Portrait / Verena Pausder

Werte / N° 23

There is

no such

thing as

impossible

VERENA PAUSDER is one of Germany’s

most renowned serial entrepreneurs. What distinguishes her is the energy that she invests when it comes to recognising problems and finding solutions

M

ost people spend far too much time on thoughts such as: What should I do? What could I do? What do I have to do? Perhaps they have great ideas, but they are afraid to

realise them. Verena Pausder has adopted an entirely different ap- proach. If she is impressed by an idea, she transforms it into a real- ity. “In Germany, we don’t talk enough about opportunities,” she says. “If I find something impressive, I don’t ask the question: What happens if it doesn’t work out? I tell myself: Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it worked out?”

This positivity came in useful in the spring of 2020 as the coron- avirus pandemic took hold and Germany went into its first lock- down. Thousands of children and teenagers were suddenly unable to attend classes at school. Many of them spent weeks detached from the educational system. Pausder recognised what had to be done – and acted accordingly. She initiated homeschooling-coron- a.com, a Web-based education platform similar to the German hackathon initiative #wirfürschule. In just five weeks, Pausder and her partners managed to digitally connect more than 6,000 people to develop 216 solutions for the schools of the future. And what is more, Pausder managed to gain support from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Government Com- missioner for Digitalisation and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs.

There is a reason that Verena Pausder is regarded as one of Ger- many’s most successful serial entrepreneurs. Back in 2012, when the tablet computer established itself worldwide, Pausder launched the technology company Fox & Sheep with co-founder Moritz Hohl to develop game apps for children. In doing so, she recognised a market niche before others did. Yet Pausder also attributes the successful foundation of this business to a previous project that did not work out – the opening of a salad bar. “If you collect expe- riences and properly use the knowledge obtained from mistakes, you stand to gain from them.” She hopes that many more young people will start to believe in their own ideas and skills and muster the courage to start their own businesses. “Entrepreneurship is ex- tremely important for an economy. But it’s also an investment in yourself!”

Verena Pausder could be said to have entrepreneurship in her genes: her father is Rudolf Delius, managing director of the epony- mous textile brand. Founded in 1722 and still based in Bielefeld, Delius has been in the family for nine generations. Nevertheless, she is convinced that entrepreneurship is a skill that can be

learned – provided this is supported by the educational system. “Currently, we are failing to give many people the opportunity to channel education as a means of developing self- efficacy. In my opinion, concepts such as resilience, frustration tolerance and problem-solving skills are all things that must already be integrat- ed while at school.” Pausder regards equal opportunity – particu- larly in terms of digital education – as the universal key to secur- ing a society’s sustainable future.

“But it’s also important to create environments that are inviting to girls who are technical enthusiasts and give them a sense of: there are many of us! That’s why when we name courses and create places of learning, we must ask questions such as: is this also in- teresting for girls?” The entrepreneur hopes that there will be more female nerds in the future, just like she once was. Pausder wants to see change in Germany and promote even more willing- ness to adopt creative approaches within society. She is aware that: “This requires courage.” But she is also aware: “The more confident you are, the more courage grows. And at some point you just think: I used to think that was courageous? Now it’s something totally normal for me.”

TEXT: Almut Wenge

ILLUSTRATION: Carla Fuentes

VERENA PAUSDER

The entrepreneur specialises in projects in the field of digital education. In 2016, she was named Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum, in 2018, she was included in the Forbes List of Europe’s Top 50 Women in Tech. In her book “Das Neue Land” (“The New Country”), she outlines her vision of Germany’s future. Verena Pausder is married and the mother of four children.

verenapausder.de

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