Social Media

As a network organization, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie aims to educate and support social entrepreneurs and innovators. Established in 2010, the institution is a joint initiative of four universities from Munich, Germany. By coaching startups and helping students and professionals to gain entrepreneurial skills to solve global challenges, the SE Akademie embeds the idea of social entrepreneurship in society. Horyou blog interviewed the team spokeswoman Kristina Notz about the network and the social innovation landscape.

SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between  four German universities
SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between four German universities

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur faces similar challenges and there are many. We observe that some social entrepreneurs have more difficulties to think and talk about profit, since they are impact-driven. At the same time they need more time to figure out their business model, to find funding, and to convince people and supporters. In the social sector, it is a challenge to find and retain talent, even though it seems to be an attractive working environment at first sight. The ability to stay motivated intrinsically is key.

Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals ? Do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Yes, we’re using the SDGs in most of our workshops as a starting point to raise people’s awareness and give impulses towards the field they could become active in as a social entrepreneur. Many of the social enterprises we support tackle one of the challenges addressed by the SDGs.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?  

My vision is that all entrepreneurship is social and we can leave out the word “social” and herewith differentiate. The future is that every entrepreneurial activity respects the triple bottom line and bears in mind people, planet, and profit. And I strongly believe this is possible but requires a certain change in mind-set.

Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects
Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks offer powerful tools to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and bring its idea and examples to a broader audience. Platforms like yours are very valuable to the sector since you showcase best practices and role models and inspire others, and ideally turn information into action.

In our work, Social media are our main tool to reach out to and stay in touch with our participants and alumni. We focus as well on offline networks, make people meet and experience the network face to face. They can learn from each other, be inspired by others and exchange ideas and best practices. The flux of ideas, learnings, dreams, and failures contributes a lot to the venture development and success.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Launched by the United Nations Development Program, Foundation Center, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in 2014, the SDG Philanthropy Platform aims to raise awareness and build connections within the philanthropy sector. Focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the “SDG Funders” have developed partnerships to increase funding and create programs in order to reach the Global Development Agenda. Our Horyou community shares the same values, therefore we are happy to feature their interview in our blog!

Promoting SDGs in Brazil
Promoting SDGs in Brazil

What is the scope of SDG Funders work?

The goals of the SDG Philanthropy Platform (“the Platform”) is twofold: 1) To provide a greater understanding by the philanthropy sector of the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDG”) agenda and the process and 2) To provide a greater understanding by the UN system, governments, private sector and civil society of the role and potential of the philanthropy sector to contribute to sustainable development. After launching the Platform in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Colombia, Indonesia, India, Brazil, and the United States, we have recognized our role in creating partnerships that result in effective programs that help countries achieve the SDGs. The Platform is working to improve the philanthropic sector by providing country-specific information more easily, mapping the ecosystem, and sharing data so that giving is more transparent and less fragmented.

Teamwork in Ghana
Teamwork in Ghana

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges to be a social entrepreneur?

I believe the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur is access – access to funding, networks, resources, mentorship, etc. The SDGs is a classification system that is understood globally and is increasingly being used by all stakeholders. When social entrepreneurs frame their work using this taxonomy, it is an opportunity to leverage more resources. Through the open-source information we provide on our website, social entrepreneurs are able to better understand the ecosystem in which they operate and learn who are the top funders and recipients related to a specific SDG and country.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?

In order to achieve the SDGs and their respective targets by 2030, neither the government nor philanthropy can do it alone. We will need the support of innovative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and corporations to all work together to achieve the SDGs. In this, social entrepreneurs will continue to be valuable in scaling solutions and deepening their impact.

Event in Indonesia
Event in Indonesia

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Collaboration. Around the world, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations are creating solutions to tackle issues. By participating in social networks, stakeholders can learn from each other, share their approaches, and discuss how to create meaningful impact. Collaborative networks reduce duplicative efforts and help better utilize resources, both monetary and non-monetary. The Platform is a vehicle for catalyzing multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration to advance SDGs through building awareness and connections between those working in the philanthropy sector and beyond. The Platform has adopted a systemic approach to funding and policy work, shifting from fragmented individual projects to long-term collaborative efforts in line with national development priorities and the SDGs.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

As the social entrepreneurship landscape gets more promising, it also becomes more challenging and complex – there are many different types of ventures and business models to develop, while many youngsters crave for help and guidance through this process. The Social Venturer Anika Horn has been working for years supporting young social entrepreneurs, through advisory, acceleration programs and community building. Anika gave this interview to our blog about the biggest challenges and trends for social entrepreneurship.

