Karl Birkhölzer

Dr. Karl Birkhölzer, born in 1941, lives and works in Berlin.

He did studies in economics, social sciences and education and has a university diploma in social economics (Dipl. Sozialwirt) and a PhD in economics, planning and engineering education (Dr.phil.).

After some years of practical experiences in social work and adult education (1965 – 1969) he was working and teaching engineering education and vocational training at several Berlin universities (1969 – 1984) before organising and directing a programme on socially useful and ecologically sound product development studies at the Technical University of Berlin (1985 – 2010).

Confronted with the growing risk of unemployment he started an unemployed self help initiative (PAULA e.V) in 1983 with the aim of setting up new local employment initiatives, a research and development agency, an education centre for economic self help and local development, and finally a social enterprise (Technologie-Netzwerk Berlin e.V.) from 1987 onwards.

As chair of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Local Economy at the Technical University of Berlin (1987 – 2010)

and president of the European Network for Economic Self Help and Local Development (1992 – 2006) he has directed

several transnational research and development projects in the field of local and community economic development, social economy and social enterprises, third system and employment, civil society and related issues.

He is also member of the EMES Research Network, the CIRIEC Scientific Commission on the Social and Cooperative Economy and other international networks or partnerships.

Officially retired from his university post in 2006 he continued to work voluntarily and started an academy for the local social economy in 2009 (www.Cest-transfer.de).

The following selected publications are available in English:

Community Economic Development and Social Enterprises (1997);

Key Values and Structures of Social Enterprises in Western Europe (1997);

A Philosophical Rationale for the Promotion of Local Economic Initiatives (1999);

Effectiveness and Efficiency of Local Partnerships Promoting Social Cohesion (2000);

Grassroots Local Partnerships in the Federal Republic of Germany (2001);

Work Integration trough Employment and Training Companies in Berlin and its Surrounding Region (2001);

The Contribution of Social Capital in the Social Economy to Local Economic Development (2003);

BEST. Berlin Development Agency for Social Enterprises and Neighbourhood Development (2004);

Development und Perspectives of the Social Economy or Third Sector in Germany (2006);

Challenges of Social and Solidarity-based Economy in Europe. An East/West Comparison (2009);

Local Social Economy Learning Package. A European Curriculum for Social Enterprise Practitioners and Supporters (2009);

The Role of Social Enterprise in Local Economic Development (2009).


Dr. Karl Birkhölzer

Technologie-Netzwerk Berlin e.V.

Wiesenstr. 29

D-13357 Berlin

2 pedagogical tools

7 Analyses/working papers/articles

3 public contributions