Spotlight: Thomas Leppert


What drives you?

To help those people who actually get up from their sofas in order to do something. I am not an entrepreneur. When I can meet someone over coffee to listen to his or her idea, and support them in making it become a reality – that’s when I’m at my best. I always ask myself how I can support the ones who are out there to create change.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

It has expanded a great deal, it has arrived in mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like every German knows what social entrepreneurship is, but it has become a lot more popular, and it has the infrastructure to go with it. These days, if you want to start a social enterprise, it is much easier to find support than it was even ten years ago.

Currently reading

Wanted: Heroes. Project management for honorary posts, by Michael Wurster and Maria Prinzessin von Sachsen-Alternburg


Tom worked as Project Manager in the private sector when in 2004 he came across startsocial. “I was looking for an opportunity to work pro bono and had tried several things but nothing really stuck. At startsocial, I was able to contribute my knowledge and experience as a mentor and coach. I started thinking that the social sector needs exactly that: a consultancy for social projects that do not have the budget for one the large consultancies. Together with my colleague Hilke Posor, we put more thought into this idea and in 2005, we started out as „social startup“ – which is now Heldenrat. I spent the last ten years building up some expertise in the field of social economy and – as part of that – social entrepreneurship; in part through my work for Heldenrat, in part through my dissertation on social entrepreneurship (link).”

Tom now works at Robert Bosch Stiftung as Program Officer with a focus on projects fostering civil society within their department of Education, Society & Culture, and continues to be on the board of Heldenrat.


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