Anika Horn and a team of social entrepreneurs
Anika Horn and a team of social entrepreneurs

What is the scope of your work?

I work with purpose-driven entrepreneurs from inception to established businesses through one-on-one advisory, programming and community building. I spend a lot of time supporting mission-driven entrepreneurs in building up their companies, and curating the community around certified B Corps, social entrepreneurs and socially responsible companies.

What are the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs?

At first sight, the challenges that social entrepreneurs face are not that different from the ones that “regular” entrepreneurs face: Defining your niche, validating the market, building a financially sustainable business model, pricing, finding investment, marketing on a startup budget, building the model to scale. It’s the commitment to a double or even triple-bottom line that adds nuance to each of these challenges. Pricing is not just a question of willingness but ability to pay, any cost structure is likely to reflect not only financial expenses but the social or environmental impacts.

A second challenge I foresee for social entrepreneurs is standing out from the noise. Unfortunately, I see a lot of self-declared social entrepreneurs who might have a good story but lack substance in terms of real business stamina, actual outputs and success metrics. These so called social entrepreneurs muddy the waters of what real social entrepreneurship can do and achieve, and make it harder for those who are serious about creating lasting change through business to be taken seriously.

Anika assesses and helps to build social enterprises and communities
Anika assesses and helps to build social enterprises and communities

Can you share some social enterprise success stories you have assessed?

One challenge in the world of social entrepreneurship is how success is defined. Is it creating market access for a marginalized community? Is it lifting three individuals out of poverty, or three thousand? In that sense, defining success becomes a challenge in and of itself. Two entrepreneurs I have been impressed with over the last year are Rupa Singh of Love this RVA, and Jeff Beck and Adam Dreyfus of Answers Now.

Love This RVA is a platform for socially responsible shopping and conscious consumerism. Rupa started out with a co-founder with whom she ended up parting ways, is now running the online and airstream shop by herself, has growing number of speaking engagements, and is figuring out her financial model. She might never scale nationally, but she is successful in making a deep impact in the mindsets of the community she lives and operates in.

Jeff and Adam are developing a mobile app to support parents of children with autism. As first-time founders, I met them when they had little more than the idea. It is unimaginable for an outsider how much time the backend tech development takes, how many sprints and delays and iterations they have gone through. Adam and Jeff are successful because they are designing their service through constant conversations with their target customers. I celebrate their learning process in the lean startup sense over any potential revenue they currently generate and I see great potential in their ability to scale and expand the application to other underserved communities.

Anika Horn
Anika Horn

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?

I personally hope that we come to understand that social entrepreneurship is just that: entrepreneurship that leverages hard-to-crack opportunities in the market. With all the Ubers, Instagrams and nutrition bars in the world, real opportunities for disruption lie in areas of social and environmental injustice: lack of equal access to education and healthcare, large-scale upcycling of ocean plastic waste, reintegration of ex-convicts – these are the kinds of untapped opportunities that will impact millions of lives and therefore have a promising future. But they are nuts to crack.

Horyou is the social network for social good. How important are social networks for social entrepreneurs?

Launching and running a social enterprise can be a very isolating, frustrating, lonesome experience. Not every social entrepreneur qualifies as a Schwab or Ashoka Fellow. Social networks can provide accountability, connectedness and as trivial as it may sound: inspiration. Sometimes knowing that others are just as crazy trying to change the world around them is what it takes to get back on the horse. Besides, entrepreneurs have so much to learn from each other; why not use social networks to steepen that learning curve by creating a space for meaningful conversations and knowledge exchange?

What is your main lesson from working with social entrepreneurs?

