Summary: halloSophia is developing a platform to bundle the know-how of all economic consulting professions and make it available for crisis-stricken entrepreneurs in a simple, remote and event-related way. The aim is to empower entrepreneurs with the knowledge of many and close the "service-gap" for Entrepreneurs, who, in contrary to Corporates, don't get the full range of Expertise & Solutions they'd need today. In times of Crisis closing this gap is more important than ever. The EU Commission and national ministries are supporting the development and the first large consulting firms are on board. EUvsVirus is a programme for the systematic search for solutions to the COVID crisis, which arose from an EUvsVirus hackathon in April, in which 120 crisis solutions were identified.
From Idea to Solution
#EuvsVirus is the most efficient, mission-driven initiative ever created to fight against an unexpected world- changing challenge: coronavirus. It is a new way of working between public institutions (European Commission and 27 member states), purpose-driven innovations, entrepreneurs, and the civil society actors based on the principles of solidarity, decentralised collaboration and full empowerment.
#Euvsvirus has triggered the emergence of a new pan-European community of purpose-driven innovators, entrepreneurs, and civil society members. This new #EUvsVirus community is the foundation of a future European innovation ecosystem that is ready to solve societal problems by using the power of innovation and technology.
Furthermore, #EuvsVirus kick-started a truly European sentiment based on the values of EU solidarity, creativity, and hard work. #EUvsVirus has demonstrated that it is possible to do EU policy making outside the traditional policy making fora. It has allowed all Europeans to contribute to solutions to the worst tragedy of our generation. It did not matter if they were living in rural areas, remote islands, or in under- developed regions. It also broke down barriers as there were more than 40 nationalities involved in this global endeavor.
This is the beginning of a bright journey where the new #EUvsVirus community will pave the way to finding and supporting innovative solutions to the problems of our time. The European Commission will be fully involved in this community through the newly created European Innovation Council COVID platform. (more: https://www.euvsvirus.org/finalreport.pdf)
halloSophia.com – Austrian Solution found Partners world-wide
The team of halloSophia.com started with four members: Markus Waghubinger (Linz), Matthias Reichl (Linz), Johannes Mayer (Moedling, Vienna), and Peter Feilmayr (Linz) as part of the Hackathon challenge in April. After the nomination of one of the winning solutions, the Hackathon-mode continued and further team members joined. Today, the team has 11 members in Austria and 12 international ambassadors. The solution was inspired by the spirit within the startup scene to help each other get more successful with useful tips. At the EUvsVirus Matchathon, taking place virtually at end of May to connect the projects with partners to bring the ideas to reality, halloSophia could make around 60 new partnerships within Austria, with a strong startup community in Linz and Vienna, Europe and the World. Ambassadors for Micro Advisory through halloSophia were even found in Bangladesh, Mexico, and Kenia. With the 60 new partnerships, not only a record at the EUvsVirus was set but also the idea of the solution grew to a world-wide scope. With this personal growth, the team of halloSophia.com made it to the four project testimonials of the final EUvsVirus report.
Hallo Sophia comes from “Hallo, Sophisticated Advisor” and should describe the fast lane to sophisticated advice in Micro Advisory sessions. The term Micro Advisory has never been used before and means for halloSophia: empowering entrepreneurs with expertise in short video sessions with experts in the field they have a problem with. The Micro Advisory call just gives the toolset to know where to start and what to do. It is very important in times of a crisis not to lose the perspective for new potentials and problem-solving. Markus Waghubinger, CEO of halloSophia (in the course of formation): “Even the best Entrepreneurs face uncertainties in times of crisis, which is why we want to give them the expertise only big corporates usually have access to. Just one click away.”
Explanation Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT5yPNP-z00
The Inspiration for Micro Advisory came from Micro Loans that give people the chance to help fight poverty by being entrepreneurs. Micro Advisory gives entrepreneurs the toolset for being successful with their businesses - even in times of crisis.
The platform is already open for onboarding of experts of all fields. Pre-registered are bank employees, alternative financiers, business continuity experts, public grants employees, tax advisors, and management consultants. PwC Luxembourg, LeitnerLeitner tax audit advisory, Sparkasse Oberösterreich, and Austrian Tax and Audit announced to evaluate the use of the platform for enabling entrepreneurs in times of crisis pro bono and/or use it for their long-term impact-driven goals.
The problems addressed:
1) Physical distancing could lead to a lack of expertise in the financing/management processes of businesses.
2) Loans can't be the only solution to an economic crisis as liabilities weaken companies since they need to be repaid with future revenues.
3) Unhealthy companies cannot preserve jobs and lead to a default-series in the future.
4) Entrepreneurs partly lose perspective throughout the crisis to pay their employees and take responsibility.
Impact Goals and Ethical Standards
The short-term impact goal is to empower entrepreneurs with knowledge to find an individual way to recover from the crisis. The long-term impact of Micro Advisory will be evaluated with ambassadors in countries of Bangladesh, Kenia, and Mexico to enable people with expertise to become independent. In Europe, long-term impact will be a focus as well: Disadvantages of rural areas will belong to the past when all experts are available without physical barriers. The full force of expertise could help small- and medium-sized businesses find their very own way to the digital future. Working remotely could give advisors a better work-life-balance and could allow for less carbon emissions through less traveling. Today, management consultants travel all over the world for clients: will this belong to the past one day? halloSophia.com is setting a high ethical standard for “sophisticated advice” to guarantee that advisory will not be used for product selling but that the focus will be on the entrepreneurs’ needs.
(Commissionaire @ Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commission)
“History has taught us change happens when people come together to achieve extraordinary things! Yes, we have this moment! Today, I would like to say we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. I think that we all form a community of knowledge. Without borders, moved by solidarity and compassion, unity of people who have come together for a common response to a shared challenge. Today, we are sending out a strong message to the world, united with all those affected by the pandemic.
Solidarity, creativity, determination - the spirit with which our European project was built. The invisible force that binds us all together. Europe has emerged stronger, and my commitment to you is to help bring your ideas to life.”
(Austrian Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs)
“Difficult times need new solutions. The collective power we have in Europe is essential.”
(Co-coordinator of EUvsVirus)
The EUvsVirus Hackathon & Matchathon proved once more how great Europe can be when we work together towards a common goal. The success of our startups reflects our dedication towards our future. Thus, we must strengthen our startups and ecosystem. Love the spirit and hope the energy will resonate for decades to come. Better Together!”
“EUvsVirus is a big success of Pan-European Collaboration and shows the strength of a united continent. EU Institutions, National Institutions, and People united in the Mission to improve quality of life of 450 Million citizens and more in challenging times, with supporting the 120 Ideas to come to Reality.
International contacts are so important to reach more people - that was really a great success of the Matchathon. We basically found everything we needed: ambassadors for “#strongertogether with joint expertise for Entrepreneurs” all over the world, data protection advice, software testing, business advisory firms, business angel networks with introductions to impact investors, ...couldn’t expect more in such a short time.”
(CMO of halloSophia.com)
“Social Impact Innovation is the big USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of Europe as digitalizing our value of solidarity makes the difference compared to tech-companies from other continents. There is already a think-tank in Linz (Austria) considering establishing an Impact Innovation Hub and other EUvsVirus winners from all over Europe we met during the program that can feel invited to the city.”