Johannes Lindner

Ashoka Fellow
Vienna, Austria
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Johannes Lindner was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Johannes believes that entrepreneurship education is indispensable for empowering students with the tools to be effective citizens. The earlier that young people are given the space to develop their own initiatives, the more they are able to define themselves personally and professionally. During his time as a teacher at an Austrian occupational business school, Johannes noticed the limitations of an education system that discriminates against students of underprivileged social backgrounds. He determined that the school years are critical for students to learn how to be responsible, active citizens and discover their own entrepreneurial skills to realize their ideas. Johannes’ entrepreneurship curriculum applies non-conventional teaching methods inside and outside of the classroom. His model is spreading and becoming institutionalized across Europe.

Johannes’ first step is changing the curriculum through entrepreneurship skills-building classes. All classes are designed to be highly practical, enriched with group-exercises, and include partner activities with other schools across the country. In addition, he has introduced a series of practical school projects to link classroom learning with the outside world.

In a later stage of the curriculum, students are encouraged to set up and run their own initiatives. Many students continue with these initiatives on a full-time basis after graduation. In order to keep the program fresh and exciting for both students and teachers, Johannes’ teaching methods urge students to come up with innovative ideas, green solutions, and new business models in the field of social entrepreneurship. His nationwide “idea” contests and competitions, for example, attract 2,500 students every year, including students from Bulgaria and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Johannes has created links to business mentors and works with companies to coach entrants. In the process, he engages adults in the education of their communities’ young people through teacher training.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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