Meet Impacc’s impatient optimists determined to make the tools of business work for social change.
Co-Founder & CEO
Ex-CEO of Welthungerhilfe and private sector General Manager, champion of innovation
Till ran both for profit companies and a global NGO and has always strived to bridge the gap between the social and the private sector. As global CEO of Welthungerhilfe (a German food- and nutrition-security NGO with 2,500 staff in 40 countries and a budget of 250mio$), he championed innovation and impact. Previously, as Marketing, Sales and Innovation Director for consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, he built innovation methods and processes to rejuvenate P&G’s global salon portfolio.
With his wife Carolin, a journalist, they have three daughters and three chicken. Till is an enthusiastic but sadly untalented surfer and avid urban farmer.
Co-Founder & COO
Development expert with decades of experience in building social businesses in developing countries
Jochen, a human geographer with an Executive MBA from EMST Berlin, is a seasoned development professional who has spent decades working in West and East Africa with local community-based organisations. As country director in West Africa and later Head of Innovation for Welthungerhilfe, he created and led the organisation’s global social business portfolio with award-winning innovations such as the Child Growth Monitor, a new way to detect child malnutrition via digital technology. Together with his Ethiopian wife and their three daughters, he lives in Addis Abbeba and leads our Social Ventures there. In his youth, he wrote a book explaining global politics as a soccer match, so he typically gets his football analogies right (whereas Till usually gets them wrong).
International marketing leader and agile coach
Stephanie studied European Management at ESCP in Paris, Oxford and Berlin and – after a stint in management consulting – held leadership positions in marketing first at Montblanc and the watch and jewellery industry in Germany and England. She is a pro bono consultant to social initiatives and an agile coach. An awe-inspiring sourdough baker, she doesn’t share all her secrets, but she does share her bakery products to the delight of the Hamburg-based team.
Digital venture builder and organiser of hackathons in Africa
Martin was Lead Engineer at Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures, the corporate venture builder. An engineer in media technology, he has co-founded tech companies, and been a front-end programmer and web designer. He organized and ran Hackathons in Africa and is co-founder and coach at OpenTechSchool, the free tech education community. He came across Impacc when we applied for BCG DV’s social venture program and decided to join us before we even got selected. Clearly, he likes taking risks.
Experienced finance and operations director with development background and Insead MBA
Sonja has earned an MBA from Insead after having studied economics in Cologne. She started her career in development cooperation with the UN (Unido) and with GFA, a leading consulting firm in the development sector before becoming a strategy consultant with L.E.K. in London. She has been Finance and Operations Director for various social start-ups and advocacy organisations. At Impacc, she is responsible for Impact Reporting, institutional fundraising and Finance & Accounting. In her spare time, of which we still believe she can’t possibly have any, she provides pastoral care by telephone.
Start-up incubation and acceleration expert in East Africa
Anne has extensive experience in Business and Startup Development. As Head of Operations in Africa for Pangea Accelerator and previously as Head of Incubation for Nailab Accelerator, she has supported more than 300 startups and SMEs across Africa. She has designed and implemented more than 50 Pan African acceleration, incubation and innovation programs. Anne has graduated in Development Studies from Kenyatta University Nairobi with a major in business.
Ex-Lidl CFO with vast tax and legal experience
A trained lawyer and tax consultant, Martin had a distinguished career in business prior to becoming an executive board member at Impacc overseeing all legal and tax aspects as well as the financial management of our ventures. He was CFO at Lidl, the German discounter with 260,000 employees and ca. 75 billion € turnover, from 2014-2019. In addition to his role at Impacc, he sits on multiple supervisory boards such as GfK and Sirplus and is a university lecturer in tax law and trade management. His dressing style is sometimes questionable, while his business acumen is not.
A civil engineer with management background following in her father's social entrepreneurial footsteps
Mirembe is a civil engineer by profession, a passionate worker with experience in working with diverse teams to set and achieve goals. Her management studies have propelled her to leadership positions and she is driven by the need to also bless others. We are continually impressed by her no-nonsense, go-getting attitude.
The Values behind Impacc and its People
- Impatient optimists. Dare to think big.
- Create momentum. Boundless energy; don’t take no for an answer.
- Down to earth and humane. Always at eye-level; always fully immersed, never on the sidelines.
- Doer mentality. “Doing is like talking – but cooler”; make a little, sell a little, learn a lot.
- Curious to learn and change. Be undogmatic, learn and improve; no sloppy thinking.
- Bubbling with ideas. Our favourite question: “Is there a better way?”
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The Impacc Story
Impacc is the story of misfits. One of them had a distinguished career in business. After an international education and an Oxford PhD, he started out in business, interning at McKinsey and climbing the corporate ladder at Procter&Gamble to leading the innovation unit of one of its major business units. But his heart wasn’t in it; it was in trying to take all these great tools of business he had at his disposal and use them to drive social change and make the world a better place. He changed sides and ran a major development aid organisation, only to find out that his focus on results was at odds with the way charities operate.
The other, a human geographer following his passion to live and work in developing countries, worked his way up in development cooperation to become country director for one of Europe’s biggest aid organisations. While his heart was in it, he got increasingly frustrated by the “end-of-project logic” of development cooperation: development aid spends monies in “projects” and the projects end when the money is gone. How much more sustainable could development aid be if it followed a business logic where money isn’t spent once but invested to generate returns over and over again?
And then a third person entered the scene: a research economist, professor and lecturer at the distinguished London School of Economics, founder of a peace research institute, specialising in the impact assessment of development aid. He had worked with many aid organisations but had yet to find one that genuinely put learning from failures and successes at the heart of its DNA.
They knew each other before: working together, going to school together, but they had never thought about going into business together. Then, in the summer of 2019, they got together under an apple tree somewhere between Berlin and Munich in Germany and dreamt up a new kind of development aid: an NGO that would act like a business, a non-profit business that would truly put social change at the core of everything it did; an organisation that would be brutally honest about results, about impact, about the mistakes it makes along the way, and how it would learn from it. This is the story of Impacc. We were three white European males, a fact we can’t change. But we are proud that, within a year, we have gender-balance in our leadership and are close to ethnic balance, as well. We don’t think ours is the only way, or even the best way, to make the world a better place. But it’s an alternative to how things are usually done. We believe that the world is getting better and that there can be a good life for all. But better isn’t good enough, and life isn’t good enough for all. That’s why we founded Impacc. We hope you join our movement.
The Impacc milestones so far:
|2019||September||→ Strategy set out|
|December||→ Company registered|
|2020||February||→ First ventures in pipeline|
|April||→ East Africa hub set up in Addis Ababa|
|May||→ Hamburg office set up|
|July||→ First venture MakaPads funded and first staff hired|
|August||→ Funding secured from Siemens Foundation|
|October||→ BCG DV social venture program won|
|November||→ Funding secured from Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung|
|December||→ Major BMZ funding secured from German government|
|2021||January||→ First staff hired in Hamburg and Kenya|
|February||→ MakaPads Joint Venture registered in Uganda|
|March||→ Noah Stove training centre set up in Ethiopia|
|Outlook||→ Establish crowdfunding platform|
|→ Develop scaling platform|
|→ Onboard new ventures|
|→ Create and test impact model|
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About six times per year, we will update you on our progress and our latest insights on alternative forms of development aid.