Teach For Austria

Teach For Austria: No child’s future should be determined by its socio-economic background.

Vienna and Salzburg, AustriaVienna and Salzburg
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Teach For Austria’s mission is to ensure that every child has access to excellent education, regardless of their socio-economic background. Passionate graduates are recruited and trained to become inspirational teachers for 2 years in low-income schools. They raise the achievement and aspiration of their pupils and afterwards continue to be champions for TFAs mission from leadership positions within government, industry or own social enterprises.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There are hardly any other countries in the developed world where the link between the level of education a person achieves and their socio-economic background is as strong as in Austria. A key problem is that children going to low-income schools are rarely in an environment which challenges them to excel and expectations of what they are capable off are frequently low. These children internalise this mind-set and they lose faith in their own strengths. Furthermore within their surroundings they are exposed to a very narrow range of options which more often than not are limited to low-skill, low-paying jobs. Since they are not exposed to a broad range of different life-paths they often are unaware of what options are available to them.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

TFA addresses educational inequity by recruiting and training highly motivated graduates and young professionals to be teachers (Fellows) for at least 2 years in urban low-income schools, where they work directly with children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Fellows address the way the problem manifests itself in schools and put these children on a different path: They are role models that inspire their students to achieve more and are able to spark an interest for education. The Fellows equip their pupils with abilities and skills that strengthen their resilience. In the long term they develop a deep understanding of the root causes of educational inequity and as Alumni work from all fields to address this.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The primary way in which Fellows make a difference is transformational teaching: showing children on a daily basis how much they can achieve, opening perspectives and helping them reach high performance. The student Mona is one of nine children her father has to support with his salary. She has a chronic disease and often gets sick. Monas mother tongue is not German and she struggles in school. But she wants to learn, works hard and doesn’t give up despite her unfavourable position. Fellow Olivia recognised these skills and strongly supported her to continue. She helped Mona to believe in herself. Mona is now in a high school and will be the first of her family with A-grades. She still struggles, but she now says: "I will not give up!”

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Growth number of Fellows: 2012: 23 Fellows, 2013: 32 Fellows, 2014 recruiting now up to 50 new Fellows (will start teaching in September). Steady increase till 2020, when 100 new Fellows shall be recruited each year. Geographical expansion to all nine Austrian federal states, with regional offices where necessary. TFA is already in negotiating with further regions. Expansion in further target groups: now: Secondary Schools. Future: Primary Schools and in the long run in Kindergarten. After their 2 years as Fellows they become Alumni. The Alumni Program is an effective community of those who act as innovators and decision makers within the education system. Whether in civil society, business and politics: TFA-Alumni will act as change-makers, assume responsibility for education in all levels of society and thus pave the way for change. TFA plans to have approx. 400 Alumni by 2020.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Other initiatives usually operate outside the established education system and thus are complementary to it. TFA operates within the public education system to reach pupils in their schools, not in their free time. "Transformational Teaching" is the key: TFA-Fellows have direct impact on pupils and help strengthening existing efforts within low-income schools to increase educational opportunities of the target group. During their two years in schools, they receive a leadership-training for their time as teachers and especially thereafter as Alumni. It makes them fit for all sectors in the society and economy: In the long run, they will become leaders in their field and will continue to support TFA in closing the achievement gap. The model thus increases the permeability between the school-sector and the outside world.


Walter Embergers (Founder and CEO of TFA) main tasks: upholding of core organisational values, management of staff, consolidation of TFA in society: - Meetings with representatives of public authorities, ministers, officials, so that TFA is perceived as a leading educational initiative. - Looking for new partners to secure financing Advisory Board of TFA, decide together on the strategic development of TFA: Rainer Reich (BCG), Walter Emberger, 5 other people from Gold Partner companies, Walter Gusterer from the Board of Education The Management of TFA has a strategic planning process to set clear organisational priorities and functional area goals, regular team events to reflect on progress. 55 Fellows: They are selected by Recruiting & Selection team (3 persons) in a multi-step process. The Fellows are trained and supported by the Training & Support Team (4 persons).
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
The Boston Consulting Group
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)

not for profit

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Organization Name

The Boston Consulting Group

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Basic Info
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Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, XX, Vienna and Salzburg

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact
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What awards or honors has the project received?

Values Network Award 2014, WU Alumni Entrepreneur 2013-special category social entrepreneurship, Simacek Diversity Prize 2013,

Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1: The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
-Type of partners: business
-Short description sentence [Max 25 words/partner]
BCG is an international consulting firm that specializes in developing and executing business strategies.
-Key motivation to participate in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]
Teach For Austria is not simply interested in examining a problem but to bring about systemic change. The innovative strategy, paired with the clear need, and the strong drive of Teach For Austria’s founder are all important motivators.
-Key contributions in the co-creation project [Max 35 words/partner]
support within their core competencies
feasibility study conducted by the BCGs global expert in social impact
survey among high potential recruits and young consultants (about how they like TFA’s concept, the name, CI, Marketing,…)
provided office space pro bono for the first two years of TFA’s existence
contacts and networking

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Currently, 55 Fellows are working on 34 low-income schools in Vienna and Salzburg, reaching in total over 5,500 students.
Up from 2020, 100 new Fellows shall be recruited each year - thus reaching over 20,000 students per year.
On average 83% of children in the Fellow-schools have migration background.
The approach of TFA makes a real difference: to begin with for every pupil who is supported to pursue a different life path. At a large scale these singular decisions make a big difference for Austria: Rising school performance, declining dropout rates; higher skills, lower unemployment rates, which results in a longer term benefits for the competitiveness of Austria. Also, the image of the teaching profession will be improved.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]

Individuals, Foundations, Businesses, Regional government, National government.

Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Fellows draw their salary thanks based on a special contract from the Board of Education.
TFA assumes recruiting, training and professional support of the Fellows and is funded mainly by corporate partners for this purpose. These partnerships are long-term and sustainable: there is a strong bond with these partners. Gold partners take part in strategic decisions within TFAs board. TFA forms the core of the CSR activities of corporate partners: employee engagement activities cooperatively planned, creating a strong bond on all levels. To ensure growth and to diversify the income-portfolia, TFA is consistently looking for additional partners and pursues its goal of diversification of the funding base.
This is in part already achieved: not counting the Fellows’ salaries, TFA is funded through government grants, corporate partners and foundations.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

The founder of TFA, Walter Emberger is a social climber himself: within his family he is the only person with A-levels and a university degree. During his job at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg he has seen how the gap due to socio-economic background of students was widening each year. He therefore wanted to change something, where the gap starts to open: in urban low-income schools.
While researching for innovations in the education sector Walter read an Economist-article about "Teach First". He immediately saw the necessity to introduce this model in Austria. TFA was founded as a Non-Profit in 2011 after his intensive preparatory work (business plan, seeking financing, etc.), a feasibility study by the BCG and thanks to support from the network "Teach For All". Only a year later, in 2012, the first Fellows were recruited and started teaching.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

The main barriers were in the heads of many people who endlessly said “this is not possible in Austria.” Fortunately, Walter Emberger found good partners who were sure: “this is possible” within the BCG: Without the support of BCG and particularly the two senior partners who could were enthused and engaged right from the start, TFA would not have been possible: Younger career-oriented consultants would not have been that enthusiastic for a social project. The senior consultants were more able to reflect on their careers and what is important for developing strong leadership and thus saw the potential of this model, which younger staff in the midst of their career path were less able to recognise.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

With BCG, and all other Gold-partners, the relationship is mainly based on the strong trust between the people involved. As part of the Teach For Austria‘s Advisory Board they work - together with other board members on the future of TFA. This is how a productive working relationship has emerged.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

The TFA network is transformative for society and the educational system of Austria:
Thanks to the cooperation with Teach For Austria and the school boards teachers of all different spheres of the society come into schools. This leads to recognition of the work of teachers and also of the schools.
Many consultants at BCG have seen through the cooperation with TFA that social enterprises can be just as professional and attract the same high potentials as a top brand such as BCG can. They thus understand that the cooperation with TFA is worth it.

How did you find out about this competition?

through ashoka