Don’t be a heropreneur. I have met too many self-acclaimed social entrepreneurs who want to save the world in some way and would figure out what issue they were passionate about along the way. I understand that we as Millennials look for purpose in our careers but the answer isn’t always to become a social entrepreneur. In fact, most social entrepreneurs who are doing great work don’t refer themselves as such, and certainly didn’t start out by wanting to become one. While I commend everyone who knows they don’t want to work for the man but go change the world, there are a million and one ways – or at least five – to make a meaningful contribution that do not involve “become a social entrepreneur”.

I believe that real social entrepreneurs are in a position to redefine the impact of entrepreneurship by creating meaningful systemic change. Let’s not call everyone with good intentions a social entrepreneur and focus our resources on the founders who have the right intentions, the potential, and the tenacity to change the world.

Horyou is a supporter of social entrepreneurship and social ventures around the world

Horyou team was recently invited to watch Freenet, a documentary about the lack of Internet access in many parts of the world and its consequences for democracy, competitiveness and social rights. After the screening, the opinions within the team on the issue of free Internet were so divided that they could not be decided between, which caused us to collectively interview the director of Freenet, Pedro Ekman, whose answers, candid as they were, are challenging meat for thought!

Freenet exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil
Freenet exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil

1. Why did you decide to make a movie about free Internet?

The film is a project of four civil society organizations – Intervozes, Idec, IRS-Rio and Instituto Nupef – working on the defence of civil rights on the Internet. These organizations saw the necessity of producing relevant content that aims to explain to a non expert audience the main recent issues that are under discussion regarding the threats to free Internet and to human rights.

2. The documentary is about how the access to Internet can address inequality and bring competitiveness to people, communities and regions. What has prevented universal access to internet so far?

The market. The commercial interests of corporations that control the access infrastructure is incompatible with the public interest in the universalization of a key service regardless of economic condition. In the places where it came to be considered an essential service to exercise citizenship under secured access, the Internet ceased to be a luxury item to become a social development tool.

3. By controlling Internet access, do governments and corporations control our minds?

By massively monitoring the society and having the possibility to analyze the behavior of people on the network, governments have the ability to draw a true map of our minds. This creates a very bad precedent for the democratic process as we know it, as it may punish dissidents and anticipate political movements. The storage and analysis of all searches that we do on the Internet reveal thoughts that we dare to share with someone else. If governments can analyze that, they may know how we usually think.

4. Does access to the Internet free people?

The Internet can provide access to culture, information and social rights that have been historically denied to populations around the world. It can transform an audience of spectators and consumers into a group that produces and disseminates content. The Internet can make people feel as part of something and not mere spectators by connecting them with others; it can give visibility to groups that were always invisible to the eyes of an extremely concentrated and partial society.

One of the scenes: at the amazon river to show small ISPs connecting isolated communities
One of the scenes: at the amazon river to show small ISPs connecting isolated communities

5. The subject of the democratisation of the Internet is a very interesting but also controversial issue. Have you considered the dark side of the Internet while researching for the movie? What have you found? 

Yes, the same tool capable of amplifying the freedom of expression is also able to put the whole society on oppressive surveillance. The Internet will not necessarily create a more democratic society; we run the risk of having just the opposite. The promise that we can all freely communicate has become a great illusion, either controlled by algorithms that select who gets more visibility and who stays in the shade, or surveillance systems to shy away freedom of expression and advance towards a control society.

6. What is your opinion about the argument that the propagation of the Internet might be the new colonization?

The Internet is a tool that is being fought over by various sectors of society and reflects the correlation of forces in it. No doubt the technological frontier has been increasingly key to the advancement of world powers. The United States and China compete for every centimeter of router market, because they want the information to flow within a technology that they can control. To build technological systems that no one is able to control and that gives maximum transparency to the functioning of the state with total privacy for citizens is the great challenge we are facing today. It is a long and complex battle.

7. A few disturbing scenes in the documentary show slums in Brazil that lack access to some basic needs but have a very informal Internet service. Why should the Internet be a priority for people who live in remote areas where the basic living necessities are still problematic?

