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Ana Janošev of Social Impact Award (SIA) shares insights on how young people can overcome barriers in entrepreneurship

by Mirabelle Morah / July 2023

SEWF23 (11-12 October) is around the corner and today, we’re putting a spotlight on one of our 2023 speakers, Ana Janošev. Ana is one of the Managing Directors of  Social Impact Award (SIA), Austria and in this interview, she shares her knowledge and experience about the barriers young social entrepreneurs face, how SIA is addressing these issues and her experience being a Managing Director.

What is the best piece of advice you have received working within the social enterprise sector? 

The first piece of advice is to be true to yourself and to your own values. This has helped a lot in my own decision-making and in my understanding of what I and my team should focus on. The second one is that, in the end, it’s all about the people. It’s about the people you serve, the people you work with and realising that none of the work we do is possible without a group of committed individuals. We cannot do this alone and I believe it is of utmost importance to surround yourself with people you align with and to nurture the people around you.

Ana Janošev - IMG_8325

What are some of the social issues Social Impact Award has identified in youth entrepreneurship and how are you responding to or solving these?

We have identified several issues that young social entrepreneurs encounter. For example, there’s low awareness among young people about alternative business models as well as how to start their careers in social entrepreneurship. We’ve also learned that young people often don’t have the opportunity to develop skills and gain the knowledge needed to become social entrepreneurs. They may also not have access to business networks and financial resources to start their entrepreneurial journey. At Social Impact Award we aim to address all of these in several ways. We spread awareness about social entrepreneurship in 18 countries where we operate. We also provide young people with the necessary tools, skills and knowledge to start their own social enterprises. They also gain access to new networks of business experts, as well as peers, that can help them on the way. Finally, we provide a financial award for the most promising social venture ideas. 

Also read:  June opportunities for social entrepreneurs

When building a new social business and making decisions, what important questions should young people always have in mind?

At SIA, we say they should always keep in mind the problem they’re trying to solve. They need to always have this in their hearts when making decisions and when deciding how to design and run their business. Talking to their target groups, listening and understanding deeply is a time investment that will always return in better solutions for society.

As a Managing Director, what is your favourite part of your role at Social Impact Award?

Ana Janošev
Ana Janošev

My favourite part has to be organising the SIA Summit, our yearly conference where we gather the winners from all the 18 countries we operate in. It’s an opportunity to meet all these passionate, committed and determined young people, get to know them, hear their stories and learn about their entrepreneurial journeys. I always leave endlessly inspired by their work and they motivate me to constantly improve our offers.

Ana will be speaking at this year’s Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF23) from 11-12 October in Amsterdam, the Netherlands as well as online. Join SEWF23 to access world-class content, connect with thousands of other purpose-driven people and be part of the world’s largest social enterprise conversation.

Mirabelle Morah is the community and communications manager at SEWF