MAN Impact Accelerator – a success story continued


MAN and Yunus Social Business celebrate successful completion of the second round of the startup mentoring program // CEO Joachim Drees announces continuation of the Social Business Accelerator from fall 2019 // New locations: São Paulo (Brazil) and Lisbon (Portugal)

MAN and Yunus Social Business have completed the second round of the MAN Impact Accelerator program, adding another chapter to the success story that is this one-of-a-kind corporate social responsibility program. As announced by Joachim Drees, Chief Executive Officer of MAN Truck & Bus, a third round is set to begin in the fall of 2019.

Batch #2 of the MAN Impact Accelerator, which has now been completed, was supported by over 150 mentors from MAN and other well-known companies such as Amazon, Uber, or Google startups from Europe, India, and South Africa. They helped entrepreneurs to sharpen their vision for their company, to make their organizational structure sustainable, and to take the next steps in growing their business.

Unlike other incubator programs, this initiative is only open to companies working in the social or ecological sector. Unsurprisingly, the sustainability aspect was the focal point of the mentoring process: how can company founders maximize their contribution to society and the environment and their social commitment while maintaining business success?

The most promising transportation and logistics startups were selected from around 270 applications to join the second round of the mentoring program, which was implemented with the support of Yunus Social Business – an initiative founded by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus.

“The results really speak for themselves! During the Accelerator program, four of the startups were able to convince key investors of their company and their vision, generating additional funding of more than 2 million U.S. dollars. Moreover, our entrepreneurs now employ around 70% more people and, after completing the program, have more than doubled their customer base, growing it by 135%. This result exceeded our expectations – and we’re proud of it,” rejoices Joachim Drees, initiator of the MAN Impact Accelerator. The startups managed to boost their sales revenue by over 40%, with their business ideas reaching almost two and a half times as many people compared to before the start of the program.

And yet, the MAN Impact Accelerator is so much more than a corporate social responsibility initiative. An important part of the program is using mentors from in-house. Twelve MAN employees from every possible area of the company including Corporate Strategy, Production, Sales, HR, or Development, support the startups as they navigate the program. In doing so, they not only impart their expertise to the budding entrepreneurs, but also benefit considerably from the content of the program.

“We take our social responsibility very seriously and want to share our years of experience in the field of transportation and logistics with those it can benefit the most. This is why we are delighted to be able to support a new group of startups on their journey to more social impact with batch #3 of the program come fall,” announces Drees. The addition of São Paulo (Brazil) and Lisbon (Portugal), which will replace San Francisco (U.S.A.) and Bangalore (India), will in all likelihood mean another two key startup regions being represented in the program. Social business startups working in the fields of mobility, transportation, and logistics can apply to take part in the next round from August 2019.



Social business startups that took part in batch #2 of the MAN Impact Accelerator

  • Boxwise is a startup from Berlin that has created an app for quickly distributing donated goods such as food, clothing, or hygiene products to people who need them in refugee camps.
  • Breeze Technologies offers an environmental intelligence platform that uses internal and external sensors to provide air quality and climate data for inner-city areas or inside buildings.
  • Frontier Markets has set itself the goal of creating an “Easy Life” for customers in rural India by giving them access to clean and efficient energy solutions. The products (for instance solar panels for private households) are distributed using a network of more than 2,000 female entrepreneurs.
  • K-Ryole, a French startup based in Paris, develops and distributes intelligent electric bicycle trailers that enable cyclists to transport cargo of up to 250 kilograms without breaking a sweat. In doing so, the company makes zero-emission last-mile transportation of goods in the cities a reality. Its biggest customers include postal services, logistics companies, and food delivery services.
  • Loop, an Indian startup, makes it possible for smallholder farmers in remote rural regions to sell their produce at urban markets. The company offers a combined transportation service for collecting the farmers’ harvest, bringing it to market, and selling it there on their behalf. The farmers then get paid via their cell phones – nice and simple.
  • Shopit, a startup based in Cape Town, improves the sale of affordable food items and health products to customers in the townships of major South African cities whose population cannot afford the food being sold in local supermarkets most of the time. Shop owners in townships can use the mobile app to compare wholesaler prices near them, order their stock, and sell the products on to end customers at a significantly lower price.
  • Mobile Schools Health offers preventive health care services (optometry, dental, and primary health care) to primary school children in South Africa. The company builds mobile clinics (on buses) and employs doctors and nurses to support children across the whole country, especially those living in poor and rural regions.
  • Via Global Health has developed a platform for buying health products that works together with a network of medical distributors and makes a supply chain possible in parts of Africa that would have otherwise been difficult to access, namely rural or crisis-ridden regions.



About Yunus Social Business

Yunus Social Business was founded by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and has already implemented just shy of 20 Accelerator programs. These programs gave rise to the expertise and core community of over 300 renowned mentors from around the world, which can now benefit the startups involved in the MAN Impact Accelerator. At the same time, the program offers access to a global network of so-called “impact investors,” i.e., investment funds for companies generating social impact.