2010 PFIG Recipient Kevin Pujanauski
College of Arts & Sciences
Politics Honors and Global Development Studies Major
2012 Graduation Year
Internsihp: IQ Consult
Notes on the first week
In the short amount of time I've been here so far, I've already seen a large number of the moving parts that make up IQ Consult, the socially-oriented consulting company where I'm interning this summer. “Entwicklung gestalten” (“shaping development”) is the motto of the company, and, since arriving here, I've seen how IQ Consult leverages numerous partnerships, sources of human capital, projects, and initiatives to make a positive impact in Berlin, surrounding Brandenburg, and across Europe.
Among other things, I've gotten to know the IQ Consult projects for disadvantaged entrepreneurs, including those founding out of unemployment in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg region of Berlin, those young unemployed people with few formal qualifications in surrounding Brandenburg, handicapped people in Berlin, and artists in surrounding Brandenburg who seek to make a living from their work. The consulting process of IQ Consult is personal, thorough, and comprehensive-the organization offers everything from guidance through the first steps to consulting after the founding of the business to aid its growth. I've seen personal coaching sessions, seminars, and final business plan presentations of the entrepreneurs.One of the most interesting things about IQ Consult is its focus on supporting networks to foster the development of social entrepreneurs (those who to seek to solve social problems with innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions) and the spread of the best ideas in the field. It has been in this area that I've done most of my work here at IQ Consult. With Ashoka fellow Norbert Kunz at the helm and through leadership in a variety of other Europe-wide initiatives, the organization devotes itself to seeking out and sharing the best ideas, solutions, and approaches.In supporting the development of surveys and tools for development of human capital in the field of social entrepreneurship, I hope to contribute to the expansion of knowledge about and recognition of social entrepreneurship and social business, to participate in the discussion of its strengths and weaknesses, and to deepen my own knowledge of the field. Through participating in and observing coaching sessions, seminars, and personal consultations, I hope to learn more not only about the market considerations of start-ups, including what helps them survive, what helps them grow, and what helps them differentiate themselves, but I also hope to learn more about the client-oriented approach to helping others.
As I reflect halfway through my internship, I’m more and more thankful to have received this grant and to have had the opportunity to intern abroad at such an innovative organization. My workday now unfolds in "impakt berlin" (titled a "space for social innovation"), a co-working space run by iq consult that provides a great setting for a number of start-up companies, seminars, and events related to social entrepreneurship. It’s a workplace that is stimulating and rich in variety.
I have continued my work on a document to help the development of young talent in the field of social entrepreneurship. In a team of 3, we have conducted a questionnaire in 4 languages across numerous European countries to gauge interest and get ideas. Tracking down extremely busy people working in the field of social entrepreneurship across country lines has often been challenging, but the early responses have been fascinating. In addition, I have been assisting in iq consult’s mission to support the spread of best practices in the field of "inclusive entrepreneurship", an effort to extend the relative prosperity in Europe to include marginalized groups.
In the last part of my internship, I hope to analyze the valuable insights from social entrepreneurs and young talents across Europe, augmented by individual research, to get a clearer answer to the question: what skills does someone need to have a strong, positive impact in this world as a social entrepreneur? I hope that my work on this will not only guide my future education but also be of use to the personal development of many students like me.
My experience this summer helped me develop both personally and professionally. In addition to a whirlwind introduction to the world of social entrepreneurship and social business, I made contacts, met role models, and developed skills that will assist me in my future career. Most importantly, I learned first-hand how rewarding such work can be. When at work, even on long days that stretched late into the evening because of various presentations and events we hosted, I was enjoying myself and energized by the mission of the projects I was working on.
The main project I worked on (which is still under development) is extremely exciting, and I hope to see it make it big within the next few years because I so strongly believe in its mission. The main idea is to connect talented, socially-oriented students with careers (and not just volunteer or pro bono work) in the social sector. By providing information, opportunities, and networking, the self-financing business and internet platform we developed this summer hopes to accomplish this without relying on a cent of donations.
I have a few challenges to my fellow students: the first is, when going outside of the country, seek meaningful experiences. While prepackaged programs are often the most convenient, there is a tradeoff as far as contact with locals and authenticity of your experience goes. It is possible to apply directly to organizations and create your own internships, even abroad. My second challenge to my peers is to consider a career, not just volunteer work, in the social sector. You can make a living doing something you love. If your work is intrinsically rewarding and you can make a living, what more do you need? Be courageous and use your convictions, talent, and experience to make a difference.