Responsible Entrepreneurship. Social Innovation through Entrepreneurial Action

Successful businesses make an indispensible contribution to society – and not only by creating jobs. The 2016 Reinhard Mohn Prize is therefore focusing on companies and entrepreneurs that actively embrace their social responsibility.

Foto Birgit Riess
Birgit Riess
Foto Julia Scheerer
Julia Scheerer
Project Manager
Foto Jakob Christof Kunzlmann
Jakob Christof Kunzlmann
Project Manager

Business changes society: Companies impact our lives and environment in numerous ways – through their products and services, for example, as well as the way those products and services are created and provided. In that regard, the business community bears responsibility not only for the economic impacts of its actions, but for the social and ecological consequences as well.

Moreover, business and society benefit from each other. Society needs successful companies if it is to function properly, since they create jobs, pay taxes, train young people and get involved for the common good. Conversely, companies need reliable infrastructure, effective educational systems and social and political stability if they are to be successful over the long term. At the same time, people’s needs can drive entrepreneurial innovation. 

We need to approach corporate social responsibility differently if companies are to contribute to society in the best possible manner. Individual entrepreneurs can serve as role models and ambassadors for this new attitude and show how it can be lived on a practical level, thereby inspiring others to emulate it. The 2016 Reinhard Mohn Prize will therefore be awarded to an individual from the world of business who has moved society forward by creating shared value, in keeping with the tradition of past exemplary business leaders. At the same time, the prize will draw attention to initiatives launched by responsible entrepreneurs that are playing a key role in addressing social challenges.

This will be supported by the publication of several studies providing answers to the following questions:

·         Which solutions have businesses developed to respond to pressing social challenges?

·         What do policymakers and civil society expect from the business community when it comes to overcoming social challenges?

·         How does the business community view its own role in responding to social challenges?

·         Which background conditions support entrepreneurial activities that promote social innovation?

In addition, two publications in German and English will document the best practices for responsible entrepreneurship that have been identified during the prize committee's global search. The publications will be made available in conjunction with the Reinhard Mohn Symposium, which will be held in May 2016 in Berlin.

The 2016 Reinhard Mohn Prize is being carried out under the auspices of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Business in Society program. Information and studies relating to the prize will be made available online on an ongoing basis at the Reinhard Mohn Prize website.