Björn Czinczoll

Organization: 
Kinderzentren Kunterbunt
Year founded: 
1998
Country: 
Germany

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Kinderzentren Kunterbunt provides childcare centres tailored to the needs of working parents so that they can better combine family and career.

Focus: Children and Youth
Geographic Area of Impact: Germany
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 10,000 (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 10 million (2010)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 7.6% (2010)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Germany, 2006

Background
The number of children born in Germany has consistently dropped over recent years. Particularly alarming is the fact that 40% of women with an academic degree remain childless, as they often do not see a way to combine children and a career. Until the end of 2004 there was no legal obligation for the German government to provide kindergarten places for children younger than three years of age. A new law adopted in 2005 guaranteed the building of a nationwide network of childcare facilities. However a current survey shows only 14% of the demand for day care places is met. To date, the market is dominated by state-run and religious organizations, which usually offer limited opening hours. Surveys reveal that more than 60% of parents using day care programmes wish to have more flexible hours.

Innovation and Activities
Kinderzentren Kunterbunt provides a new approach to meet the demand of parents for childcare facilities in Germany. In contrast to most of the state-run kindergartens, it is designed to meet the needs of working parents. Specifically, Kunterbunt provides a new service because the childcare centres have extraordinarily long operating hours (from 06h00 to 20h00), including weekends and school vacations, enabling mothers and fathers to combine family and career better.

In contrast to traditional childcare facilities, which are normally situated in residential zones, the day care centres are located close to big companies, hospitals and industrial zones, significantly shortening travel time between home, kindergarten and the workplace. This gives parents the invaluable flexibility to fulfil today’s job requirements, such as unpredictable overtime, with the confidence that their children are receiving proper care. Kinderzentren Kunterbunt considers itself a service provider and partner for families, offering additional services like excursions and seminars about nutrition and health.

Currently, Kinderzentren Kunterbunt runs 26 childcare centres in southern Germany, providing services to over 2,000 children, and seeks to expand at the rate of one new centre each month. Given that it typically takes two years to open a childcare facility, this represents rapid expansion. Kinderzentren Kunterbunt is primarily a publicly funded institution, receiving government support provided to all state-approved facilities. Fees are within the same range as state-run or religious kindergartens, dependent upon the total amount of hours booked and the age of the child.

The Entrepreneur
Björn Czinczoll first encountered the problem of childcare in Germany while doing community service. It was during this time that he developed the idea for Kinderzentren Kunterbunt. He believes entrepreneurship blends well with social endeavours, and that there is room for business models even in traditionally public sector project areas. His studies in law at the University of Regensburg prepared him well for his career.