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startsocial e.V. Scholarship

This was the best moment to apply for a counselling support: Summer 2023. I accidentally found the social media posts of startsocial e.V. to apply for a counselling scholarship. I didn’t have much time to apply when I heard about it. I was also very busy at home because I was preparing to move to Hesse. However, I managed to fill in the application during my breaks. I informed our founders and volunteers with just one sentence. I applied for a scholarship for Januam. I could not have imagined what awaited Januam after this application was approved.


We were lucky enough to be selected as one of a hundred social initiatives in Germany to take part in this scholarship programme. By the way, you can apply every year. Don’t miss this year’s deadline. You can find detailed information here:  

I recommend it to any social organisation that is ready to change and re-evaluate its processes. 

A short but impactful trip

I was so excited to be part of this community and this journey with our small but powerful team of volunteers: Handan Yigit, Muhammed Gökbel, Süleyman Akbulut, Osman Özgüden and Mehmet Ünsal

I first met one of our trainers, Birgitt Frankenberg, in a small café in Frankfurt on the day of the kick-off. I tried my best to explain what Januam is, why Januam was founded and what Januam wants to achieve for this society. I hope I succeeded. She was nice, listened and tried to understand every sentence I said. She was a real coach from the first second of our meeting. 

At the kick-off, I was there with Handan and Muhammed. We had the chance to meet there – in a room in the Deutsche Bank – with our other coach there: Oliver Krueger. He was a real businessman with sympathy and ease. I had the feeling that I wanted to work with this cool international guy who knew what questions to ask. 

We also met the great team from startsocial e.V. They were more excited than we were, which shows the quality of this programme. 

First month

The first month was about deciding what we wanted to achieve at the end of this scholarship and, of course, how. As usual, we prepared an ambitious plan. The coaches, the team and (I) were sceptical that we would be able to successfully complete this project plan. However, with some very nice touches from our coaches, we completed the first phase of our project plan. The decision was made: We rebuild Januam: a new concept, a new mentoring programme, a new website, a first impact and financial plan.  

Second and third month

It was time to act. A new city, new coaches, unknowns and a great team of volunteers. We met regularly with the team almost every week. I would rather not reveal the secret of our success: It is the secret ingredient of Januam. You can learn it from us when you visit Darmstadt, call us or send us an email. You can start by visiting our new website to find out more about us: We are still working on it. Any feedback would also be welcome and appreciated.  

We have worked really hard. We have completed almost every part of our project plan: The first steps towards a sustainable business model, understanding the needs of potential clients and stakeholders, developing our new concept and new mentoring programme, understanding the basics of fundraising, building our new website and our story, preparing a highly detailed impact plan with concrete KPIs and a very very optimised (by our coach and finance guru Oliver Krueger) finance plan. We had sometimes challenging, sometimes joyful and sometimes boring meetings, which seemed to be the fate of most meetings. I also had a one-to-one meeting with Oliver, which was a great opportunity to get to know each other better and to talk eye to eye.    

Onsite event in Berlin. You can find the details in my LinkedIn post: HERE

I would like to thank all the participants. I should also note here: Johannes Büchs, I am ready to meet for our storytelling. I look forward to learning a lot from you. I should also apologise here that we were not available for a great external volunteer coaching for teamwork. We will be in touch with you in the coming months.  

Rush Time: We should complete the “Final Report

We managed to complete our final report with the help of our coaches. I have to admit that they worked harder than us on this last step. Thanks again

Some words to never forget

Niederschwellig, simple, minimal cost, needs, why

What remains

Great friendships, organisational development, a strong team and good memories with the coaches and the team of startsocial e.V. 

Lessons Learned

*Do not rush if you want to build sth. in a sustainable way

*Be open

*Have great conversations with experts with clear questions

*Enjoy the time you are in: concentrate on the process

*Add some leisure time to your work, with your team and coaches: Anyway, we will have a small victory party on 16 April. Anyone interested is welcome if you are near Frankfurt. 

What awaits Januam

* Mentoring programmes for the young people and their families

* Nurturing existing partnerships while forging new alliances.

* Engaging stakeholders through online platforms and community events.

* Exploring new collaborations to maximize impact and reach.

* Community building among mentors, volunteers, migrants, social & private companies and all interested people

Get Involved

Join us on our journey! Whether as an individual, a social or private organization, or a changemaker, your involvement is welcomed. Visit to learn more about Januam and discover ways to contribute. Together, let’s create meaningful change.


As we bid farewell to this chapter, we extend heartfelt gratitude to our coaches, volunteer team, and the team at startsocial e.V. Great friendships have been forged, organizational growth realized, and memories cherished. Here’s to the next chapter of Januam’s journey – may it be as enriching and transformative as the one before.

See you soon…

Serkan Tezgel

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