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Social Entrepreneur of the Year – European Winners Honoured at 2011 World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia

Richard Elliott, Associate Director, Media, Tel.: +41 (0) 79 201 8127
  • The Schwab Foundation announces five winners from four organizations for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year awards at the 2011 World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia in Vienna, Austria
  • Winners working in France, Germany and the United Kingdom are among 19 Social Entrepreneurs taking part in the meeting, providing an on-the-ground perspective to sustainability and social innovation
  • Learn more about the Schwab Foundation at
  • For details of the meeting visit

Vienna, Austria – Five social entrepreneurs have been awarded the title of Social Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2011 World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia in Vienna, Austria, taking place on 8-9 June. The Social Entrepreneur of the Year awards were conferred by Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, following the opening plenary.

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The winners will join a group of leading social entrepreneurs from across the European continent and will be active participants providing insights on sustainability and social innovation in the discussions under the meeting’s theme Expanding the Frontiers of Innovation. A dedicated session “Ecosystems for Social Innovation” will bring together civil society and the public and private sectors to share experiences and explore potential opportunities to strengthen and replicate successful models throughout Europe and Central Asia.

“Social entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the innovations that improve the quality of life of individuals around the world,” explained Mirjam Schoening, Head of the Schwab Foundation. While the primary focus of social entrepreneurs is to make a specific change in one area, such as access to education, affordable housing or unemployment, social entrepreneurs’ approach to delivering a social impact, which uses innovative and effective business models and cross-sector collaborations, has inspired change among governments and in the private sector alike. In effect, social entrepreneurs are not only delivering change to their constituents, they are also transforming the way governments and companies serve their constituents.

The following five winners have been selected as 2011 Social Entrepreneurs in Europe:

Juergen Griesbeck – Streetfootballworld – Germany

Millions of young people around the world are born into a cycle of social injustice with little opportunity to break out. Through the love of football, streetfootballworld brings individuals and organizations together behind a common goal: empowering young people to rise above their circumstances. The streetfootballworld network unites over 80 organizations that use football to tackle social challenges like HIV/AIDS and homelessness. In 2010 alone they helped over 400,000 young people around the world harness their passion for the game to overcome local challenges. streetfootballworld drives an international coalition of private and public sector bodies to strengthen network members through capacity development programmes, opportunities to share expertise, partnerships and advocacy work because stronger network members mean better opportunities for the young people who need them most.

Norbert Kunz – iq consult – Germany

Iq consult seeks to lower unemployment, especially in the eastern parts of Germany, by training, mentoring and funding unemployed and disadvantaged people who are looking to become self-employed. iq consult started operations in 1994 by modularizing job training for long-term unemployed and young people lacking training. This service prepared 150 people for their qualified job diplomas. In 1998, the company started its most successful programme: preparing unemployed young people for self-employment. To date, over 10,000 people have been consulted, trained and mentored, leading to the creation of 1,500 new companies, with over 1.5 generated jobs per newly founded company. More than 70% of the companies survived their first three years, which is well above the average for newly created companies in Germany.

Laurent Laïk – Groupe La Varappe – France

Groupe La Varappe creates jobs in the south of France for people who have been excluded from society. Groupe La Varappe is composed of two main organizations. One is focused on finding temporary employment for people with minimal qualifications. The other organization focuses on three environmental areas: construction and gardening, waste and renewable energies. It is also developing an environmental “self-service” that offers a number of tailored services for companies and individuals such as painting, plumbing, gardening and installation of renewable energy systems. Today, 85% of Groupe La Varappe’s income comes from the sales of its services. More than 65% of the employees who left La Varappe found a steady job in another company. Since 2010, Groupe La Varappe has created a think tank in charge of mapping out projects for the future development of the group, but also new social programmes at the national level.

Sue Riddlestone and Pooran Desai – BioRegional – United Kingdom

BioRegional Development Group invents and delivers real-life sustainable communities and businesses. This includes the multi-award-winning BedZED eco-village in London where BioRegional have their main base and seven companies including green property developer BioRegional Quintain, kerbside recycling for SMEs, clean tech for the paper industry and local charcoal supplies to national retailers. BioRegional developed the “one planet living” sustainability design and delivery framework out of their practical experience which is now being used by manufacturers, retailers, local authorities and events such as the London 2012 Olympics and in fifty countries around the world. BioRegional have sister organizations or representative offices in North America, China, Greece, Mexico and South Africa.

About the Schwab Foundation

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was co-founded by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and his wife, Hilde. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has been identifying the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in over 50 countries around the globe. Social entrepreneurs implement innovative and pragmatic solutions to social problems by tackling the root causes and creating social transformation. Selected social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation network participate in World Economic Forum events, thus providing unique opportunities for them to connect with business, political and media leaders.



Notes to Editors

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests (



The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (