talentify: Building future

Wiener Neustadt, AustriaVienna, Austria
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

talentify.me is an online platform empowering young people in peer-to-peer learning. Together with companies and partners, basic professional trainings are offered for young people to help them find out about their talents and provide them job opportunities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if individual talents of our children are nurtured by helping them fulfill their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic background
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Education is still inherited, which means that your chances in life are heavily depended on the social and financial background of your parents. Furthermore exists an increasing gap between what skills you need in your life in the 21st century vs. what you learn at schools right now. This includes creativity, social skills, collaboration, etc. Unfortunately children do not get the know-how and tools to face their future and challenges ahead.

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

It is important to educate our children's whole being and give them all the skills they need in life to face future challenges, regardless of their social and financial background. Therefore we provide unique education and career programs (extracurricular workshops, mentoring, etc.) to high-school students in the age of 14 to 18 to maximize their opportunities in life and make them a role model for younger peers in the age of 6 to 13 from less privileged and undereducated communities at the same time. By bringing together these young people and encourage them to help each other giving peer-to-peer tutoring they strengthen their social skills and sense of responsibility and provide an alternative to existing, expensive tutoring offers.


European Youth Award, T-Mobile Sustainability Award, Austrian Children's Rights Price, SozialMarie Nomination
Impact: How does it Work

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

During our pilot we got an e-mail with "emergency" in the subject line. A former teacher of an elementary school student named Mia sent us an e-mail that she can't help her learn for an important math exam, because she is sick. The family from Mia can't afford extracurricular tutoring and she was doing it for free. So I meet Rebecca in one of our talentify academy workshops, she is a very motivated high-school student at the age of 16. She immediately offered to help out and learn with Mia for her math exam. After a couple of sessions Mia got an A in the exam and Rebecca will also help her through the next school year. In the end both students benefit, Mia got great help and Rebecca strengthened her social skills and did something good.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

After a private and public beta phase in three states including Vienna, we launched talentify.me including the iOS App in the whole country in October 2015. We now have around 1.500 students from 130 different schools between the age of 8 to 19 who already processed over 2.000 hours of peer-to-peer tutoring. Furthermore we hosted over 40 extracurricular talentify Academy workshops with young people, where we worked on social skills, empathy, story telling, communication skills, etc. By offering those unique workshops we managed to motivate and empower young people to help their younger peers through capacity building. Our long-term impact will be an increase in social mobility and establishing an alternative to the expensive tutoring market. Which will enable around 30.000 students to access peer-to-peer learning support and saves families over 15 million Euro p.a.

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

We establish a wide network of stakeholders from school system, such as deans, teachers, pupils, student associations, initiatives such as Teach for Austria, as well as increasingly parent representations at schools, to identify students and to mobilize them to take action. talentify.me represents a benefit for all relevant stakeholders: deans and teachers benefit through improved performance in school and class, parents pay less for tutoring, and students gain new opportunities. Above that, new bridges are built between schools and community life.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our revenue models is based on (1) offering consulting services and help companies in employer branding, (2) offering consulting services and workshops together with selected high-school students to advice companies on all aspects of youth, (3) offering headhunting services for internships and job openings and (4) helping companies to further develop and nurture potentials in apprentices by offering a dedicated talentify Academy program.

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

There are tutoring companies who account for 35% of the market and are very, very expensive (over 30 Euro per hours in average). More than half (55%) of all tutoring lessons are currently given by teachers who are earning some extra money outside of school (about 20 Euro per hour in average). 4% are already given by students and the others are family given or new online offers. Households spent 119 Mio. Euro in extracurricular tutoring per year in Austria. There are some grass-root initiatives trying to have an impact on the education system, but they are potential partners, not competitors.

Founding Story

Over ten years ago when I was still attending high-school we founded a so-called "Junior Company" with a very similar objective out of a discussion with our german teacher. It went really well and we gained some great experience out of this project. After successfully running the project one and a half years we graduated and the school was not able to keep the project alive. In the beginning of 2014 I listened to a panel discussion (incl. Ashoka) at the AAIA conference in Vienna about social entrepreneurship. It was the tipping point and reminded me of the great potential this idea has. I quit my job and started a social business focusing on educational opportunities for all children.


Right now we have a core team consisting of 4 people with experience in marketing, public relations, education, software development and leadership. Two of them full-time and two part-time. Additionally we have a team of external supporters: graphic designer, senior developers and an inbound-marketing agency as well as an advisory board consisting of one BCG consultant, a school principal, a financial and PR expert.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

We got an invite from Ashoka Austria

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder & CEO

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

The origin of talentify is more than 10 years back in a project (Junior Company) we startet in high-school. At the university we startet a bottom-up students' magazine with print and online editions. After graduation I gained a lot of experience and knowledge in online marketing, community building, social media strategies and was leading a software development company before founding our social business. This gives me a lot of insights and a great professional network to rely on.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are working together with a great team of external and pro bono supporters. Like graphic designers, software developers and a marketing agency. Furthermore, we invited an advisory board consisting of a BCG consultant, a school principal, a teacher, financial and PR experts. They help us to develop our strategy, give networking opportunities and guide us with their experience. Beside that we also gained support and formed partnerships with big corporations like SAP, Microsoft and a local bank (Bawag P.S.K.) as well as the economic chamber of Austria and several representations of industrial leaders, unions and other NGOs or social businesses like Teach for Austria.