Enabling Organisations to Reshape Their Business Models

Janna Prager has joined the CSCP as a Project Manager in the Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) team. Her work evolves around inspiring and enabling companies to rethink their business models on their way to becoming sustainable businesses. She believes that through many small but persisting steps social and sustainable entrepreneurship can become the new normal.

Can you tell us more about some of your career highlights so far?

I started working in the music business as a public relations manager, which allowed me to work with creative and inspiring people in such a dynamic industry. After a career switch, I became a social entrepreneur and together with two other co-founders we built an innovative space and supportive network for social entrepreneurship (Impact Hub Ruhr) that gave me a completely new space to grow personally and professionally. Some highlights from this period include regularly ideating and hosting events with large numbers of participants or building a network for female entrepreneurs in the Ruhr area from scratch. The pandemic was another learning chapter that had us reorganize parts of our business model. This imposed change showed us how essential it is for companies to invest in strengthening their resilience and building capacities to anticipate challenges and turn them into opportunities.

Strengthening resilience has become a keyword of our time. What makes a company future-proof in your view?

A company should have the courage to break new ground and try out new possibilities. In short, it must be open to innovation and change. The old “we’ve always done it this way” won’t take companies far anymore. Instead, they need to critically review whether their current business model will still work in the future. To this end, integrating sustainability in the business strategy and operations is key to allowing companies to thrive in the long-run.

It is not always clear for companies that becoming more sustainable can support them in achieving other goals. How do you support them in creating a better understanding of these strategic links?

I try to use positive examples to show companies that the transition toward a sustainable economy is not just desirable, but also possible and that it can result in win-win situations. There are already many best practices out there of companies that have built their businesses based on principles of social, environmental, and economic sustainability and are paving new paths. Such cases are a source of inspiration for other entrepreneurs to follow. In our exchanges with them, we highlight the advantages of sustainable business such as less dependency on external circumstances, better regulatory compliance, or higher trust with business partners and customers. Through training formats, networking opportunities, and knowledge exchange we support them to act now in order to be better off tomorrow.

Finally, what are some of your favorite sustainability hacks that may inspire others?

In my family, we try to buy less or second hand and repair stuff whenever possible. It saves money (and the planet). I have a soft spot for small, sustainable brands and try to always support them through my purchases. Maybe someone feels inspired to make this their guiding principle for the holiday shopping?

For further questions, please contact Janna Prager.