Vollpension- Cafe with an extra feeling!
If you ever craved for cakes that evoke a warm feeling of family and home, Vollpension inter-generation cafes in Vienna are inevitable stop for visit. This social business is a place where "Grannies and Grandpas" are baking and serving the best cakes and recepies in town for their guests. In this way generations of different ages are brought together thus bridging the gap and stepping up the socialization and economic empowerment of elderly people. This brilliant business with a social mission gained juries eyes at the F4SC Business Plan Competition and won an 7000 euros award, provided by UniCredit, main partner of the project. Hannah Lux, one of the co founders of Vollpension says participation in the F4SC workshops on financial structures, pitching training and feedback from the business mentors on their business plan provided a valuable outsider perspective, while the award will be a strong and needed financial boost in the struggling times of Covid crises.
„Vollpension, thorough its cafes and online cooking tutorials creates physical and online spaces for the inclusion of elderly people and creates jobs for senior citizens. It contributes to their economic situations providing them with additional income and chance to socialize. Our intention is to bridge generations and create spaces for inclusions for elderly people. Every project we start or action we take within Vollpension is done with that intention. We consider social and financial goals of our social business equally important“, says Hannah who together with her business partners Julia Krenmayr and Moriz Piffl-Percevic runs this social business. As she explains, the vision and values are shared among the team and stakeholders. „We believe in a better world that works for all, a world that is more just, inclusive and healthy. Founding Vollpension was the only logical option in order to contribute to a better society. Also, founding a business without taking social and ecological aspects into consideration has never been and would never be an option“, points out Hannah.
Starting a social business was not easy, but being a part of the community of social change-makers has been inspirational. „For us it has been very important to be part of a community of social change-makers and therefore the global Impact Hub network, and here in Vienna especially Impact Hub Vienna was a big support“, says Hannah. As she explains the world is ready for social innovations, more even, it is of growing importance that social innovations gain momentum. „Together we turn the world around into a more just, inclusive and healthy place. Our customers have been ready, the ecosystem is also slowly but surely growing into a supportive direction“, concludes Hannah.
Covid crises has hit had everyone, especially social businesses. „ Currently, we are struggling hard, having 2 gastronomy businesses that are at this point closed due to Corona and we are not sure when we will be able to fully operate again“, says Hannah. As she explains, the last year was successful because Vollpension managed quite well thanks to diversification of the business model and creation of the online baking academy. „This business model, additional revenue and crowd funding initiatives have had our business survive so far but the struggle remains as well as, the insecurities whether and when our gastronomy business will continue“, explains Hannah.
Fear of failure always exists, she says, but overcoming it is an underestimated power, because this is a part of growing and scaling process. The entrepreneurs should unify and network in good and bad times. „Collaborate, become part of a network of like minded (social) entrepreneurs, in times of struggle ask for support, you will be surprised how many people and organisations are happy to step up and support you in your mission“, says Hannah and adds that it is crucial to communicate clearly intentions, not only about the "how" of the business but equally and maybe even more important is to communicate „why“ your (social) business is important. " Founding and running a (social) business is a roller coaster ride and you better be ready to face your fears, show courage and go against the stream. Innovation is beautiful but also often painful, because change can be uncomfortable sometimes, “ explains Hannah. What helps are endless coaching sessions and communication between us as founders, with the team, and stakeholders, because it helped us making right decisions for our businesses and growing together overcoming our own limitations“, she concludes.