate sustainability”, a positive mood should be conveyed and it should be shown that a sustainable lifestyle can also be fun!

Thomas Winkler

Congratulations to all winners! If you want to find out more about the projects, you should definitely continue to follow our social media channels, because they are all presented here in more detail. We would like to thank all our guests for coming and for creating such a good atmosphere. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the submitters who shared their great ideas with us. Unfortunately, only three projects could be awarded, but we would like to motivate them to continue working so hard for a better future!

Last but not least, we would like to thank everyone who made this event possible and who enriched it with their contribution: Economics Minister Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, State Economics Councilor Johann Seitinger, Economics City Councilor Günter Riegler, our interviewees Katharina Schellnegger, Fred Ohenhen, Josef Zotter, Matthias Landgraf, Bettina Ganglbauer, Christian Leban, Katharina Köglberger, Gerhard Dorn as well as our cooperation partners and sponsors.

Fotos: Nadja Fuchs

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