Scene of the film showing difference of internet speed between two neighbourhoods
Scene of the film showing difference of internet speed between two neighbourhoods

The idea that the Internet is something that should come after the basic rights is natural only for the middle class and the rich, because they already have met their basic rights and understand the Internet as something nonessential, used to entertainment or to facilitate the work. The poorer populations quickly realized that the Internet is not a luxury item that should come after sanitation. The Internet is a gateway to other rights, a tool that can generate organization and mobilization for the conquest of rights and therefore the poorer populations do not stay idly waiting for their rights be met in a priority queue; it will get the tools they need to transform their reality.

8. Recently, India refused Zuckerberg’s offer of a free Internet infrastructure for fear of a hidden scam. Do you think there is a big corporation movement which supports free Internet in order to get more users/consumers/data?

The Facebook group is not really concerned with providing access to an unlimited network with its huge variety of applications; they are interested in reaching consumers they failed to reach by providing them preferably exclusively with their applications. This serves the interests of corporate shareholders but creates fences and walls around them. We cannot let one or a few corporations decide about what we can or cannot access; we can’t create an unlimited Internet for the elite and a curtailed Internet for the poor. The Internet has to be a great free and unlimited network.

9. Can the Internet really ‘connect’ people around the world? If you go through its content there are often more negative than positive communication. Will it therefore be beneficial to expose to people who live in a relatively closed and traditional environment to such a connection?

I think the Internet can create connections that were impossible before, give visibility to things that were not visible before and amplify voices that could not be heard. And this movement is for good and for evil. The same way the global community can come together to help refugees or victims of natural disasters, so could hatred find an impulse. The Internet can help educate, but it will never replace an in-person educational process; likewise, social networking friends are not as interesting as friends who meet each other. The important thing is to understand that the Internet will not create or finish problems by itself, it is a tool that amplifies and accelerates a range of social relations which build the society we have and will have. The rules governing the way we connect are critical to our future social design. These rules are in contention at the moment all around the world. We must decide what we want to do with this tool and in which society we want to be.

Freenet was launched last month in Brazil and is distributed through a collaborative model. For a free access to the documentary, contact the producers.

Questions by Cintia Pino, Emmanuel Doffou, Joanna Kozik, Vivian Soares and Yue Wang.


Version Française ici

Horyou is launching the website, a website dedicated to gathering testimonials from global citizens sharing their views on why it’s great to do good. The campaign supports the Social Good work promoted by the Horyou platform which has over one thousand non-profit organizations on the network sharing positivity everyday. The website presents 64 videos where citizens of the world in various cities answer the question: Why is it great to do good? The aim of the campaign is to inspire citizens of the world to support and spread positive actions. To encourage participation, a game has been established so that once the campaign has a global reach, a winner will be chosen to share $3000 for a personal social good project or action and a non-profit organisation or cause from the Horyou platform. Watch the promo video here !


Great Doing Good is a campaign to spread positivity and good actions. The idea is that there is a lot of different ways to make a positive impact in this world and everyone can do this through simple actions. The campaign supports the Social Good work promoted on the Horyou platform, where NGOs and members connect on a daily basis to share good news. The campaign takes this positivity beyond the platform and to the streets of different cities of the world by interviewing their citizens on the meaning of doing good. Ultimately, the game prize will serve to support the winner’s personal social good project(s) or action and an NGO of his/her choice so that concrete good actions can come from it.

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Anyone aged 18 and up can play. By visiting the website participants watch and Light their favorite videos. At any given moment there is a “winning video” amongst them. When the participant Lights the winning video, he/she automatically enters the draw to win $3,000. When the counter on the top left of the screen reaches 1 million Lights, a winner will be chosen from the draw and wins the $3,000. From the $3,000; 1,500 for a personal social good action and 1,500 dollars to donate to an NGO of their choice on the Horyou platform. Horyou platform members and organizations participate with their profiles and their existing Lights. If you are not yet a member of Horyou, you can participate using the five Horyou Lights available on the website. To obtain more Lights and be eligible for the global draw you will have to register to the Horyou Platform.

