Recently, we caught up with Matthias Treutwein, co-founder of enpact. enpact targets sustainable entrepreneurial development via international mentoring programs.
How did enpact start
We started in 2013 when Sebastian and I met during the implementation of a different mentoring project. There we realized, what powerful tool entrepreneurship and mentoring can be and decided to start our own social enterprise.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I have to be there at 9 am… No, jokes aside. I am trying to build a network of inspiring and engaged people, empower them to create sustainable and fair jobs, and improve the way development aid is implemented by focussing more on changemakers – and not the agencies.
Why is entrepreneurship important in developing regions?
People lost faith in governmental and/or religious institutions that – in many countries – abuse the mandates they have been given. The huge amount of jobs that have to be created due to the intense population growth – especially in the global South – requires innovative solutions that can only come from the private and not the public sector.
What is enpact’s mission?
enpact wants to empower people to create urgently needed jobs.
How many cycles have you completed?
We have concluded three cycles of our international mentoring program, currently with 60 and 25 mentors and experts from more than 10 countries. Additionally, we piloted two national mentorings in 2014 in Egypt and Tunisia and are now relaunching the one in Tunisia, and hopefully this autumn again, the one in Egypt.
What has been the most rewarding aspect?
Meeting and working with so many talented people from a region that normally only gets a bad press. Additionally, for many – myself included, this is a life-changing experience, where barriers are brought down, horizons are broadened, and intercultural exchange becomes a playful side effect.
What is your biggest challenge?
Developing a sustainable business model & managing an intercultural and international team across different continents.
What kind of feedback have you gotten?
Lots of positive, but also some negative. The most important one is that we help people positively impact their societies and develop perspectives by living their dreams.
What are you currently working on?
We are trying to become financially more independent and have been restructuring our NGO accordingly. We are about to launch two new projects and starting negotiations to develop more startup spaces in the MENA region.
How can people get involved?
We are always looking for inspiration, so if our activities intrigue you, please reach out to us to discuss over a coffee or a beer. We are also currently looking for participants in our national mentoring in Tunisia, and in autumn, we will open the call for applications for our international mentoring program. Finally, we are always looking for dedicated mentors, experts, and fundraising leads!
Matthias has worked several years as a project manager and consultant in international development (Transparency International, The Owners Forum, InWent) and cultural management (Goethe Institute, Bosch-Foundation). He holds a Master’s degree in Arabic, French, and Spanish Literature. He has a high level of cultural awareness that he developed during several studies and work sojourns in the MENA region. Matthias is very interested in fostering networks while strongly believing in horizontal and life-long learning.
enpact was founded to strengthen young entrepreneurs’ economic relations from the start-up scenes of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Since then, this goal has been successfully implemented with the “engage participate act” project – an innovative mentorship program for promising young entrepreneurs – funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. We also promote entrepreneurship and support local entrepreneurial ecosystems by creating entrepreneur spaces for start-up-related activities.