Norbert Kunz

Ashoka Fellow
Berlin, Germany
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Norbert Kunz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
In areas of Germany that are structurally weak and wage-employment is hardly available, people are often forced to relocate, which can be detrimental to communities. To combat this growing trend, Norbert is encouraging self-employment and developing the necessary infrastructure to create new opportunities among unemployed youth.
As an alternative to inefficient government employment training and welfare programs, Norbert has created a tailor-made, low threshold start-up support system, which extensively backs founders of new businesses through a collaborative network. By bringing together relevant stakeholders, including employment agencies, lawyers, banks, politicians, and business entrepreneurs, he is developing procedures and creating the tools necessary to help new small businesses succeed. These partnerships serve to strengthen young entrepreneurs as agents of change in their personal lives while also promoting regional development.
Realizing that unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial awareness are commonplace in many European countries, Norbert has anticipated the growing need to encourage self-employment, particularly in the East. As a result, the structures and policies he has implemented are all entrepreneur-friendly and cross-cultural—best exemplified by the profession of enterprise consultant—to ensure quality start-up support throughout the European Union (EU). Norbert has expanded his program throughout East Germany, reaching more than 1,000 young entrepreneurs and he hopes to do the same throughout Europe in the future.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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