Asetila cocreated KulturenReich in Vienna in January 2013. A social initiative to integrate foreign-born or migrant women into society. The main goal is to inspire these women to be financially independent and professionnally successful.
The bumblebee that couldn’t fly
After some difficulties she found herself when she moved to Vienna, Asetila Köstinger cofounded KulturenReich in 2013. In early 2018 Kulturenreich was realigned with a new cofounder team. Today Kulturenreich is a social initiative to support foreign born women in Vienna to empower themselves, to reach professional success and to become financially independent. Through KulturenReich, Asetila wants to build a large community and strong relationships with those women in order to create a powerful network.
Her nickname, “Tila the Bumblebee”, comes from an anecdote. Apparently, bumblebees are very heavy and have small wings area and they are scientifically and aerodynamically not supposed to fly. But the bumblebee does not know this scientific fact or ignores it and flies anyway. It’s a metaphor for her story and finally for everybody in her team. Like the bumblebee, you can always do it!
From « integration » to « inclusion »
For Asetila, it is very important to be positive. She founded KulturenReich in the Centre of Europe in Vienna. Vienna, by virtue of empire, has always been a bridge between East and the West and between North and South.
According to her, “Vienna is the best city in world to live because of the small things. We drink our tap water, we have very competent social services, world class health services for everyone, punctual public transport, a very clean environment, safe cities, a huge offer on cultural activities, free education for your children and free world class university education for yourself , a very supporting entrepreneurship ecosystem and overall a very positive and everyday improving attitude toward women professionals. In most of the countries where we come from most of these things are not common sense or are only available for the rich. Also most of the countries where we come from, as a woman in business you don’t get the same recognition as here”. Therefore, here in Austria it is possible for women to focus on their carier or business ideas, because most of the rest is taken care of.
“On the other hand here in Vienna, we have a lot of diversity, actually everybody is talking about diversity. Diversity in business, diversity in schools, diversity in corporates and so on. But the word “diversity” is a very complex and crucial concept. Inclusion is the magic word. “Diversity is when somebody local invites you to a Viennese ball, but inclusion is when he asks me to dance.”
Dare, Care and Share
KulturenReich organizes biweekly “breakfasts” and focus groups meetups to build a strong women community. During these breakfasts, women can meet other women, learn for each other, share experiences, advices and skills. Moreover, KulturenReich under the name WeDO organizes many times a year entrepreneurship workshops and small business accelerators. Kulturenreich is also organizor and host of the bespoke event, first and only of its kind in Austria “Find your female co-founder in Vienna”.
The Kulturenreich’s dream is to have an international network in order to share their skills and knowledge. Like Asetila says: “This isn’t Vienna’s problem, we know from researches, from the medias and from our exchanges, that this problem exists in Paris, in Amsterdam, in Stockholm, in Berlin and so on”. The #focusimpactshine pilot project is already helping women in different countries to design viable business ideas.
The story of Zebras & Unicorns
At the end of our meeting, Asetila told us a story about zebra and unicorn companies:
“Everybody talks about and likes Unicorns, but I choose Zebras… but why?
Unicorn wants to disrupt and become rich and filthy rich immediately and so on. But Unicorns don’t exist… Zebras are real. Zebras are black and white. Both for “impact” and for “profit” and they don’t sacrifice one for the other.
And that’s what KulturenReich is […] So we support Zebras. If you are a Zebra, join KulturenReich. And if you would like to build a Zebra, we’ll be there to help you.”
If you are interested by Asetila’s advices, look at the official website : http://kulturenreich.at