Strengthening Germany's Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

Andy Goldstein from the LMU Entrepreneurship Center talks about his work to support social entrepreneurship in Germany and how you can accelerate your impact.

von William Gallagher, June 22, 2018
social entrepreneurship germany

Andy Goldstein is the co-founder & Executive Director of the LMU Entrepreneurship Center, a resource center focused on providing education and empowerment to new project creators and aspiring start-ups. He also co-founded Deloitte Digital and the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA) which is providing a free MOOC that anyone is welcome to join now!

Can you tell us about your work co-founding and directing the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Entrepreneurship Center?

I co-founded the LMU EC together with Professor Dietmar Harhoff (Director of the Max Planck Institution For Innovation and Competition) and Rolf Christof Dienst (Founder of the VC Wellington Partners) with the goal to empower tomorrow´s entrepreneurs. When we first started the accelerator, back in 2008 we have been certainly one of the institutions that has been strongest helping the startup movement to really become fruitful in Germany.

What we are doing with the founders, we take them through a 6 month program where we work on all different aspects of their business. We help them to understand how for example they do fundraising, how they should make up their financing in other words. We help them with their sales processes so, that they can understand how they can do real business development. We find that one of the most valued accesses we bring to them is the community which we have around us.

So, today we have now nearly 15,000 thousand people in and around Munich who are part of our entrepreneurship community. Those people include venture capitalists, large corporations and a huge number of startups. Then we also have a small community, which means 15 companies get to know each other very closely.

How does the LMU Entrepreneurship Center work to support new start-ups?

The LMU EC is focused on four core areas. The first one is teaching where we offer hands-on and digital entrepreneurship education in theory and practice for students, post-docs, startups and corporates to more than 1200 people every semester.

The second one is the LMU EC Accelerator, our focus here is on the market launch and financing support for pre-seed and seed, scalable startup teams. So far, we’ve supported more than 230 startups which still play an active role within our community.

This is also our third core area where real startups meet real startup interests to create real opportunities!

It has always been very important to me to strengthen the Munich ecosystem and enable young future leaders with my knowledge, skills and network. And finally – research, where we research entrepreneurial success. What we hear again and again is that this connection between the startups has a huge value for all our participants. What you also can see from our program is that roughly 35% of the companies which come out of our program within 6 months of leaving get financing. That’s an incredible high rate when you think about that a venture capitalist invest in less than 1% of all companies they look at. So, 35% of the companies coming out of the LMU EC are getting financing, you can see that the program has a lot of value for the company.


But the more interesting statistic is, that after 5 years, 80% of the companies are still in business! So, 35% get financing and 80% stay in business, then that means there are 45% who are not getting financing but remain in business. How do they do that?

That is really one of our secret weapons here, we spent a lot of time explaining to the startups how they should do business development. We teach them to look on the world with the eyes of an entrepreneur. I finance my entire business through business development deals and this is one strong point of the EC.

You also co-founded Deloitte Digital, an entity inside Deloitte Germany. That makes you an intrapreneur! Deloitte Digital aids large corporations in developing new online businesses. Can you explain some of the differences in working with startups though LUM vs large companies at Deloitte Digital in developing new streams of business success?

I am most definitely an intrapreneur at Deloitte Digital and our unit which I co-founded called Deloitte Digital Ventures. So, the difference between what we do at the LMU EC is that we work really closely with the startups. We help them to understand their financing needs, how they can get into business development and product development whereas on the Deloitte Digital Venture side we are helping large companies to understand how they can act as a startup as startups are more flexible compared to companies.

However, by using some of the same methodologies that startups us we provide large companies with new insights and encourage them to build their own businesses. This doesn’t preclude in anyway working with startups. Startups can be a very good feeder for corporation because they are not always able to build the companies themselves. This is where a corporation between the LMU EC and corporates works very well.

The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA) is a joint initiative by three major educational institutions in München. Can you explain the primary goals of this partnership and how it works?

Well, we are continuously looking to shape a better world. Still the main questions is: How can we really achieve something or make an impact? We believe that universities need to equip students with the skills of tomorrow combined with an entrepreneurial mindset to attain societal change.

However, the tools to bring about this change are not always on the hands of the right people, so we had to find a solution… In addition, there are many entrepreneurship centers focused on entrepreneurship but not solely on social entrepreneurship. That’s why we, at the four universities and three entrepreneurship center, in Munich founded the SEA. Based on our mission to promote social entrepreneurship through three key activities:

  • State of the art educational programs
  • Building social startups
  • Investing into the Social Innovation ecosystem

Our main goal is to provide students, young professionals and future entrepreneurs with the tools they need to make an impact. We also strive to build a worldwide network of people and organizations that want to contribute to society through entrepreneurship.

So, today -eight years later- we had over 16.000 participants, who took part in our programs, many of whom have founded impact driven start-ups like Social Bee, Rock Your Life! or nearBees.

The Social Entrepreneurship Akademie is offering a free course titled “Enabling Entrepreneurs to Shape a Better World” through the edX platform. Why? And what kinds of useful skills and concepts will prospective participants gain if they decide to enroll?

SEA inspires and enables individuals to work on the problems that really matter such as climate change, inequality, and the digital divide. Through this Massive Open Online Course, we want to empower and enable learners to jump out of their comfort zone and take action. They can use it as the starting point of their own journey that will have a positive impact on society. You can see it as a way to spread our expertise and give access to thousands of learners that are looking for the means and orientation to take action and solve societal problems.

We want to help them to find the entrepreneur within themselves. By the end of the course, they will have attained solid insights to shape a better world, it is not a distant utopia, but can and must start right now!


To find out more about the free MOOC being offered by Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, check out this aritcle or enroll today on the edX platform.