German CEO Excellence Awards 2022

30 EU BUSINESS NEWS / German CEO Excellence Awards 2022 Jan22690 The plight of refugees is one that is unfortunately perennially topical, with various crises around the world forcing unplanned and unexpectedmovement of people. The teamat the Hoffnungsträger Foundation have gone a long way to supporting these people at difficult times, led by their CEOMarcusWitzke. In EU Business News’ German CEO Excellence Awards 2022, Mr. Witzke was able to lead his team to unprecedented triumphs. We dig a little deeper to discover more. When the Hoffnungsträger Foundation was started in 2013, it was to face new challenges that were impacting Germany. Refugee numbers had begun to climb, with governments and local authorities struggling to integrate such a large influx of people from around the globe into German society. With more refugees coming through, the need for a solution was clear. That’s where the team from the Hoffnungsträger Foundation came in. Their first step was to develop and start a program for integrating refugees in special housing concepts. They were called “Hoffnungshaus” or “Houses of Hope”. The intention was to integrate people into a community, and thereby into broader German society. A lack of existing housing presented a problem, but innovation has always been the order of the day for the Hoffnungsträger Foundation team. Working with a local university and expert architects, a modular design of wood-based construction costing less and lasting longer than other houses was developed, winning several awards. This growth has happened under the auspices of Marcus Witzke. Mr. Witzke has seen extraordinary transformation both for this vital company and his own career. Having started in the automotive sector and the IT business, he worked as CEO at two start-ups before consulting on others. His move into the charities sector came as, for seven years, he was Managing Director of the largest youth organization in southwest Germany with over 42,000 volunteers. Youth work was done in nearly every village, with four conference centres, a book publishing company, and a team in the headquarter of about 180 people. There is very little which Mr. Witzke doesn’t know about managing a challenging project, with all of his skills brought to bear. The growth of the Hoffnungsträger Foundation builds on these experiences. Mr. Witzke has developed a comprehensive plan that allows him and his team to select new customers and projects. Based on local research and specific data, the team build up a strong business case for refugees that engages with the community. Instead of allowing questions to fester, they champion clear and opening communication for everybody to drive positive changes in the community at large. The challenges facing the growth of the “Houses of Hope” project have been the increase in wood prices and material costs across the construction sector. Delivery times have increased significantly too, as a result of the pandemic. All of these difficulties have called for more flexibility at every stage. Moving forward, the Hoffnungsträger Foundation team are about to sign a contract for large investors to bring several thousand people into affordable houses. They have also set up a consultation arm to help others to do their best in philanthropic engagement and contribute to a greater social good. For Mr. Witzke, however, the future takes a more holistic approach. Having achieved so much already, he aims to do as much as possible to bring change and hope to hopeless people and asking others to join him on the way. It’s a noble ambition, and therefore little surprise that he has been able to achieve so much. Company: Hoffnungsträger Foundation Name: Marcus Witzke Email: [email protected] Web Address: Best Refugee Integration & Support Business Leader (Europe): Marcus Witzke