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Horyou is organizing a social media challenge in support of this campaign. The #GreatDoingGood challenge involves people sharing a good action on social media and challenging their friends to do the same. We invite everyone to participate through the Horyou App, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and show why it’s great to do good. Simply take a photo/video of a good action you witness or do, share it via the HoryouApp, Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook, challenge/tag two friends to have them post their own good actions and have them tag their friends to keep the challenge going. Finally, always include in your post #GreatDoingGood and the website

Example - good action (1)


    English version here

    Horyou lance le site web, un site rassemblant des témoignages de citoyens du monde entier sur l’importance d’agir pour le bien. La campagne soutient les actions solidaires promues sur la plateforme Horyou, sur laquelle se trouvent plus de mille organisations à but non lucratif qui partagent leurs actions positives. Le site propose 64 vidéos de citoyens du monde venant de nombreuses villes et répondant à la question: Pourquoi agir pour le bien? Le but de la campagne est d’inspirer les citoyens du monde entier à soutenir et partager des actions positives. Pour les encourager à participer, un jeu a été mis en place. Une fois que cette campagne atteindra une portée mondiale, un gagnant sera alors désigné et remportera la somme symbolique de $3’000 à partager entre un projet ou action solidaire personnel(le) et une organisation ou cause à but non lucratif qui se trouve sur la plateforme Horyou. Regardez la vidéo de promo ici !


    Great Doing Good est une campagne promouvant les actions positives et solidaires. A travers le monde, il y a de nombreuses manières de créer un impact positif et toute personne peut y parvenir grâce à de simples actions. La campagne soutient les actions solidaires promues par la plateforme Horyou sur laquelle les organisations à but non-lucratif et les membres se connectent pour partager de bonnes actions. La campagne va au-delà de ces actions sur la plateforme en s’étendant jusque dans les rues de nombreuses villes du monde en interrogeant ces citoyens sur l’importance d’agir pour le Bien. Le prix de $3’000 servira de moyen de financement pour un projet ou une action personelle pour le gagnant ainsi que d’un soutien financier pour une organisation que celui-ci choisira sur la plateforme.



    Toute personne ayant 18 ans ou plus peut participer au concours. Il lui suffit d’aller sur le site Great Doing Good pour regarder et lighter ses vidéos favorites parmi celles qui montrent ce que cela apporte de faire le bien. Une des vidéos est la “vidéo gagnante” du moment, sélectionnée par un ordinateur à intervalles aléatoires. Si l’une de vos vidéos Lightées correspond à la sélection de l’ordinateur de la “vidéo gagnante” du moment, vous êtes éligible pour gagner le prix GDG. Lorsque le site web atteint les 1’000’000 lights, un gagnant(e) sera tiré(e) au sort et gagnera la somme de $3’000 : $1’500 pour une action solidaire personnelle et $1’500 pour l’organisation à but non lucratif de son choix sur la plateforme Horyou. Les membres et les organisations Horyou participent avec leurs profils et leur nombre de Lights. Si vous n’êtes pas encore un membre Horyou, vous pouvez participer en utilisant les 5 Lights Horyou disponibles sur le site. Pour obtenir plus de Lights et être éligible pour le tirage au sort final, vous devrez cependant vous inscrire sur la plateforme Horyou.



    Horyou organise un challenge sur les réseaux sociaux en parallèle avec la campagne #GreatDoingGood. Le challenge Great Doing Good consiste à partager une action positive sur les réseaux sociaux et défier deux ami(e)s qui devront le réaliser à leur tour. Nous invitons tout le monde à participer à ce challenge à travers les applications Horyou, Twitter, Instagram ou Facebook et de démontrer l’importance d’agir pour le bien. Il vous suffit simplement de prendre une photo ou une vidéo d’une bonne action dont vous êtes témoin ou que vous avez réalisé, partager la photo sur les applications Horyou, Facebook, Twitter et/ ou Instagram sous forme de vidéo ou photo. Partagez-la sur ces applications défiez deux de vos amis en les taguant. Ils devront alors eux aussi poster leurs actions positives pour continuer le challenge. Il faut toujours inclure #GreatDoingGood ainsi que le site dans vos publications.

    Example - good action (1)

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